The Williamson County Sun

The Numbers


Location Cases Deaths
Williamson 2,469 42
Bell 1,417 13
Travis/Austin 11,009 134
Texas 185,591 2,592
U.S. 2,808,003 129,476
U.S. recovered: 790,404

July 4 10:10 am

Wilco Status Report


County Breakout


Status
Total confirmed 2,469
Recovered 972
Active 1,390
Deaths 42
Currently Hospitalized 102
  Available hospital beds 29%
Currently in ICU 32
  Avalable ICU beds 11%
Currently on ventilator 11
  Available ventilators 60%
Gender
Female 50.1%
Male 46.3%
Pending 3.7%
Cases by City
City O Δ R D
Georgetown 266 +9 152 6
Round Rock 464 +8 428 26
Hutto 95 +4 64 1
Cedar Park 187 +8 93 6
Leander 103 +5 71 0
Austin (in wilco) 81 +11 62 1
Other towns 194 +7 102 2
Age Group
Age O Δ R D
1 to 17 74 +2 71 0
18 to 30 438 +28 230 0
31 to 40 256 +23 201 1
41 to 50 258 +10 184 2
51 to 60 156 +3 126 7
61 to 70 93 +3 79 8
71 to 80 66 +5 56 7
81 and over 46 +3 25 17

  O=Open Cases
  Δ=Change (NC=No Change)
  R=Recovered
  D=Deceased

July 4 10:10 am


*Data is collected from the Williamson County and Cities Health District. Health care facilities in the county report COVID-19 case information to the health district. A spokesperson said the health district does not always get complete information for all of the cases as some data is reported via a test result and staff does not speak to the person to get full details. This is why broken down information might not always add up to the overall totals.

Sources: Williamson Co. Health Dept.


State offers guidance for reopening retail


Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order April 17 to allow nonessential retail businesses to operate during the pandemic. The Texas Department of State Health Services offers guidance to retail business owners, their employees and customers to operate safely. The guidelines are based on information currently available and will be updated when appropriate. This guidance does not apply to businesses considered essential. It is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


    Retail employees
  • • All employees must be trained on environmental cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene/cough etiquette.
  • • All employees must be screened before coming into the business for:
  • • new or worsening cough
  • • shortness of breath
  • • sore throat
  • • loss of taste or smell
  • • feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100 F
  • • known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Any employee who meets any of these criteria should be sent home.
  • • Upon entering the business, employees must wash or sanitize hands.
  • • All employees must wear face coverings.
  • • Employees must maintain at least 6 feet separation from one another.

    Retail customers
  • • Customers may not enter the premises of a retail store. They may purchase items from a retail location for pickup, delivery by mail or delivery to the customer's doorstep.

    Retail to-go:
  • • All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.
  • • An employee should deliver purchased items to the backseat or trunk of the customer's vehicle whenever possible to minimize physical contact with the customer.
  • • Employees must wash or sanitize their hands after each interaction with a customer, and whenever possible, must disinfect any item that came into contact with the customer.

    Retail delivery:
  • • All payments should be done over the phone or internet if possible, and contact should be minimized if remote payment is not available.
  • • An employee or third-party carrier should deliver purchased items to the customer's doorstep. The employee or third-party carrier may not enter the customer's house or business.

    Retail delivery by mail:
  • • All payments must be done over the phone or internet.
  • • Purchased items should be delivered by mail without customer contact.
  • • The customer should wash or sanitize their hands after the transaction.

May 6 7:56 am


The Guide to Georgetown

The Guide to Georgetown


[View all publications.]

Virus case count nears 2,500

Number of confirmed cases in Wilco

Williamson County has received notification of three more COVID-19 deaths in the county, bringing the death toll to 42.

  • A male in his 50s
  • A male in his 60s
  • A woman in her 90s
  •  

    July 4 10:00 am

    ***

    The total of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 2,339 in Williamson County by press time Thursday, and two more deaths have been reported.

     

    The case count jumped 130 Tuesday night and by 109 on Wednesday. The count has increased by nearly 100 per day throughout the end of June and that daily increase is leading into the month of July.


    The death toll in the county is 39. A female in her 80s and a female in her 50s died June 30.


    The month of June accounted for more than 70% of the overall cases confirmed since the virus broke out in mid-March. On May 31 the Sun reported 596 confirmed cases, which indicates the count has jumped by more than 1,700 and the overall count has nearly quadrupled since then.

     

     

    July 2 4:07 pm

     

    Source: Williamson County Cities and Health District


    City mandates facial coverings

    Employees and customers at commercial businesses in Georgetown will be required to wear face coverings effective Friday, July 3.

    Mayor Dale Ross issued the order Monday in response to the significant increase in COVID-19 cases across Williamson County in June, as well as the growing number of individuals hospitalized and those put in intensive care units. By press time Tuesday, 36% of hospital beds and 12% ICU beds were available.

    The order applies to city facilities and all commercial businesses that directly serve the public.

    The county has had a total of 2,100 cases, 1,165 of which are currently active. The month of June accounts for more than 70% of coronavirus cases since the outbreak started mid-March. Georgetown currently has 227 cases — 358 cases overall — and six deaths.

    Businesses that do not adopt and enforce this new mask mandate, which is required when physical distance cannot be maintained, face a fine up to $1,000 per offense.

    Neighboring cities Round Rock, Leander, Cedar Park, Hutto and Taylor have also implemented similar mask requirements. The order will remain in place until Williamson County reports a positive test rate of 7% or lower over a two-week average.

     

    July 1 7:20 am

     


Firefighters test positive for virus

Three Georgetown Fire Department firefighters recently tested positive for COVID-19.

The firefighters work in three different city facilities and wore personal protective equipment when interacting directly with the public. They are the first public-facing city employees in Georgetown who have tested positive.

All staff who were exposed to the confirmed COVID-19 positive employees were evaluated for exposure risk and symptoms. When recommended, COVID-19 tests and appropriate action was taken. Employees who are exposed and/or developing symptoms are identified through the COVID-19 screening and exposure process.

Georgetown follows CDC guidance and works closely with the Williamson County and Cities Health District to minimize COVID-19 risk to employees and the community.

The city has enough staffing to continue to meet service demand and is working through plans to address any staffing shortages as they arise.

A city spokesperson said, due to an increase of virus cases in the community, the city expects more employees to test positive for COVID-19 in the coming weeks. The information will be shared if residents will see a change in services.

While most city facilities are open to the public and offer limited services, all employees and visitors are required to maintain physical distance and wear masks when that is not possible. Employees also are required to take their temperatures upon entering a city facility. Given the recent spikes in the city and across Williamson County, city staff are reviewing additional closures to keep the public and staff safe.

"I want to thank all our city employees, who have remained dedicated and committed to serving this community throughout these uncertain, stressful times," City Manager David Morgan said. "Our thoughts are with our affected employees and their families. We are making every effort to care for our employees and maintain their privacy".

 

July 1 7:20 am


Abbott shutters bars, city closes Blue Hole

In response to a sharp increase in COVID-19 case counts across the state, Gov. Greg Abbott on June 26 ordered bars to close again by noon Friday and restaurants to reduce occupancy from 75% to 50% by Monday.

He banned outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people unless approved by local officials and also shut down river-rafting trips.

The City of Georgetown also responded to major spikes in case counts by closing Blue Hole Park at West Second and Rock streets behind El Monumento Restaurant effective Friday. It is an area that has received frequent complaints about overcrowding during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been closed to help enforce physical distancing.

The section of the trail going through the park will also be closed, and barricades will be installed at Scenic Drive and at Rock Street to close off the trail. Access to the trail via the low-water crossing below the dam will be closed as will restrooms.

The city, along with its Fourth of July event sponsored by the Georgetown Sertoma Club, has canceled its Blazin' Beer Crawl event planned for around the Square this summer. City council is also considering canceling Georgetown's Music on the Square summer concerts. Council members will discuss at a workshop in July if the Red Poppy Festival, temporarily renamed Popptober Fest, should be canceled. It currently has been rescheduled from April to October 23-25.

 

June 26 3:30 pm


Abbott urges safety as restrictions ease

Gov. Greg Abbott asked Texans to help slow the spread of the coronavirus at a press conference Monday as numbers spike across the state. He urged people to practice social distancing and wear face coverings.


Williamson County, like many areas in the state, has been experiencing its highest daily increases in June. About 60% of the overall 1,411 cases confirmed in the county since March have been counted in this month alone.


Charts on display at the conference showed trend lines for hospitalization, daily new cases and the positivity rate, which all spiked around Memorial Day. The increases for each nearly doubled.


"To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas," Gov. Abbott said.

 

On June 3 he announced businesses could increase their occupancy rates up to 50%. He also allowed water parks, amusement parks and carnivals to reopen in counties with less than 1,000 cases. Those with more than that could open on June 19. Restaurants were allowed to operate at 75% capacity starting June 12.

 

June 23 3:25 pm


Test site prepares for more requests

Family Emergency Room, which offers free COVID-19 testing to Williamson County residents, is preparing for an increase in requests as the coronavirus case count has reached new daily peaks in the area.


Williamson County has 671 active coronavirus cases, 138 of which are in Georgetown. June's numbers account for about half of the total overall cases confirmed since the pandemic broke out locally in mid-March.


Dr. Henry Higgins of Family Emergency Room said the spike in cases locally will result in a large increase in testing. The Family Emergency Room in Round Rock on A.W. Grimes Boulevard and one in Cedar Park on Whitestone Boulevard currently serve as testing facilities.


Wilco residents can go to wilco.org/coronavirus to schedule a drive-thru test at one of the testing locations. Individuals must first fill out an online assessment and then wait for a call from the facility within 48 hours to schedule an appointment.


Priority will be given to individuals currently exhibiting symptoms. Asymptomatic individuals, who are not displaying symptoms but have been exposed to the virus, also can request a test but may be asked to wait until a testing time is available.

 

Schedulers contact patients Monday through Friday though appointments are available seven days a week.


Family Emergency Room has performed 1,921 tests with 60 positives, and 40 positives were in June.

 

June 23 3:25 pm


Virus fears limit hospital visits

Hospitals across the U.S. have seen fewer visits for heart attacks, strokes and other health emergencies, as people are afraid to risk COVID-19 exposure in health care facilities.

In April, emergency department visits were down by 45% at St. David's Georgetown Hospital. Fire Chief John Sullivan said Georgetown's fire department received fewer 911 calls in March and April. Before the county's shelter-in-place order in mid-March, dispatchers received about 31 calls per day, which dropped to as low as 19 after the order. Calls went back up after the order was lifted April 30.

Baylor Scott & White facilities, including its Round Rock location, initially saw up to a 40% decrease in emergency room visits, which has since improved.

After delaying treatment, patients have arrived with heart failure, pulmonary conditions, a ruptured appendix, a perforated colon from an untreated digestive issue and advanced infections after trying to treat wounds at home.

Read more in the June 14 Sun.

June 15 6:30 am



   

Restaurant Update


Most area restaurants serve takeout or offer delivery service. Some have opened their indoor and outdoor dining areas.


RoundAbout


Event Changes, status updates, and online entertainiment options.


Coronavirus testing

 

Wilco residents can go to wilco.org/coronavirus to schedule a drive-thru test at one of the testing locations. Individuals must first fill out an online assessment and then wait for a call from the facility within 48 hours to schedule an appointment.

 

StandOut!

Call 512-930-4824 or email ads@wilcosun.com to find out how to get premium front page placement with the Sun.


More COVID-19 testing July 6-10

Williamson County officials announced Tuesday three additional COVID-19 testing sites will be available the week of July 6-10. Free testing will be conducted for all symptomatic and asymptomatic people. No appointments are needed but people should be prepared for long lines, county spokesperson Connie Odom said.

Walk-up testing will be conducted in Hutto, Jarrell and Liberty Hill.

"We selected different cities to make testing available in different locations in the county," Ms. Odom said.

People will park their vehicles and then stand in line to be tested.

Testing will be done through a county partnership with the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the Texas Military Department, which includes Army and Air national guards and the Texas State Guard.

Testing is open to everyone, not just county residents, Ms. Odoms said.



    All sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • • July 6 — Hutto Middle School, 1005 Exchange Blvd.
  • • July 7-8 — Jarrell Middle School, 105 E. Avenue F
  • • July 9-10 — Liberty Hill Junior High, 13125 Highway 29