Williamson County working to get more test kits, predicts late April peak for coronavirus

Williamson County had 113 coronavirus test kits as of March 30. (Community Impact Staff)
Williamson County had 113 coronavirus test kits as of March 30. (Community Impact Staff)

Williamson County had 113 coronavirus test kits as of March 30. (Community Impact Staff)

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said the county is working feverishly to acquire as many kits as possible, with top priority to test emergency first responders.

Gravell added that it is very difficult to get tests at the local level.

“We've got paramedics, we've got firefighters, and we've got individuals that are out responding on calls,” he said. “If I could have it today, I would. I would like 1,000 test kits. And if I—if I have to order it a minimum quantity of 50,000, I'm willing to do that.”

The county issued a stay-at-home order March 24—with the exception of essential trips, like to grocery stores and pharmacies, and to do essential work—with the hopes of reducing socialization by 90%.

Gravell said Williamson County epidemiologist Justine Price has predicted that coronavirus will hit its peak in the county between April 24-May 15. As of March 30, the county had reported 41 positive cases of coronavirus and one death, but Gravell said he knows there are more ill who have yet to be identified.


When asked if the county is considering extending stay-at-home orders until April 30 as has been issued by the White House, Gravell said that will likely be the case, but no order has yet been issued. The county’s key focus, Gravell said, is to address the issues of today and tomorrow.

“The intent of this county judge [is] to take every step to protect life,” Gravell said. “There are granular things that we're trying to do right now that are far more significant that deal today and tomorrow’s issues and not that April [30] day.”

As of March 30, Gravell said the county currently has 113 coronavirus test kits in its possession. During the week of March 23, the county had 315 available hospital beds in seven hospitals across the county. He added that there are 90 ICU beds, 65 pediatric ventilators and 221 adult ventilators. But count officials noted these numbers change often.

The county has also authorized the purchase of six ventilators for use in ambulances, he said.

Williamson County and health district officials have said they do not know how many test have been conducted because tests are taken independently and only positive cases are reported.

Gravell added that the county is working on overflow plans if the hospitals get overwhelmed with patients but is not ready to disclose a location. He said that location would likely be staffed by National Guard and Army doctors and nurses.

“We're working collaboratively on that and we think we have a great option,” Gravell said. “I'm just grateful for how people are willing to work together.”
By Ali Linan
Ali Linan began covering Georgetown for Community Impact Newspaper in 2018. Her reporting focuses on education and Williamson County. Ali hails from El Paso and graduated from Syracuse University in 2017.


MOST RECENT

The Bloomhouse—an 1,100-square-foot home in the hills of West Austin—was built in the 1970s by University of Texas architecture students for fellow student Dalton Bloom. It was featured in the Austin Weird Homes Tour of 2020. (Brian Perdue/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Weird Homes Tour ends; Z’Tejas to close Arboretum restaurant and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

The safety and mobility project, which will widen D.B. Wood Road, will begin construction in 2022. (Trent Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Georgetown hosts open house, seeks public feedback on D.B. Wood Road widening project

The City of Georgetown is hosting an open house in person and online where they will present information and take questions regarding the D.B. Wood Road safety and mobility project.

One of the most recent city projects being completed through the use of eminent domain is the Northwest Boulevard Bridge project, an I-35 east-west overpass bridge that connects north of Rivery Boulevard with FM 971. (Fernanda Figueroa/Community Impact Newspaper.
Updated: Georgetown has used eminent domain on 6 city projects since 2016

By acquiring the land, the city has been able to complete six road and wastewater projects.

A continuous flow intersection allows vehicles to cross to the left side of the roadway to make a left turn. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
TxDOT seeks public input on proposed changes to I-35 in Georgetown

The state agency is proposing major changes between SE Inner Loop and RM 1431, including adding a continuous flow intersection at I-35 and Westinghouse Road.

The front of a small health clinic.
Outpatient clinic opening at end of June in Georgetown

The new clinic will provide care for individuals recovering from debilitating injuries or illnesses, including long-term effects of COVID-19.

A photo of inside a main room of Arbor Academy
Project-based private school in Georgetown now enrolling for August opening

Arbor Academy aims to provide a smaller community for students.

New WCCAC
Williamson County Children’s Advocacy Center to get nearly $2M in federal aid for construction budget gap

The funds will go to help the Williamson County Children's Advocacy Center cover increasing lumber costs.

Washington Prime Group Inc. owns six area shopping centers, including The Arboretum. (Courtesy The Arboretum)
Owner of multiple Austin-area shopping centers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The company owns several major retail centers in Northwest Austin, Georgetown and Cedar Park.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Nearly 80% of Williamson County residents over age 65 fully vaccinated and other COVID-19 news

Here is an update on COVID-19 numbers, including confirmed case and death counts, from Williamson County.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a call for Texans to conserve energy June 14. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT asks Texans to conserve energy with generation outages 2.5 times higher than normal

"This is unusual for this early in the summer season," said Woody Rickerson, ERCOT vice president of grid planning and operations, in a news release.