Bell County health authorities have apologized after mistakenly releasing the surnames of the 51 known victims of the novel coronavirus in the county.

"Today a Bell County Public Health District employee inadvertently posted to our website the last names of the 51 people in Bell County with confirmed cases of COVID-19," Dr. Amanda Robison-Chadwell, Director of the Bell County Public Health District, wrote in a media release issued Thursday afternoon. "The error was discovered within minutes, and the names were removed from the site as quickly as possible."

According to Dr. Chadwell, the employee who made the mistake has been sanctioned. Health officials were notifiying the people whose identities were released.

"The Bell County Public Health District sincerely regrets this mistake and remains committed to safeguarding medical information it collects as part of this pandemic," Dr. Chadwell wrote.

According to Thursday's update, 12 of the 51 COVID-19 victims have recovered. Only one COVID-19 related death has been reported in Bell County. A Temple woman in her 80's passed away on March 26.

Bell County reported 5 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday: A Killeen man in his 40's, a Belton man in his 60's, a Temple man in his 30's, a Temple man in his 80's, and a Killeen man in his 50s.

Officials say they are only posting information about hospitalized or deceased patients after notifying their family and receiving permission.


Thank you to all the healthcare providers, cleaning crews, and first responders putting their health and safety on the line to combat this disease and care for the victims. You are absolute superheros.

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