KILLEEN, TX — COVID-19 is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, it’s just beginning to pick back up as major counties in Central Texas report big spikes in case numbers.
Experts say staying as safe as possible during the holiday season is as easy as putting on a mask and remaining a safe distance from those outside of your household.
After seeing 124 new COVID-19 cases in Bell County Monday, health officials were urged to remind the public how severe this pandemic is.
“The major concern we have right now and one of the reasons we moved the threat level is we’re right at the start of the holiday season,” said Amanda Robison-Chadwell, the director of the Bell County Health District. “If we saw that spike from Halloween, what might Thanksgiving look like if people aren’t careful?”
The county adjusted its threat level from Level 3 moderate controlled to Level 2 significant uncontrolled community transmission.
Up the road in McLennan County, it’s a similar story where active cases have spiked, averaging over 100 the past few days.
“Now the cases are rising here in McLennan County. It’s very serious at this point,” said Kelly Craine, the communications lead at the Waco McLennan County Public Health District. “Not only in cases rising, but we’ve also seen an increase in hospitalizations.”
That increase? About 20 more hospitalizations than usual.
So what are hospitals doing to combat the anticipated rise in cases?
“We’re following all of the guidelines and best practices recommended by the CDC as well as our local health districts to make sure that we’re keeping our patients, our visitors, our staff as healthy as possible,” explained Erin Riley, the public relations and marketing manager at AdventHealth Central Texas.
However, with Thanksgiving looming in the upcoming weeks, all seem to be worried about the potential spread.
“Coming into Thanksgiving, there’s a really high right of transmission right now,” Robison-Chadwell said.
So what advice can you take to make sure you have a safe holiday?
“The things your mother taught you when you are little are really the best public health measures and they still apply,” Craine said. “Cover your cough, wash your hands, stay at home if you're sick, all of these things go toward making our entire community healthy.”
Experts say limit your exposure for the upcoming holidays and be conscious of the risk you may put others around you in.