Bee Cave mayor speaks out against Travis County data system regarding COVID-19 cases

Bee Cave Mayor Kara King took to Facebook on May 28 to address the method in which Travis County documents active coronavirus cases. (Courtesy Pexels)
Bee Cave Mayor Kara King took to Facebook on May 28 to address the method in which Travis County documents active coronavirus cases. (Courtesy Pexels)

Bee Cave Mayor Kara King took to Facebook on May 28 to address the method in which Travis County documents active coronavirus cases. (Courtesy Pexels)

Bee Cave Mayor Kara King took to Facebook May 28 to address the method in which Travis County documents active coronavirus cases.


Both national and state data are recorded following the Department of Homeland Security’s model; however, Travis County has not implemented this approach, according to King.

Under the DHS model, an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 enters the positive case category. After 30 days, if that individual does not move into another category—hospitalization or fatalities, for example—they move from the positive category into the recovery category.

“When you look at positive cases, you are looking at a 30-day window,” King wrote. “In almost all but a few hot spots across the country, these numbers are decreasing.”

Travis County health officials show positive cases through a different model, according to King. Positive cases are reported cumulatively, and as of May 28, the number recorded is 3,124 cases.

The county also reports recoveries at 1,114, deaths at 92 and hospitalizations at 88 as of May 28.


According to King, in order for a person who tested positive to enter the recovery category, that person would need to return to their physician and receive a negative coronavirus test.

“When you look at the dashboard, what you see is an increase in numbers, but the vast majority of them are ‘old cases’ from back in March and April,” King said.

In the process of reporting recoveries, Travis County has been contacting residents who previously tested positive, according to a statement made by Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County interim health authority, during a May 28 press conference.

Historically, we have been utilizing the method where we are calling folks back to confirm a recovery,” Escott said. “However, as the outbreak has grown, we're going to have to transition to what the state is using, and that is a calculated recovery.”

The county is planning to launch an updated dashboard by early next week, according to Escott. This will modify how recoveries are displays and decided.

“So basically, that's confirmed cases minus those who have died minus those who have recovered equals the active cases,” Escott said.

King noted the upcoming dashboard changes, claiming that while the dashboard will include additional graphs, it will not follow the DHS model.

In collaboration with Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox and Bee Cave City Manager Clint Garza, King reported that the Lake Travis region has about 10 active COVID-19 cases. She said she will continue to update that number on a weekly basis.


I want people to base their decisions on what is best for them and their businesses and families—based on accurate data,” King said.

Garza said he could not comment on the situation or King’s Facebook post at this time, but Cox said May 29 that she and Lakeway officials have been working with Travis County since the inception of the pandemic.

"We have not been able to get the COVID data broken down to city level. It's only given at the ZIP code level," Cox said. "All we know is total cases, and that's not really helpful when it comes to determining policy. We're having to call in to the epidemiologists and figure out how many active cases are in our area. So that is what King is referring to, and what I've been doing is [trying] to get data localized to our area."

Cox added that regardless of what the data shows in the Lake Travis area, it remains crucial for people to continue acting responsibly when out in public.

"Some people think [COVID-19 infection rates are] diminishing; some people think it's growing; but it doesn't matter where we're at right now," Cox said. "We haven't found a vaccine, and so it's important that people continue to wear masks and socially distance to protect those who are more vulnerable in our communities."

Brian Rash - Amy Rae Dadamo



MOST RECENT

Recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine wait after receiving their shot at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
National supply issues with Johnson & Johnson vaccine affect Austin-area shipments

After a manufacturing error ruined 15 million doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the supply will not increase until the plant in Baltimore is once again allowed to participate in production.

Eanes ISD will hold a special meeting April 13. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Eanes ISD returns to in-person board meetings April 13, but attendance will be limited

Eanes ISD community members will again have the opportunity to attend in-person board meetings, according to an April 12 update from the district.

River Place is located in the northwest region of Austin. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Featured neighborhood: Austin's River Place community

Get to know April's featured neighborhood, River Place.

Bee Cave city maintenance crew members are rebuilding the existing median at Bee Cave Parkway and Bee Cave Road to make room for a longer left-turn for eastbound motorists heading north on Bee Cave Road. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Median reconstruction underway at Bee Cave Parkway and Bee Cave Road

Construction will lengthen a left-turn lane to accommodate more vehicles.

Work crews from the the Texas Conservation Corps remove fallen and dead tree debris from Hamilton Greenbelt. The team is under the direction of Lake Travis Fire and Rescue and the City of Lakeway. (Greg Perliski/Community Impact Newspaper)
Preventing wildfires in west Travis County an ever-present effort

Community activity takes many forms to prevent spread of destructive wildfires.

Clara Kistner, Farmacy master gardener, said the community garden operates without the use of chemical fertilizers.
Spicewood community garden grows its support at Bee Creek United Methodist Church

Through hard work and dedication, a group of volunteers in western Travis County have transformed a plot of scrub and rocky land into a community garden that makes a difference in the lives of area residents in need.

Romeo's Pizza held its Georgetown groundbreaking April 6. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Georgetown; Vacancy Brewing opens in South Austin and more Central Texas news

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

Photo of a Moderna vaccine vial
Austin Public Health coronavirus vaccine portal opens to all adults April 12

APH will continue outreach efforts to high-priority groups.

Hill Country Galleria will host its annual spring art walk event April 16. (Courtesy Giant Noise Public Relations)
10 things to do in the Lake Travis-Westlake area in April, May

From outdoor art walks to live music, the Lake Travis-Westlake area is bustling with community events this spring.

Austin Public Health holds a vaccination clinic at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Coronavirus updates from Austin, Travis County; governor bans 'vaccine passports' and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

Rollingwood residents will have the opportunity to provide input on the city's comprehensive plan. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Rollingwood launches community survey focused on city’s first comprehensive plan

In an effort to collect community input, Rollingwood launched a survey focused on the needs and priorities within the community, according to an April 8 news release from the city.

Owners Shae (left) and King (right) Magik moved their shop to the Hill Country Galleria in Novemeber 2020. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austinites run creative fashion house at Magik

Magik offers branding, photography services beyond clothing and accessories.