By Matthew Muir | Staff Writer
McLennan County’s number of COVID-19 cases climbed to 13 Friday as the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reported six new cases.
The City of Waco released updated counts on the number of COVID-19 cases in the local area. Including the 13 confirmed cases, 65 people have been tested with 20 coming back negative. The results of 34 tests are still pending. These numbers do not include tests done by private labs.
Larry Holze, director of municipal information with the City of Waco, provided the updated numbers. Now that the virus is spreading in Waco, Holze said practicing social distancing will be critical to slow its transmission.
“Social distancing is essential. The less time you spend with large groups of people the less likely you are to become infected,” Holze said. “This is how we flatten the curve and help slow community spread.”
“Flatten the curve” refers to taking preventative measures such as social distancing to reduce how quickly the disease spreads. As there are a finite number of health professionals and resources, slowing the spread of COVID-19 helps keep the healthcare system from becoming overloaded with a sudden spike in cases.
Holze also said local healthcare providers Ascension, Baylor Scott & White and the Family Health Center will provide online screening for COVID-19 and “will accept new patients and people without insurance.” Tests for the virus must still be ordered by a physician.
Three of the confirmed cases have ties to Baylor University. Two professors and one student have tested positive thus far, but have not returned to campus since contracting COVID-19. As of yet it is unclear if any of the six new cases include members of the Baylor community. Baylor has yet to issue any statements regarding Friday’s newly-announced cases, but has been providing regular updates on its response to the pandemic.