The Bell County Public Health District reports that cases continue to increase, and active case numbers are now back to highs not seen since July.

In an email we received Thursday afternoon, BCPHD Director Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell wrote, "We are now at 7,805 total cases. Our new active case count is back up to levels not seen since July with over 1,000 active cases. Our current incidence rate is 282.7 per 100,000 people."

Sadly, Dr. Robinson-Chadwell also reported three more deaths: a man in his 70s from Harker Heights, a man in his 90’s from Bell County and a woman in her 70’s from Killeen.

On Tuesday, the deaths of a woman in her 80's from Belton and a man in his 90's from Temple were recorded.

These recent deaths bring Bell County's total to 112 as of Thursday.

"It’s always difficult to lose family and our hearts go out to those in mourning," she wrote.

Dr. Robinson-Chadwell is urging Central Texans to take be mindful and take the necessary COVID-19 safety precautions so that we can drive these numbers down. Those include wearing a mask when interacting with people outside of your immediate household (especially indoors while shopping or working), frequent washing and/or sanitizing of hands, and practicing physical distancing.

Health officials are also recommending smaller Thanksgiving gatherings, as well as abstaining from traveling if at all possible.

We've lost so much progress in the weeks following Halloween, when many people dismissed the danger and had large gatherings and celebrations. My worry is that this will continue to be the case over the holiday season.

Try to keep in mind that these are people's loved ones who are dying or experiencing severe complications from this virus. Now isn't the time to be reckless and impatient. It's a time to do better by each other as neighbors.

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