COVID-19 restrictions have been amped up in places like New Mexico, with the governor closing non-essential businesses for two weeks. North Dakota now has statewide mask mandate.
Our fellow Texans in El Paso and Amarillo have been hit hard as area hospitals are feeling the strain. However, what exactly does all this mean for us here in Central Texas?
“Our area is definitely being hit a little bit harder than it was. We are seeing an increase in the numbers of cases throughout our community. We are definitely seeing an incline. We are feeling a little bit of stress on our senses and we are feeling that this is reflective of the community and what other areas are experiencing as well,” said Karen Percell, Executive Director for Quality at Advent Health Central TX.
An increase that’s pointing to community spread.
“Hospitals are feeling a little bit of stress. We are not at capacity, but we are seeing that increase in community spread and therefore we need to just really be cautious as a community and protect each other,” said Percell.
After following every COVID-19 protocol and procedure implemented by the state, Christells’s Flower Shop in downtown Killeen is just starting to get back to a sense of normalcy.
“Recently it has become more steadier with things picking back up, but with potentially another shutdown happening, we don't know how that can affect," said Ashley Austin, manager at Christells’s Flowers.
The shop is considered an essential business since they provide services to funeral homes, but with the ever-changing inventory, things are tough.
“Flowers have been very limited on the market, so it's been pretty hard as far as a month-to-month basis or week-to-week basis as to what is available and what is not available,” said Austin.
The pressure of a looming lockdown weighs down on businesses and everyday people.
“If anything, they can go back to minimizing the capacity but don't shut it down completely. If they are going to put us back on lockdown, at least give us some type of solution,” said local veteran Bria Wilson.
One solution is a vaccine, but it's not quite ready yet, so it’s back to the basics. Another way to slow the spread is to continue following healthy habits like washing your hands, limiting gatherings and wearing a mask.
“We just have to go back to how COVID infects us. It’s a virus that travels into our body, and that’s why the masking is important,” added Percell.
Bell County health officials say they believe the cases we are seeing now come from gatherings that can be traced back to Halloween celebrations.
To ensure we don’t have to return to any type of lockdown or restrictions, they advise staying from all non-essential and social outings to stop the uncontrolled community spread we’re seeing now.
25 News did reach out to Gov. Abbott’s office earlier this morning for details on his plans moving forward, but as of publication we haven't heard back.