The Williamson County Sun

Williamson County

Covid-19 Statistics
Cases in 28 Days 21,589
Deaths in 28 Days 17
Total cases 101,813
  Confirmed cases  86,609
 Additional Probable cases 15,204
Total Deaths 763
Hospital beds available* 586
% hospital beds avail. 15%
ICU beds available 24
% ICU beds avail. 5%
GA-32 Total TSA % 14.73
Phase Red
  • Green - Minimal Spread
  • Yellow - Moderate Spread
  • Orange - High Spread
  • Red - Uncontrolled Spread

Updated January 14


  •  
  • WCCHD strongly encourages vaccination, social and physical distancing, wearing a mask, and washing your hands.

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

 

Cases by City

City C Δ
Georgetown 17,803 +544
Round Rock 24,160 +812
Hutto 6,388 +179
Cedar Park 6,933 +257
Leander 8,130 +288
Austin (in wilco) 8,734 +318
Other towns 11,273 +273
Confirmed Cases by Age
Age C Δ
Under 5 2,325 +113
5 to 10 6,349 +204
11 to 13 3,952 +110
14 to 17 5,324 +187
18 to 30 19,146 +580
31 to 40 15,640 +509
41 to 50 13,908 +429
51 to 60 9,756 +277
61 to 70 5,469 +156
71 to 80 3,005 +74
81 and over 1,704 +35

  C=Confirmed Cases
  Δ=Change

Deaths by Age Group
Age Total Δ
18-50 82 --
51-60 113 --
61-70 135 --
71-80 180 +2
81+ 253 +1

Outside Wilco


Location Cases Deaths
Bell 46,969 759
Travis 142,348 1,223
Texas 5,289,510 76,909
U.S. 64,083,262 846,488

 

Sources:

 

Definitions

 


CDC establishes new Covid quarantine, isolation rules

 

Those who test positive should isolate for 5 days, even without symptoms, guidelines state

By CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

After peaking with a seven-day rolling average of 42 percent positive Covid-19 test results January 2, the Williamson County and Cities Health District reports this rate stood at 18.5 percent on Sunday.

New cases reported to the health district peaked at 1,900 on December 31, and the health district reports this indicator has since dropped to an average of 1,250 per day over the past week.

Updated guidance on Covid-19 quarantine and isolation, as well as revisions to guidance for schools, came from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week.

People who have tested positive for Covid should be isolated for at least 5 days, whether or not they have symptoms. Similarly, people who have been exposed to Covid and may be infected should quarantine for 5 days. 

Quarantine is a way of preventing Covid transmission by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone who has  Covid apart from others. Isolation is a method used to separate people with confirmed or suspected Covid from those without. 

Quarantine guidance 

People who have had close contact with someone sick with Covid should quarantine if they fall into one of the following groups:

• Adults ages 18 or older, who have been vaccinated but have not received a booster shot while eligible.
• Adults who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over 2 months ago and have not received a recommended booster shot.
• Anyone not vaccinated or who hasn’t completed a primary vaccine series.

People who are quarantining should take the following measures:
• Stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days after the last contact with a person who has Covid. The date of exposure is considered day 0.
• For 10 days after the last close contact, they should watch for a fever 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, or other Covid symptoms.
• Those who develop symptoms should get tested immediately and isolate until receiving test results. Isolation should continue if a positive test is confirmed. 

Those who do not develop symptoms should get tested at least 5 days after the last close contact with someone with Covid.
• People who test negative can leave home, but should continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others until 10 days after the last close contact.
• No one should travel during the 5-day quarantine period. Before traveling, people should make sure a test result is negative and that they are symptom free. 

Those who have had close contact with Covid but are in one of the following groups do not need to quarantine. 
• Adults ages 18 or older who have received all recommended vaccine doses, including boosters; 
• Children and youths ages 5-17 years who completed the primary series of Covid vaccines;
• Anyone who has recovered from Covid within the last 90 days.

People in these groups should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days after contact and get tested at least five days after contact.

Isolations

People who are in isolation should stay home until it is safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should stay away from others, or wear a well-fitting mask when they need to be around others. 

Those in isolation should stay in a specific “sick room” and use a separate bathroom, if available. 

Everyone who has a presumed or confirmed case of Covid should stay home and isolate from others for at least 5 full days.

People who have Covid, but no symptoms, should wear a mask when around others for an additional 5 days. 

Those who have Covid or are showing symptoms need to isolate regardless of their vaccination status. 

Additionally, people who have tested positive, or who have symptoms, should tell others they have been in contact with recently.

People who are isolating should follow these guidelines: 
• Monitor fever and breathing symptoms. People who have trouble breathing should seek emergency medical care.
• Stay in a separate room from other household members, and use a separate bathroom, if possible.
• Take steps to improve ventilation at home,
• Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
• Don’t share personal household items.
• Wear a well-fitting mask when you need to be around others.


​​CDC revises recommendations for schools

Along with its revised guidance on Covid-19 related quarantine and isolation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided updates to guidelines for preventing the spread of the disease in schools.

CDC guidance advises layered prevention methods, including implementing as many of these recommendations as possible:

• Universal indoor masking for students 2 years and older, faculty, staff and visitors at schools, regardless of their vaccination status.
• Those who are sick should stay home.
• Students indoors should maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance to reduce transmission risk.
• Food service staff should wear masks at all times during meal preparation, service and breaks, except when eating or drinking.
• Students should wear masks when moving through the food service line.
• Maximize physical distance as much as possible when moving through the food service line and while eating, especially indoors.
• When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance, multiple prevention strategies should be followed. 
• At recess, physical education and outdoor sports, masks aren’t necessary, except in outdoor crowds.
• Other ways to prevent the spread of Covid include providing ventilation in rooms, handwashing, covering the face to cough and cleaning touched surfaces.

Cohorting is also recommended to limit transmission, the CDC statement reads. Cohorting means keeping people together in a small group and having each group stay together throughout an entire day. Cohorts should be separated as much as practical.

CDC guidelines also recommend contact tracing, in combination with quarantine and isolation.

 

A historic home.

A home on East Seventh Street, pictured to the right, could be torn down to create a larger yard for the home on the property to the left.



HARC votes ‘no’ to Seventh Street home demo

 

Property owners can appeal to Georgetown City Council

By KATHERINE ANTHONY

By a 3-2 vote, members of Georgetown’s Historic and Architectural Review Commission nixed the owners’ request to demolish a 130-year-old home on a lot at 412 East Seventh Street, which would have been converted into a large backyard for a neighboring property.

Voting on Thursday to deny demolition were HARC chairman Michael Walton, and members Catherine Morales and Lawrence Romero. Members Karalei Nunn and Steve Johnston voted to approve the demolition.

HARC’s vote discounted the approval of its own demolition committee to raze the structure. That approval was given last November.

Prior to the Thursday vote, Nat Waggoner, the city’s assistant planning director, told HARC members that the structure built in 1890 lacked historic significance because — with the exception of its stone chimney — all historic features and been removed from the 1,000-square-foot house through decades of refurbishment. 

Voting to deny demolition, Mr. Walton said, that what is important to Georgetown residents is that a structure remains on the lot. 

“This [demolition] feels like a matter of convenience,” he said. “An option for the owners is to offer the property for sale.”

Voting to approve demolition, HARC member Karalei Nunn said the house is not historically significant, and restoration without using original materials would “Disney-fy the house.”

Owners of the home, Jim and Amy Miller, who live around the corner from the house at 611 South Elm Street, told HARC members prior to the vote that, when purchasing the property last fall, they had been interested from a preservation standpoint. However, inspection of the structure determined the cost of restoration was prohibitive, Mr. Miller said.

The couple then decided to convert the lot to backyard space for their residence, following the proposed demolition, if approved.

“Our intention is not to destroy the character of the neighborhood,” Mr. Miller told HARC members prior to their vote. “When the structure was determined to be non-salvageable, we decided to convert the lot to greenspace.”

Sofia Nelson, city planning director, said the Millers can appeal the HARC ruling to Georgetown City Council. After the HARC meeting, Mr. Miller said he and his wife will discuss an appeal “to better understand that as an option.”

Mr. Miller declined to say what the couple paid for the home, but according to the Williamson County Appraisal District, the property had an assessed 2021 valuation of $237,409.


Wag Heaven


A map of georgetown


New turn lanes, traffic signal could be built

 

Three Georgetown intersections could see construction work in 2022

By CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

Three intersections in Georgetown could see updates this year, if the city council approves construction proposals Tuesday during workshops.

The city’s systems engineering director, Wesley Wright, and Eric Johnson, public works director, submitted proposals to add turn lanes at two signaled intersections. They also proposed adding a signal at a third intersection. 

Together, the three projects are projected to cost $1.45 million.

1. The first proposal would add a turn lane at the intersection of Wildwood Drive and Williams Drive. The right turn lane would take traffic from southbound Wildwood Drive onto westbound Williams Drive, with an estimated $250,000 price tag. Additional turn lanes on the other side of the intersection would be built by a developer, city documents indicate.

2. The second proposal would add lanes at the intersection of Scenic Drive and West University Avenue. This project would build right turn lanes on both sides of Scenic Drive turning onto West University Avenue for an estimated $600,000. The new lanes would allow more cars to safely pass through the intersection at each green light, city staff wrote.

3. The third proposal, estimated at $600,000,  would add a traffic signal at the intersection of Southwestern Boulevard and Southeast Inner Loop. Related construction can begin under a roadway project already being designed with funds from the 2015 road bonds, city documents show. Span wire and temporary poles would be built to facilitate the signal. 

Permanent poles would be built with money from the 2021 road bonds.

​​

 


 

A map of the Williams Drive and Bootys Road intersection

Road work will redesign the intersection of Williams Drive at Booty’s Crossing Road and Lakeway Drive.



​​Redesigning Williams Drive intersection

 

Lane closures expected through Phase 1


By KATHERINE ANTHONY

The City of Georgetown will begin work to redesign the intersection of Williams Drive and Booty’s Crossing Road Monday, officials said. 

The project is expected to be completed by late August and will add: 

• A dedicated left-turn lane from Booty’s Crossing Road to Williams Drive.
• A dedicated right-turn lane from Williams Drive to Lakeway Drive. 
• New traffic signals, ADA ramps, crosswalks, sidewalks and drainage work.

During Phase 1 of the project, eastbound, the right-turn lane from Williams onto Booty’s Crossing will be closed, and Booty’s Crossing will be reduced to one lane in each direction.

City spokesperson Ali Van Dyke noted there are only two lanes on Booty’s Crossing at the present time. 

“A dedicated left-turn lane will add a third lane to help promote better, more organized stacking at the intersection,” she said. “This added lane will also allow us to program the signal a little bit better, since cars going left, straight, and right will now have their own designated lanes.”

She acknowledged that intersection congestion “will likely be a little worse” during construction, “but the overall intersection improvements will have noticeable benefits,” she said. 

The $1.45 million project is funded by City of Georgetown 2015 transportation bonds and federal transportation money from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

More information about the city’s 2015 Williams Drive Corridor Study is available at www.campotexas.org/local-plans-and-studies/georgetown-williams-drive-study.

Ms. Van Dyke said the City plans to update the Williams Drive Corridor Study later in 2022.




A map of the intersectgion of I35 and 130

Georgetown may get a new hotel and conference center to go with the new light industrial park at the Interstate 35 interchange with State Highway 130.


 

Conference center, hotel could go to North Georgetown



By CHRISTOPHER DE LOS SANTOS

A new hotel and conference center, along with restaurants and electric vehicle charging stations, moved a step closer to reality Tuesday, as the Georgetown Planning and Zoning Commission approved a proposed zoning change for the project.

P&Z recommended  rezoning a parcel of about 16 acres from agricultural to high density commercial, just south of the Interstate 35 interchange with State Highway 130. 

“Our intent is to develop this property to support the people that keep our local supply chain efficient and resilient,” said Iqbal Maredia, representing Antiz, LLC, the applicant for the rezoning.

Mr. Maredia described SH-130 as a supply chain corridor that will support Samsung, Amazon and Tesla, while also providing access to international shipping at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The Antiz plan includes a hotel with a conference center, casual dining and fast food restaurants, green space, and a convenience store with gas station and electric vehicle charging as well, the letter of intent states. The restaurants would be locally owned, according to the letter.

Georgetown City Council will have the final say on the rezoning for the Antiz proposal, when it takes up the associated zoning change ordinance for first and second readings at regular sessions in the coming weeks.

A site development plan detailing the construction along with landscaping and drainage requirements will also go through the approval process over the next few months.

The Antiz proposal would be near a separate project by Titan Development, which is building a heavy commercial and light industrial development in the area called NorthPark 35. 

NorthPark35 consists of several buildings for distributing and manufacturing companies, a Titan Development spokesperson said. 

Two of the buildings are built, with two more on the way later this year.


 

Taylor to annex Samsung site

 

Public hearing scheduled for January 13

The City of Taylor may soon annex the proposed site of the future Samsung computer chip factory.

A public hearing is scheduled for January 13 at 6 p.m. at Taylor City Council Chambers to consider this annexation. 

Taylor City Council meets at 400 Porter Street. Anyone interested may go there for the hearing and to speak.

Samsung Austin Semiconductor, LLC, applied for the City of Taylor to annex approximately 1,270 acres near the intersection of County Roads 401 and 404, where it plans to build the new semiconductor foundry.

The application is available for public review during normal business hours in the Development Services Department at Taylor City Hall, also on Porter Street.

Those wanting to speak, or seeking more information may also call

512-352-3675 or email planning@taylortx.gov.


 

Accepted items include:

• Household and automobile batteries

• Pool and spa chemicals

• Used oil/oil filters (up to five gallons per vehicle)

• Transmission fluid

• Light bulbs (including regular, compact, and four-foot fluorescent)

• Grease

• Thermometers

• Over the counter, residential lawn and garden chemicals

• Aerosols

• Household cleaners and disinfectants marked caution, warning, or poison

• Art and hobby chemicals

• Paint (up to 10 gallons per vehicle)

• Over the counter one-pound disposable propane bottles

• Gasoline (up to five gallons per vehicle)

 

Items not accepted include:

• Unmarked containers or unknown chemicals

• Construction, commercial, or landscape waste

• Professional, concentrated chemicals that require a professional license to mix

• Medications or pharmaceuticals

• Oxygen tanks

• Electronics

• Tires

• Explosives (including ammunition and fireworks)

• Radioactive materials

• Biological materials

Hazardous Waste collection returning this month

 

A free household hazardous waste collection will be held for up to 300 Georgetown solid waste customers from 3-6 p.m. on January 19 at the old show barn site in San Gabriel Park, 425 East Morrow Street.

To participate, people must be customers of Texas Disposal Systems and must sign up in advance, according to a city statement. 

To sign up, customers must contact the Georgetown Utilities Customer Care office at 512-930-3640 or customercare@georgetown.org and register. To sign up by email, the city requests the following information: name, address, and utility account number. 

All collections will be no-contact. Staff will unload items from the back seat or trunk of the vehicle. The city spokesperson asks that those dropping off items remain in their vehicles.

All items to be dropped off must be in their marked original containers. Commercial disposal and trailers are not allowed.

City staffers and TDS are planning additional household hazardous waste collection events this year. For more information about the City’s solid waste and recycling services, visit recycle.georgetown.org.

For those who are not TDS customers, Williamson County hosts two household hazardous waste collection events open to all county residents each year. The spring event date has not been scheduled yet. Details for the county’s event can be found by calling 512-759-8881, Option 4, or visiting https://bit.ly/3648ZYX.


   

 

Williamson County events to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.


By KATHERINE ANTHONY

Events honoring the legacy of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. will be held in Georgetown and in surrounding communities over the upcoming week. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a national holiday, is Monday. 

 

Georgetown

January 17 — MLK Leaders Prayer Breakfast  
The Georgetown Ministerial Alliance and the Georgetown Police Department will host a MLK Leaders Prayer Breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Public Safety Operations and Training Center, 3500 DB Wood Road. A light breakfast will be provided. RSVP via the Facebook event.


January 17 — Day of Service 
United Way for Greater Austin will host an MLK Jr. Day of Service on Monday. All activities are socially-distanced, and there are opportunities for individuals, families and groups to participate. More information is available online.

January 17 — Virtual MLK Day Celebration  
The Georgetown Fellowship of Churches will host a virtual MLK Day Celebration event at noon featuring speaker E.A. Benson, senior pastor at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Georgetown.

Methodist Church in Georgetown. The theme for the event is “Dreaming While Woke.” Register to attend the event at bit.ly/GFOC-MLK2022.

January 17 — Youth Service Day 
The Georgetown Project will host a Youth Service Day for high school students starting at 9 a.m. at the Georgetown Community Center, 445 East Morrow Street. Students will be given certificates for three hours of service. Service projects hosted by The Georgetown Project and its partners in the Afterschool Alliance will benefit children and youth of all ages, as well as aging and military families. Participation in service projects will be followed by a free pizza lunch at the community center. For details, contact The Georgetown Project by calling 512-943-0074 or by visiting www.georgetownproject.org.

January 20 — Southwestern University Symposium 
Southwestern University will host its Race and Ethnicity Studies annual symposium from 4-6 p.m. Thursday. The symposium, “Without Borders or Boundaries: A Panel on how U.S. Immigration Enforcement Racializes, Criminalizes and Punishes Migrants,” will be held in the McCombs Campus Center Ballrooms. The panel includes Luis Romero, assistant professor of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies at Texas Christian University, and Esther Ramos, graduate student at Teresa Long Lozano Institute of Latin American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. The annual symposium is sponsored by the Race and Ethnicity Studies Program. A question and answer period will follow the presentation. A campus map is available online.

Leander

January 17 — MLK Day Parade & Street Festival
In collaboration with volunteers and local partners, the City of Leander will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by hosting its first MLK Day Parade & Street Festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Old Town Leander. Themed “Community Unity - Bright and Bold,” the parade and festival aim to unify and educate the community, and to encourage participation in observations, ceremonies, and activities that commemorate Dr. King. Throughout the festival, performers show off their talents at the main stage in Old Town Leander. Performance groups will include dancers, movement performers, musicians, bands, youth dancers, choirs, and spoken word artists.

Round Rock

January 15 — 35th Annual MLK Walk and Celebration
The MLK Walk and Celebration, from 1 to 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, will begin at the soccer fields at Buck Eggar Park, near Mays and West Logan Street in Round Rock. Parade participants and marchers, led by an ROTC Color Guard from Hutto High School and drumline from Round Rock ISD, will assemble at 1 p.m. The march will last approximately 15 minutes and will end at Centennial Plaza. The event is sponsored by the  Round Rock Black History Organization, with participation from Round Rock ISD and support from the City of Round Rock, Round Rock Public Library and Round Rock Police Department.


Taylor

January 17 — MLK Day Celebration
The City of Taylor’s 17th annual MLK Day Celebration will feature a march and program beginning at

9 a.m. at the Dickey-Givens Community Center, with lineup at 8:45 a.m. After the march, the celebration program begins at 10 a.m. at Heritage Square Amphitheater. In the case of bad weather, the event will be moved to Taylor City Hall. 

 


 

RoundAbout


BULL RIDING

January 14 and 15

The PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour will come to the Cedar Park H-E-B Center for the PBR Cedar Park Chute Out. For two nights only, some of the best bull riders in the world will battle the sport’s rankest bovine athletes in the ultimate showdown of man vs. beast in one of the most exciting live sporting events to witness. For more information on the event, visit pbr.com 


YOUTH FISHING DERBY

January 15

The annual Youth Fishing Derby is back to its original format after virtual participation last year. Children aged 12 and under can compete at the stocked ponds at Blue Hole Park. This event is sold out and walk-ups will not be accepted.  


LAWN AND GARDEN 101

February 1, 6 p.m.

During the seven-week “Lawn & Garden 101” class presented by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, you’ll learn about practical steps for selecting plants that grow well in Williamson County, conserving water in your landscape, and caring for your lawn and trees. They’ll also talk about vegetable and herb gardening, succulents, and common gardening mistakes and how to avoid them. You will hear from a highly knowledgeable Horticulturist, Master Gardeners, and other specialists. Cost is $55. The class will be every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. starting February 1 through March 15 at 100 Wilco Way, Room 226, Georgetown.


GARDENING PROGRAM

The Green Thumbs Up Gardening Program is free and open to the public. No registration is required. The topic for the January program is Turfgrass Weed Prevention, presented by Kate Whitney, Horticultural Extension Agent. Green Thumbs Up will be presented at the following locations and times:

• Round Rock Public Library, Meeting Room A, 216 East Main Street in Round Rock, January 6, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

• Cedar Park Public Library, 550 Discovery Boulevard in Cedar Park, January 11, from 7-8 p.m.

• Brushy Creek Community Center, Oak Room, 16318 Great Oaks Drive in Round Rock, January 19, from 12–1 p.m.

For more information on other events please visit our website at: williamson.agrilife.org

Contact Kate Whitney at klwhitney@ag.tamu.edu or the Extension Office: 512-943-3300


DEATHTRAP

January 14-February 13

The Palace Playhouse will feature the play Deathtrap. This dark comedy thriller will have audiences laughing one moment and screaming in terror the next as an ambitious writer and wannabe killer discovers he may not be the only murderer in the room. This show contains violence and limited use of strong language.



 

Central Texas Philharmonic

 

Tickets are available at CentralTexasPhilharmonic.org.