The Williamson County Sun

The Numbers


Location Cases Deaths
Williamson 4,153 56
Bell 2,290 14
Travis/Austin 15,998 179
Texas 279,577 3,362
U.S. 3,431,744 136,468
U.S. recovered: 1,049,098

July 15 7:45 am

Wilco Status Report


County Breakout


Status
Total confirmed 4,153
Deaths 56
Currently Hospitalized 98
  Available hospital beds 28%
Currently in ICU 31
  Avalable ICU beds 28%
Currently on ventilator 18
  Available ventilators 61%
Gender
Female 48.8%
Male 44%
Pending 7.2%

Cases by City

City C Δ D
Georgetown 728 +22 10
Round Rock 1,499 +32 32
Hutto 293 +5 2
Cedar Park 461 +15 7
Leander 225 +6 0
Austin (in wilco) 260 +9 2
Other towns 500 +20 3
Age Group
Age C Δ D %
1 to 17 280 +14 0 0
18 to 30 1,173 +30 0 0
31 to 40 797 +23 1 0.13
41 to 50 728 +14 2 0.28
51 to 60 513 +13 9 1.8
61 to 70 286 +9 10 3.61
71 to 80 184 +5 13 7.26
81 and over 114 +2 21 18.75

  C=Confirmed Cases
  Δ=Change
  D=Deceased
  %=Fatality Rate

July 15 8:15 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.]

COVID-19 cases exceed 4,000

Number of confirmed cases in Wilco

The total of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 4,042 in Williamson County by press time Tuesday, and five more deaths have been reported, bringing the countywide total to 56.
The count increased by 425 since last reported by the Sun Thursday, which indicates an increase of more than 100 cases per day. The count started to increase by nearly 100 per day throughout the end of June and into July. The number of cases jumped by 150 per day last week.
The total number of cases has multiplied by nearly seven since the end of May, which ended with nearly 600 cases. July numbers make up nearly half of the total count with about 1,900 cases reported in less than two weeks. June accounted for about 1,500 cases.
A man in his 60s died July 10, a man in his 60s died July 11, a man in his

 

July 14 3:00 pm

 

Source: Williamson County Cities and Health District


Virus assistance programs available

 

Opportunities for Williamson and Burnet Counties is offering three new programs to help residents during the pandemic.

These programs were developed by Community Services to assist those who have been impacted by COVID-19 financially.

 

COVID-19 Emergency Assistance helps those who qualify with rental assistance, utility assistance or funds to cover the cost of a needed prescribed medication. Additionally, the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and the Self-Sufficiency Program are available for those in Williamson and Burnet counties who qualify. CEAP helps cover the cost of energy bills, while the Self-Sufficiency program provides case management services.

 

"This pandemic is something that has taken us all by surprise," said Kori Ince, the director of Community Services at OWBC. "More and more families have lost income, are struggling to pay their bills and are now at risk of losing their place to live. With funding from the recent CARES Act, we are able to help COVID-19 affected households by providing basic financial needs."

 

Visit www.owbc-tx.org and select COVID-19 Emergency Assistance to apply for assistance. Applications can be made online or printed and mailed to the main office at 604 High Tech Drive.

 

July 10 2:15 pm


 

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


County continues free testing

Williamson County and Family Emergency Room plans to continue its free COVID-19 testing services for residents with a streamlined process and more testing sites.

 

The two entities announced Monday an improved contract to make testing more accessible and scheduling more efficient. Family Emergency Room will now provide a scheduling process that no longer requires residents to wait for a call back to schedule an appointment. People previously had to wait up to 48 hours after filling out an online assessment to schedule a test. The new process will allow individuals to select the time and testing location that best fits their needs.

 

The agreement also allows more Family Emergency Room sites to be used. Residents can use drive-thru testing at the Whitestone Boulevard and Lakeline Boulevard locations in Cedar Park or the Round Rock facility on A.W. Grimes Boulevard. Family Emergency Room plans to provide testing at additional Williamson County facilities.

 

The charges for COVID-19 tests currently are covered by most insurance companies. Family Emergency Room will bill insurance companies at no cost to residents. Tests for Wilco residents without insurance will be paid for by the county.

 

Testing, which originally started May 1 for symptomatic individuals, currently is available for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals.

 

Testing now is being prioritized for symptomatic individuals because of high demand. Asymptomatic and antibody testing is also available for a fee and is being scheduled within a five to eight day period.
Visit familyhospitalsystems.com/covid-19/ for more information on the nasal swab test and the antibody test or to schedule a test.

 

July 7 4:42 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.

 

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County changes free virus testing sites

Williamson County has made a change to its COVID-19 testing sites this week. Additional free COVID-19 testing was conducted at Hutto Middle School on July 6, Jarrell Middle School July 7-8 and will end the week with testing in Taylor.


Testing for symptomatic and asymptomatic people will be conducted from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 9-10 at Taylor Main Street Intermediate School, 3101 N. Main St.


Testing is open to everyone, not just county residents. People will be asked to park and then stand in line. County spokesperson Connie Odom said people should be prepared for long lines and are urged to bring a water bottle and a form of shade to cover from the sun if necessary.


The City of Liberty Hill, the previously announced location for July 9-10, is rescheduling its testing for a different date in the future.

 

Family Health Clinic in Cedar Park is offering free COVID-19 testing for Liberty Hill residents as an option near the city.

 

The county's free testing this week is conducted through a 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.

 


Public meetings

School Board

Georgetown Independent School District's Board of Trustees will meet in regular session at 7 p.m. Monday, July 20 at the Hammerlun Center for Leadership and Learning, 507 East University Avenue. Watch the meeting online.


Commissioners Court

The Williamson County Commissioners Court will meet in regular weekly session at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 21. Meetings are in the commissioners courtroom on the second floor of the county courthouse, 710 South Main Street. Watch the meeting online.


City Council

Council will gather for its workshop and meeting Tuesday, July 28.
Both meetings are in the council chambers at 510 West Ninth Street near the library and open to the public. The workshop begins at 3 p.m. and the meeting is at 6 p.m. Council meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Watch the meeting online.