Covid-19 surge?

County infection rates trend upward


Sites expanded for
Covid vaccinations

 

Many pharmacies are now receiving Covid-19 vaccines directly from the federal government, while the Texas Department of State Health Services continues to provide vaccines to hubs and local providers.

 

Vaccinations are still by appointment only. People who would like to get a shot through their usual pharmacy should register on the pharmacy’s website or app.

 

People who want to go to a new pharmacy may type the pharmacy’s name into an online search engine to find its website for availability and signup details.

 

The county’s remaining first dose hub, Curative, received 12,900 first doses from the state health department and continues to give first and second doses at two drive-through clinics:
• Georgetown Independent School District Athletic Complex near Georgetown High School. Stadium Drive leads to the entrance.
• Dell Diamond on U.S. Highway 79 between Hutto and Round Rock. Harrell Parkway leads to the entrance.

 

Family Hospital Systems continues to give second doses at Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex on Parmer Lane in Austin, just south of Cedar Park. People who seek a first or second vaccination through a drive-through clinic should bring water and snacks and arrive about 15 minutes early and prepare to be at the site for an hour.

 

Baylor Scott & White Health received 1,170 first doses and makes these available to current and new patients. Signup is found on the website BSWHealth.com.

 

Lone Star Circle of Care received a few hundred first doses this week and continues to serve patients on its rolls.

The county health district received 2,000 first doses and continues to treat the indigent, those without a health plan and those on its patient rolls.

— Christopher De Los Santos

BY CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

 

Despite the fact that more than 50 percent of those eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine in the county have received at least one dose, the spread of the virus is starting to trend upward again.

 

According to data from the Williamson County and Cities Health District, Covid spread indicators are increasing, and the county continues in “high community spread” or “orange phase” of the pandemic.

 

Health officials emphasized it is still important for people to wear a mask, wash their hands often and to continue social distancing when gathering with others they do not know well.

 

Three indicators need to be met to move to the “moderate community spread” (yellow phase). Two out of three indicators are trending the wrong direction.

 

• The incidence rate measures the average daily rate of new infections, and it needs to be below 7.0 for 14 consecutive days. For about five weeks, or since March 18, when the county moved to the orange phase, the incidence rate has not dropped below 7.0. In the last 10 days, it has increased from 7.3 to 10.4.

 

• The number of hospital beds devoted to Covid patients in Williamson County and surrounding counties needs to be below 15 percent and falling for 14 consecutive days. As of Saturday, Covid patients filled 4.2 percent –– up from 3.9 percent last week –– of hospital beds in the region. This indicator began increasing in the last week. It had been declining since the end of January.

 

• The positive test rate needs to be below 10 percent for 14 consecutive days. For the last seven weeks, since Feb. 27, the positive test rate continues below 10 percent.

 

Herd immunity

Recovery rates continue to hover at about 97 percent to 98 percent and the county health district estimated that approximately 36,900 county residents have recovered.

 

About 145,000 people (32 percent) –– up from 116,000 people (25 percent) — are now fully vaccinated.

 

With about 185,000 county residents recovered or fully vaccinated out of 458,000 people 16 and over who live in the county, that puts the county nearly halfway to herd immunity.
Who’s gotten the vax?

 

As of Monday morning, state tracking showed 243,000 residents of Williamson County (53 percent) have had at least one dose of the Covid vaccine –– up from 189,000 (41 percent) last Monday.

 

Numbers except those for people 80 and over are rounded to the nearest 1,000.

 

The age breakdown for those with at least one dose follows:
• Ages 16-49: 121,000.
• Ages 50-64: 61,000.
• Ages 65-79: 48,000.
• Ages 80 and over: 12,196.

 

The racial breakdown reporting for Williamson County showed nearly 24 percent unknown, which made the other racial percentages inaccurate.


April 20 | 4:20 pm


Latest Covid vaccine info Sign up for vaccinations

 

A woman gets a shot in the arm from blue gloved hands.

Sun writer Linda Dwyer received her first Covid-19 shot in January at an indoor clinic. While most vaccinations in the county since then have been at drive-through clinics, distribution of the vaccine is beginning to trend toward brick and mortar pharmacies and indoor clinics.

As of Tuesday morning, Curative Inc., Williamson County’s primary mass Covid-19 vaccine hub, provided a sign-up method on its website for vaccination sites in Georgetown and Round Rock. People wanting a drive-through shot for their first dose may now sign up with Curative.

 

The county closed its waitlist Friday and transferred the remaining people to primary first dose provider Curative. Curative has contacted these people by email at the email address included in their sign up, and provided them an opportunity to get a shot appointment.

 

Curative received over 11,000 first doses for this week from the state health department, plus additional second doses. The state does not publish the distribution of second doses, but does send these to the same provider who gave each first dose.

 

When signing up for a Covid shot online, people will need to have some information handy.
Info needed for sign up

 

Each vaccine provider has its own portal or other way of signing up, but officials have said the information required is generally the same.

 

Each sign up will need a unique email address.

 

People who sign up will need to provide contact information and health insurance information.

 

Anyone who lacks an email account, a residence, a phone number or a health plan and wants the vaccine should contact the Williamson County and Cities Health District through the public health clinic in Taylor.

 

Those who sign up will also need to know about their allergies to vaccines and whether they have tested positive for Covid-19, been told by a doctor they had the disease or received treatments for it.

 

People who need assistance with putting the sign-up information into the vaccine provider’s portal may continue to seek assistance from the county’s volunteer in-person tech help centers.

 

Volunteers have been trained in the registration process and instructed on health privacy. The county technology services department purchased, and provided electronic security for, the devices used at the help centers.

 

Tech help centers are open from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. in the following locations and the days indicated:
• St. Richard’s Episcopal Church on East Palm Valley Boulevard in Round Rock, Tuesdays.
• The Oaks in Sun City on Del Webb Boulevard (near a golf course), Wednesdays.
• First United Methodist Church Georgetown (McKinney Christian Ministry Center), 1205 Ash Street, Wednesdays.
• Northpoint Church on Arrow Point Drive in Cedar Park, Thursdays.
• First Baptist Taylor on Mallard Lane, Taylor, Thursdays .
• Hill Country Bible Church on Little Elm Trail (Gym Building) near Lakeline Mall, Fridays.

April 20 | 4:20 pm