Williamson County reports fifth coronavirus-related death, turns focus to mass testing

Williamson County reported its fifth coronavirus-related death April 20. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County reported its fifth coronavirus-related death April 20. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Williamson County reported its fifth coronavirus-related death April 20. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell confirmed the fifth coronavirus-related death in the county during an April 20 press conference.

This report comes after the daily confirmed case report, which was released at noon.

The death count will be added to tomorrow’s report, Gravell said.

“Every time that we have someone who has lost their life to this horrible disease, I'm mindful of the kids and grandkids and parents and grandparents that have to deal with this tragedy,” Gravell said. “I have heard individuals say, ‘Well, look at the cost and what it's done to our area businesses, and we've only had four or five people pass away.’ I would say, speaking perhaps for them and through that filter, maybe their attitude is right, but for those five that have lost loved ones, this is a nightmare.”

Gravell said the county continues to prioritize using its tests for first responders, health care workers and those living in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Currently, the county has 2,082 tests for first responders and 500 kits for those living in nursing homes.


So far, no one living in a nursing home nor an assisted-living facility; no county nor city first responder; and no Williamson County jailer nor inmate has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Gravell said.

He added that in addition to testing anyone living in a nursing home who appears to have coronavirus symptoms, the county is also testing anyone who could have been exposed.

“I'm very grateful for the leadership by the health district in protecting our seniors at the nursing homes,” he said.

The Williamson County and Cities Health District daily count for April 20 reported 156 total cases. Of those, 99 have recovered, it said. The county also has 11 people currently in the hospital, six in intensive care and four on ventilators, Gravell confirmed.

The county does not know exactly how many cases there are, as private testing locations only report positive cases to the health district, officials have said.

While the county is not currently testing the mass public, doing so is Gravell's next priority, he said, adding that he and his team are working to get mass testing—preferably, free mass public testing—for the general public.

He said when the county is able to conduct standup testing for the general public, Dr. Lori Palazzo, medical director of the Williamson County Health Authority, will have the authority on how, when and to whom those tests are distributed.

“I want you to know that your county judge is laser-focused on testing,” Gravell said. “We can't know how large the problem is until we know how many individuals have or haven't been tested, so I am laser-focused on testing and moving in that direction.”

The county's "Stay Home Stay Safe" order is currently in effect until April 30.