Two more McLennan County residents have died from COVID-19 complications, bringing the local death toll to 44, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District announced Thursday, as a fourth day of free testing at local sites carried on.
An 83-year-old white man and a 69-year-old Black woman died from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the health district reported. Both died in a Waco hospital.
The health district has reported 35 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in July, following a surge in the number of people testing positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The deaths reported Thursday demonstrate the disease’s disproportionate impact on people of color. Out of the 44 people who have died from COVID-19 complications, 12 were Latino and 12 were Black, representing more than half of all coronavirus-related deaths in the county.
People of color are dying from the disease at younger ages than their white counterparts, as well. The youngest person to die so far was a 41-year-old Black woman, according to the health district. Six McLennan County residents in their 40s have died from COVID-19 complications, and three people were Black and the other three were Latino.
McLennan County’s population is roughly 260,000 people. About 55.4% are white, 14.8% are Black and 27% are Latino, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The health district reported three deaths Wednesday, including an 87-year-old woman who died in a long-term care facility. The health district also reported three deaths attributed to COVID-19 on Tuesday.
At least 18 people who have died after contracting COVID-19 in McLennan County lived in long-term care facilities, according to the health district.
On Thursday, the health district reported 71 more people tested positive for COVID-19, leaving the county total at 4,263. An estimated 1,882 people have active infections. Local hospitals were treating 64 COVID-19 patients, 52 of whom are McLennan County residents. Of the 64, 17 people were on ventilators, according to the health district.
Meanwhile, free COVID-19 testing for people with and without symptoms continues in McLennan County at multiple sites through the Waco-McLennan County Office of Emergency Management and the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Thursday’s testing was conducted at Toliver Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Waco, where 424 people received cheek swab testing, Assistant Emergency Management Coordinator Ryan Dirker said.
People should receive their test results in 72 to 96 hours, depending on the volume of tests the lab is conducting, Dirker said. Free drive-thru testing will next be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday at McGregor High School, 903 Bluebonnet Parkway. Registration is required at least 24 hours in advance at Texas.curativeinc.com/welcome.
Each testing site has enough cheek swabs for 600 people, but the sites are averaging about 400 people per day, Waco City Manager Bradley Ford said Wednesday during a COVID-19 press conference. He encouraged people who think they may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed to someone with the disease to get tested, even if they do not have symptoms.
This round of free testing will wrap up from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 13-15 at the McLennan Community College Highlander Gym, 1710 Powell Drive. It will operate as a walk-up site, so no registration is required.