Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said April 8 the county is now receiving about 500 test kits a day from AIT Laboratory in Denton, Texas.
The lab initially sent the county 1,000 kits April 6, but the order has now become daily, Gravell said. He added the daily arrival of kits will continue until the county deems they are adequately supplied.
Gravell has said the county will prioritize testing first responders, law enforcement, medical staff and older adults living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. He said the first round conducted tests were delivered to the facility on the morning of April 8 and the county anticipates results by the evening of April 8.
“I am so grateful to everyone that has been a part of that process,” Gravell said. “We’re excited about private businesses stepping up to fill the void.”
Gravell said the county is also emphasizing the need for continued social distancing.
A University of Texas at Austin April 6 coronavirus projection report stated social distancing needed to reduce contact by at least 75% or more to have enough hospital capacity as well as intensive care unit beds and ventilators in the five-county Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area. While the report does not state the current social distancing rate for the MSA, a Google Community Mobility April 1 report said retail and recreation was down by 45% in Williamson County, Gravell said.
“What that means is the better we do at social distancing, the safer it is for our community,” Gravell said. “What we have found unequivocally from the data is that the more we continue with the social distancing, the lower the number will ultimately be of those that are infected and those that need different life saving measures.”
The county—as well as other Central Texas officials—set a goal of reducing social interaction by 90% to help combat the spread of the virus, which has left many businesses closed.
As for the economic impact the virus has had on the county, Gravell said he did not yet know.
“I can’t comprehend the pain and the hurt the small businesses are going through,” he said.
The county’s current “Stay Home Stay Safe” order that went into effect March 25 states gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited. The order is in effect until at least April 30.
When asked about his own compliance with the order, Gravell said he has not been in a location of 10 people or more beyond the Williamson County Emergency Services Operation Center.
“I have a social distancing order than says not to gather with 10 or more, and the only place that I have violated that order has been right here in this executive room,” Gravell said.