The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases jumped by 52.16% in Williamson County in January as compared to December, the highest monthly increase since the start of the pandemic in March, according to Williamson County and Cities Health District data.
From Jan. 1-31, the county reported 11,102 additional cases, going from 21,281 to 32,383 cases over the course of the month. This was a dramatic leap for the county, which surpassed 15,000 total cases Dec. 9 and doubled that number to 30,000 on Jan. 26, less than seven weeks later.
January also proved to be the deadliest coronavirus month for the county, which had 203 deaths as of Jan. 1 and 324 as of Jan. 31—an increase of 59.61%.
In the month prior, the county added 7,351 cases and 40 deaths.
Counted deaths are of those individuals who have COVID-19 listed as a direct cause of death on their death certificate. A medical certifier, usually a doctor, determines the causes of death. The Texas Department of State Health Services does not include deaths of people who had COVID-19 but died of an unrelated cause, according to the DSHS dashboard.
County health offices have attributed the increase in cases and hospitalizations to holiday gatherings and traveling.
As of Jan. 10, COVID-19 patients occupied more than 15% of total hospital capacity in the Central Texas, which required the area to reduce capacity allowances in businesses and close bars. Those restrictions was lifted Jan. 31 after the area experienced seven consecutive days below the 15% threshold.
Bars in Williamson County have since been allowed to reopen, and the capacity limitation on businesses has increased to 75%.
Here is a breakdown of COVID-19 in Williamson County in January and over the course of the pandemic so far.