Williamson County has entered the red phase of its coronavirus transmission levels, as 126 new cases of the coronavirus were reported Nov. 19, With these additional cases, the county's case total has risen to 11,310.

The red phase of coronavirus transmissions is characterized by uncontrolled community spread, according to a Nov. 19 Williamson County and Cities Health District news release.

Key indicators for phase changes include the seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations and new cases. The rolling seven-day average for incidence rate, or the rate of newly reported infections, has risen from 10.76 cases per 100,000 residents to 13.08 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the release.

“It is imperative at this time that we have an all-hands-on-deck approach to strictly enforce any mitigation measures permitted under Governor Abbott's Orders, including capacity limitations, mask and distancing enforcement, and isolation/quarantine procedures,” said Dr. Lori Palazzo, Williamson County Health Authority and WCCHD medical director, in the release. “It will take all of us collectively to slow transmission enough to prevent our health care capacity from being exceeded. The threat has never been greater. Immediate action has never been more necessary.”

Risk guidelines based on the different phases are recommendations and do not change any current orders or regulations in place for area businesses, per the release. Risk level recommendations also vary for those at higher risk of death or extreme complications from COVID-19, the release added.

“The increasing transmission rate and movement into the WCCHD red phase is a great opportunity to remind people during this Thanksgiving season to wear a mask, wash hands frequently, and keep six feet of distance from others not in your household," Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said in a Nov. 19 statement. "While the number of cases has increased, other indicators, such as the hospitalization rate for our region, are below [Gov. Greg] Abbott’s threshold for adopting more stringent guidelines under Executive Order GA-32. Personal protective measures are the best way to keep ourselves and those we care about safe.”

There are currently 57 patients hospitalized, 16 in intensive care units and five on a ventilator. The WCCHD also reported 21% of hospital beds, 24% of ICU beds and 80% of ventilators are available.

The total number of deaths remains 159.

Counted deaths are of those who have COVID-19 listed as a direct cause of death on the death certificate. The total does not include deaths of people who had COVID-19 but died of an unrelated cause, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services dashboard. This method may delay reporting by weeks or even months due to paperwork, county health officials have said.

Williamson County currently is seeing uncontrolled community spread of the coronavirus.

Of the total cases reported, 10,556 are estimated to have recovered, and there are an estimated 436 active cases. There are 1,196 total probable cases.

The current rolling seven-day positivity rate, or the rate at which tests return positive, is 6.01%.

Recoveries are not reported to the state’s contact tracing and data system; therefore, recovery information is not absolute and is to be used for estimating purposes only, according to the WCCHD website.

No trends or other inferences should be drawn from this data, as the numbers posted represent a point-in-time snapshot and may fluctuate throughout the day, it said.

Total cases in the cities of residence, including probable cases, according to the WCCHD, are as follows.

  • Austin: 787

  • Cedar Park: 1,122

  • Georgetown: 2,085

  • Hutto: 771

  • Leander: 741

  • Round Rock: 3,385

  • Other: 1,495

If the WCCHD is unable to confirm the city of residence after three attempts, the case is deemed “lost to follow-up” and is not included in the above count, officials said.

Here is a breakdown of deaths by city, according to the WCCHD.

  • Cedar Park: 22

  • Georgetown: 28

  • Not specified: 10

  • Other: 28

  • Round Rock: 71

Officials said the county is not legally able to release the specific counts in cities with fewer than 20,000 residents. For more information, such as gender and age breakdowns, visit the county's dashboard.