As Travis County COVID-19 case counts climb, Pflugerville stresses adherence to safety measures

“The only way this works for all of us is to have voluntary compliance with what is being represented with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines," Council Member Rudy Metayer said. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
“The only way this works for all of us is to have voluntary compliance with what is being represented with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines," Council Member Rudy Metayer said. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

“The only way this works for all of us is to have voluntary compliance with what is being represented with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines," Council Member Rudy Metayer said. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

In the past two weeks, COVID-19 case counts in Pflugerville's 78660 ZIP code have jumped from 194 to 397, marking a 104.64% increase. That spike, Mayor Pro Tem Omar Peña said, is alarming.

“That’s staggering growth," Peña said, adding: "This is going to make it very likely that if you don’t know somebody already that has tested positive, it’s happening soon.”

While the 78660 ZIP code does not only include Pflugerville, Peña said its spike is on trend with similarly increasing new case counts and hospitalizations happening in Travis County and throughout Texas. Echoing concerns raised by Gov. Greg Abbott and Travis County officials earlier this week, Peña said the city needs to carefully watch the coming days and take action if these COVID figures continue on their current trends.

Council Member Rudy Metayer referred to the increases as "staggering," adding residents need to be especially cognizant of the science behind wearing masks, frequently washing hands and social distancing. In the midst of the pandemic, Pflugerville's sales tax revenue increased by nearly 17% year over year in April—a much welcomed anomaly, he said, to its financial standing when compared to neighboring communities.

The fiscal health of the city, Metayer said, is imperative, adding residents' adherence to social distancing provisions plays directly into the financial longevity and withstanding of the city.


“The only way this works for all of us is to have voluntary compliance with what is being represented with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines," Metayer said.

Mayor Victor Gonzales said that as the data changes day to day, city staff will closely watch data within the city's jurisdiction. He said Pflugerville's mirroring of both Travis County and the state's direction is a commitment the city has and continues to make, adding he is willing to take additional measures if needed.

He added that the city's adjusted Fourth of July celebration, in consideration of social distancing measures, is a necessary step in still allowing city celebrations to continue. Looking toward the coming months and the fall, Gonzales said the status of future events, festivals and congregations need to be evaluated extremely carefully—especially, he said, if public disregard for safety measures persist.

“You would think [safety measures] would be common sense, but I am not surprised by what I see," Gonzales said.


MOST RECENT

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary waiver covering initial vehicle registration, vehicle registration renewal, vehicle titling, renewal of permanent disabled parking placards and 30-day temporary permits will end April 14. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Officials: No grace period to follow end of statewide waiver for vehicle title, registration requirements

Officials with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles announced April 5 there will be no grace period following the end of the temporary waiver of certain vehicle title and registration requirements this month.

The new tool will give Texans one place to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine through multiple health departments, including the eight DSHS public health regions—which provides public health services to nearly 200 Texas counties—as well as more than a dozen local health entities statewide. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Department of State Health Services launches Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler

The new tool will give Texans one place to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine through multiple health departments, including the eight DSHS public health regions—which provides public health services to nearly 200 Texas counties—as well as more than a dozen local health entities statewide.

Residents wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Delco Activity Center in Northeast Austin on March 13. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than 74,000 vaccine first doses coming to Austin-area providers in next week

The total allocation is fewer than the area received last week from the state.

The Centers for Disease Control released new guidance on in-person instruction for K-12 grade schools on March 19. (Courtesy Pexels)
CDC loosens guidelines on social distancing in schools

The updated guidance recommends students maintain 3 feet of social distancing in classrooms while wearing masks.

Rice Stadium Vaccine Site
Texas vaccine rollout: After 90 days, over 2.9 million fully inoculated

That figure represents about 13% of Texans over age 16—roughly one of every seven.

Three weeks after the the state's power grid failed leaving millions of Texans without power amid freezing temperatures, the Public Utility Commission of Texas named Adrianne Brandt as the agency's new director of ERCOT accountability in a news release March 11. (Courtesy Public Utility Commission of Texas)
Public Utility Commission of Texas names new director of ERCOT accountability

Three weeks after the the state's power grid failed leaving millions of Texans without power amid freezing temperatures, the Public Utility Commission of Texas named Adrianne Brandt as the agency's new director of ERCOT accountability in a news release March 11.

Lawmakers have returned to the Capitol for the 87th Texas Legislature. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Proposed curriculum, funding changes: 14 public education bills filed in the 87th Texas Legislature

Hundreds of bills related to public education have been filed in the 87th Texas Legislature, from curriculum requirement additions to funding formula changes.

According to a March 4 news release, the updated guidance includes a face covering requirement for employees and encourages guests to wear a face covering when they are not seated at their table. The updated guidance also maintains key safety protocols like regular cleaning and disinfecting, hand-sanitizing stations, and employee and customer health screenings. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
SURVEY: More than 70% of Texas restaurants still requiring employees to wear masks despite statewide mandate lift

The majority of Texas restaurant owners will choose to continue requiring staff to wear face masks after March 10 when Gov. Greg Abbott's statewide mask mandate lifts, according to the results of an informal survey conducted by the Texas Restaurant Association in early March.

With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency use authorization of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos. of Johnson & Johnson in late February, U.S. residents who want to get inoculated against the coronavirus now have three vaccines to choose from—each with varying degrees of efficacy. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
EXPLAINED: See how the 3 COVID-19 vaccines available in the US stack up

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna—both two-shot vaccines—have higher efficacy rates for preventing illness than the single-shot Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine; the vaccine efficacy rates stand at 95%, 94.1% and 66.3%, respectively.

Dr. Benjamin Neuman, a virologist with the Texas A&M University System, spoke about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas ahead of the March 10 rollback of mask and capacity rules. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Virologist discusses COVID-19 response and rollback of state restrictions

Dr. Benjamin Neuman, a virologist with the Texas A&M University System, spoke about the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas ahead of the March 10 rollback of mask and capacity rules.