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Bell County Health District raises COVID threat level as testing lines get longer

Posted at 9:26 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 22:26:20-05

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through Central Texas causing longer and longer lines at testing sites.

There are currently over 1,800 active COVID cases in Bell County and that number is climbing fast with the incident rate going from 179 on Dec. 28 to 511 on Jan. 3.

This has the Bell County Health district raise its threat level from level 3 to level 2.

”More and more people are getting sick. We know that the Omicron variant is highly transmissible and we may be seeing some more Delta variant out there as well,” said Amy Mersiovsky, director of the Department of Nursing at Texas A&M Central Texas.

It is a trend that Central Bell County Fire and Rescue is seeing when they host a testing site twice a week.

"In the past 4 to 5 months, we’ve had anywhere from 10 to 20 a day compared to that last couple of days we’ve been doing the test, we’ve had 200 to 300 people,” said Chief Douglas Mckinney of Central Bell County Fire and Rescue.

That is just for their site which they intentionally hold on Monday and Friday only.

”We’re trying to keep it to where there is enough time in between. To where if you got exposed on Tuesday, it would give you time to start seeing some of the symptoms on Friday.” said Chief Mckinney.

In fact, more and more testing sites like the one at Central Bell are seeing more line up to get tested.

”The number of cases is ballooning. The numbers of patients in the hospitals are again going up and the positivity rates in the tests have just gone through the roof again.” said Mersiovsky.

Central Bell says they are seeing around 30 percent of the tests come back positive and as the lines get longer and longer, so too does the wait time.

"It could be anywhere from a 30-minute wait to a two-hour wait before you get tested. So, make sure that you use the restroom. Make sure you have food, water, and things of that nature while you wait in line,” said Chief Mckinney.

Central Bell County Fire and Rescue is running its testing site on Monday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.