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McLennan County reports another COVID-19 death; more free testing available

McLennan County reports another COVID-19 death; more free testing available


Another McLennan County resident has died from COVID-19 complications, a day after local health officials warned that the Waco area is seeing signs of accelerated community spread.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported Thursday that an 87-year-old man has died from the disease and that another 56 people have tested positive. It is the 21st death announced so far this month.

The newly reported death brings the county death toll to 132 people, or about 1.43% of the 9,243 confirmed cases. An estimated 526 people are currently sick with the disease, and an estimated 8,585 have recovered.

Waco hospitals were treating 66 COVID-19 patients Thursday, including 16 people on ventilators.

Ages graph

The Harvard Global Health Institute’s “Key Metrics for COVID Suppression” puts McLennan County into the “orange zone,” meaning there is accelerated community spread of the coronavirus with a seven-day average of 24.8 new cases daily per 100,000 residents. But McLennan County is just under the threshold for the “red zone” — 25 new cases a day — when the institute’s framework indicates stay-at-home orders would be necessary to mitigate the spread. Harvard’s COVID-19 Risk Levels map lags some behind local data.

Meanwhile, about 2,932 people have gotten tested for free through a testing push that started Oct. 7 at various sites in McLennan County, with 68, or 2.32% of those people testing positive.

Free COVID-19 testing is still available daily at various locations in McLennan County through partnerships with the federal Health and Human Services Department and various local entities.

The Waco-McLennan Office of Emergency Management announced a new testing site that will be open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The new site at Heritage Square in downtown Waco will offer 10,000 saliva-based tests, which are in addition to the 30,000 nasal swab tests available at other free testing sites.

To get accurate results, people going to get tested must not eat, drink, brush their teeth or consume anything for at least half an hour before getting tested.

Drive-thru testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Community Services Center at McLennan Community College, 4601 N. 19th St. Walk-up testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Cen-Tex Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, 915 La Salle Ave.

For registration details and future testing dates throughout the month, visit Waco Transit will provide free rides to anyone going to or from a testing site.

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