The Williamson County Sun

The Numbers


Location Cases Deaths
Williamson 11,559 160
Bell 8,018 112
Travis/Austin 36,436 476
Texas 1,153,944 21,013
U.S. 12,249,575 252,564
U.S. recovered: 4,526,513

Nov 23 | 7:40 am

Wilco Status Report


County Breakout


Status
Total cases 12,799
  Confirmed cases  11,559
 Additional Probable cases 1,240
Daily new cases 203
Deaths 160
Currently Hospitalized 57
Available hospital beds 21%
Currently in ICU 16
Available ICU beds 24%
Currently on ventilator 5
Available ventilators 80%

Cases by City

City C Δ
Georgetown 2,145 +60
Round Rock 3,474 +89
Hutto 796 +25
Cedar Park 1,138 +16
Leander 768 +26
Austin (in wilco) 802 +4
Other towns 1,518 +27
Age Group
Age C Δ
Under 5 164 +2
5 to 10 234 +4
11 to 13 196 +7
14 to 17 472 +10
18 to 30 3,059 +24
31 to 40 2,062 +24
41 to 50 1,960 +19
51 to 60 1,509 +23
61 to 70 774 +4
71 to 80 496 +3
81 and over 333 +6

  C=Confirmed Cases
  Δ=Change

*Available Hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators includes all units in Williamson County.

Deaths by Age Group
Age  
18-50 9 (+1)
51-60 18
61-70 26
71-80 48
81+ 59


Nov 23 | 7:40 am

 


Confirmed Case: A Williamson County resident with a positive laboratory diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Serological tests do not meet the Texas Department of State Health Services case definition for a Confirmed Case. 

Deceased: The number of confirmed cases who died because of their COVID-19 illness or complications thereof. The total number of deaths is reported and verified by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). DSHS is now using death certificates, instead of local health district reports, to count COVID-19 fatalities. DSHS fatality counts may be significantly lower than previously reported.

Additional Probable Case: A case that does NOT have a negative viral test AND meets one of the following criteria: 1) has clinical symptoms and an epidemiologic link (close contact with known case) 2) has a positive serological test and clinical or epidemiologic link 3) COVID-19 as cause of death or significant contributing factor.

Hospitalizations: WCCHD uses data reported by hospitals on the number of confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital, in the ICU, and on a Ventilator in the ICU. These patients may not all be residents of Williamson County. This more accurately represents the impact on Williamson County hospitals. The data source is the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council (CATRAC) WCCHD Bed Report, updated daily by 2 pm.

Available Beds and Ventilators: The percentage of hospital beds and ventilators that are available for those with COVID-19 illness. Available bed and ventilator percentages are calculated using the overall capacity of Williamson County hospitals, calculated by the Capital Area Trauma Regional Advisory Council (CATRAC). 

Sources: Williamson Co. Health Dept.


The Guide to Georgetown

The Guide to Georgetown


[View all publications.]

COVID cases skyrocket

By BRAD STUTZMAN

 

Faced with 126 new COVID-19 cases reported countywide, between Wednesday and Thursday, the Williamson County and Cities Health District late Thursday afternoon placed Wilco in the Red Phase. WCCHD says red means there is “uncontrollable community spread.”

 

Statewide, 13,768 new coronavirus cases were reported between Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Red is the highest of WCCHD’s four color-coded categories. This marks the first time Wilco has been in the Red Phase, since the Health District launched its color-coded guidelines in August.

 

The threat has never been greater. Immediate action has never been more necessary.

 Dr. Lori Palazzo, medical director, Williamson County and Cities Health Distric

Whereas previously, under the Orange Phase, the Health District discouraged gathering of more than five people, now — in the Red Phase — WCCHD cautions “stay home, stay safe.”

 

While the Health District and County Judge Bill Gravell say that’s a recommendation, not an order, Health District authorities strongly urge voluntary compliance — as well as mask wearing, physical distancing and frequent hand washing.

 

“It will take all of us collectively to slow transmission enough to prevent our healthcare capacity from being exceeded,” said Dr. Lori Palazzo, the Health District’s medical director. “The threat has never been greater. Immediate action has never been more necessary.”

 

WCCHD’s criteria for entering the Red Phase includes:

• No decline in cases reported during the past 14 days.

• Hospitalizations not declining during the past 14 days.

• The incident rate of coronavirus infection is more than 12.7 per 100,000 population.

 

The 126 new cases reported between Wednesday and Thursday brings the county’s total to 11,310, including 159 deaths.

 

WCCHD reports the seven-day average of new infections per 100,000 population is up to 13.81; an increase over the 12.13 reported earlier this week, the 10.23 reported last week and more than double what it was one month ago.

 

The local Health District reports 436 active cases and 10,715 recovered cases countywide. Recovery rates are estimated from the date of the COVID-19 test, plus 10 days.

 

As of Thursday night the Health District listed 57 county residents hospitalized due to coronavirus, with 16 in ICU and five on ventilators. One month ago, the hospitalization and ICU numbers were in single digits.

 

WCCHD reports the county has 144 hospital beds (21%), 25 ICU beds (25%) and 92 ventilators (80%) available.

 

In addition to the 11,310 confirmed cases, the Health District reports 1,196 probable cases countywide.

 

Georgetown accounts for 2,085 of the total Williamson County cases, or 18 percent. That’s 56 more cases than what the Sun last reported, at mid-week. It also includes 28 deaths.

 

Since early May, 150,980 county residents have been tested for COVID-19. WCCHD says that’s 26 percent of the population.

Williamson County reported its first COVID-19 cases March 18 and its first COVID-related death March 28.

 

Across Texas, as of Friday morning more than 1.1 million COVID cases have been reported, including 20,689 deaths.

 

Throughout the U.S., as of Friday morning there had been approximately 11.8 million cases and about 252,000 deaths.

 

Globally, the case count is 55.6 million and the death count stands at 1.3 million. Worldwide, 35.8 million people have had coronavirus and recovered.

The Health District updates its website at 10 p.m. daily.

 


Call for Thanksgiving letters

 

The silver lining of living through a pandemic is that many people are taking stock of the good things in their lives and the people they treasure. Here at the Sun, we are thankful for our wonderful readers — and we love to hear from you.

This Thanksgiving, we want to celebrate our community of Georgetown by hearing what you are thankful for. Please send us your stories of family, lessons and triumph — however big or small — from 2020. Let’s celebrate all there is to be thankful together.

Send your letters and stories to kate@wilcosun.com with the subject line “I am thankful for…”

Letters will be published, as space allows, in the Nov. 25 edition.


A man paints on the side of a building using spray paint.

Round Rock artist Josue Rivera, a veteran, is pictured Wednesday, November 11, as he works on the mural honoring veterans and K-9 service dogs he and Austin artist/muralist J Muzacz created together for the new Wag Heaven store, at the corner of West 6th and Rock Street in Georgetown. Work on the mural began November 6. Facing the Rock Street side, the mural is approximately 65 feet long and 22 feet high. It was done entirely using cans of spray paint. Photo by Andy Sharp.


Phase Orange

COVID-19 again on the rise

 

Free COVID testing in Taylor

Williamson County’s Office of Emergency Management, in partnership with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, will host free COVID-19 testing Nov. 16-20 in Taylor.

Testing will be at the county’s Expo Center, 5350 Bill Pickett Trail It will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., as long as supplies last.

This is a drive-thru site that will not require an appointment prior to being tested. It is important to note that this is a cheek swab test, so people cannot eat, drink, or use tobacco products 20 minutes prior to the test. Residents should bring a cell phone for on-site registration.

COVID-19 testing at this site is available for all Texans, whether they are Williamson County residents or not. For more information on this and future testing sites, please visit www.wilco.org.

By BRAD STUTZMAN

 

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, the Williamson County and Cities Health District on Wednesday moved the county into what it calls the “Orange Phase,” its second-highest of four color-coded coronavirus categories.

 

In its Orange Phase, the Health District recommends any gatherings should be of no more than five people. Both the Health District and County Judge Bill Gravell say that’s a recommendation, not an order.

 

The Health District, which updates its website at 10 p.m. daily, reported 96 new coronavirus cases between Wednesday and Thursday. That brings Wilco’s total since the pandemic began to 10,772, including 158 deaths.

 

The seven-day average of new infections per 100,000 population is up to 10.23, more than double what it was one month ago. WCCHD’s goal is to get that number down to 1.1.

 

“Daily new confirmed cases are increasing at the state and county level, and many jurisdictions in Texas and the U.S. — such as El Paso — are seeing a major surge in cases,” the Health District’s website states. “We should expect a continued rise in Central Texas cases over the coming weeks.”

 

The local health district reports 363 active cases and 10,251 recovered cases countywide. Recovery rates are estimated from the date of the COVID-19 test plus 10 days.

 

As of Thursday night, the health district listed 42 county residents hospitalized due to coronavirus, with 12 in ICU and six on ventilators. One month ago, the hospitalization and ICU numbers were in single digits.

 

WCCHD reports the county has 146 hospital beds (22%), 16 ICU beds (16%) and 89 ventilators (81%) available.

 

“We should expect a continued rise in Central Texas cases over the coming weeks.”

Williamson County and
Cities Health District

In addition to the 10,772 confirmed cases, the Health District reports 1,040 probable cases countywide.

 

As always, the Health District emphasizes the importance of mask wearing, physical distancing and hand washing.

 

“Everyone over age 10 should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” the website states. “Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.”

 

Georgetown accounts for 1,976 of the total Williamson County cases, or 18 percent.

Residents age 18-30 continue to make up the largest single age group of those contracting coronavirus in Wilco. They represent 27% of the total, with 2,945 cases.

Since early May, 141,561 county resident have been tested for COVID-19. WCCHD says that’s 24% of the population.

 

Williamson County reported its first COVID-19 cases March 18 and its first COVID-related death March 28.

 

Across Texas, as of Friday morning more than 1 million COVID-19 cases had been reported — the most in the nation — including 19,705 deaths.

 

Throughout the U. S., as of Friday morning there had been approximately 10.6 million cases and about 243,000 deaths.

 

Globally the case count is 53 million and the death count stands at 1.3 million.

 

Nov. 13 | 2:14pm


Glitch delays precinct breakdowns


By BRAD STUTZMAN

 

Number crunchers and others who like wading through election precinct totals — looking for trends, changes and patterns — are going to have to wait a little longer.

 

Williamson County government announced Friday, Nov. 6, that precinct-by-precinct level reports of Williamson County’s Nov. 3 election results are delayed, because of a programming issue by the county’s vendor, Tenex Software Solutions.

 

“It does not affect any election totals,” county spokesperson Connie Odom said Monday, Nov. 9.

 

Read more in the November 11 Sun.


A field of U.S. Flags.

600 flags and counting

On Friday morning as many as 70 Rotarians and volunteers hammered lengths of iron rebar into the ground to support the first 600 American flags that were pre-ordered for the club’s annual Field of Honor. Each flag is sponsored by family and friends to honor a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Field of Honor is on E. Morrow Street, adjacent to San Gabriel Park.

This annual project of the Georgetown Rotary Club raises money for student scholarships and other charitable causes. The Club installed the flags in their normal 5-foot spacing in each row, but this year the rows are spaced 10 feet apart to make social distancing easy for visitors.

In addition to the dedicated flags, the Field of Honor also includes a display of 29 historic national flags; eight historical flags of Texas and three special flags honoring those who serve in police, fire, EMS units. New this year is a fourth flag dedicated to honor nurses, doctors, and care givers who have been on the front lines during the Covid pandemic. David Kellerman, right, pounds in a rebar stake to support a dedication plaque for one of these special flags.

If you wish to sponsor a dedicated flag in honor of a service member, the Club will have flags available at the field. The Field of Honor will be open Saturday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, Nov. 15.

   

Send your Santa letters to the Sun

 

He’s making a list and checking it twice. But Santa Claus won’t know what to load up in his sleigh until he hears from you.

The Williamson County Sun is now accepting kids’ letters to Santa, which we will publish in the newspaper before Christmas.

Please email those letters to santaletters@wilcosun.com.


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.

 

 


Upcoming Public meetings

• Georgetown school board:

regular session,

7 p.m. Monday,

Hammerlun Center,

East University Ave.

Watch at georgetownisd.org

 

• Commissioners Court:

regular weekly session,

9:30 a.m. Tuesday,

county courthouse,

710 S. Main St.

Watch at wilco.org

 

• City Council:

Tuesday,

519 W. Ninth St.,

3 p.m. workshop and

6 p.m. meeting,

second and fourth Tuesday.

Watch at georgetown.org/gtv