Williamson County enters red phase of COVID-19 transmission, reports 126 new cases Nov. 19

The red phase of coronavirus transmission is characterized by uncontrolled community spread, according to a Nov. 19 Williamson County and Cities Health District news release. (Community Impact staff)
The red phase of coronavirus transmission is characterized by uncontrolled community spread, according to a Nov. 19 Williamson County and Cities Health District news release. (Community Impact staff)

The red phase of coronavirus transmission is characterized by uncontrolled community spread, according to a Nov. 19 Williamson County and Cities Health District news release. (Community Impact staff)

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.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from Upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


MOST RECENT

Snow covers I-45 in Houston during a winter storm that hit Texas the night of Feb. 14. (Shawn Arrajj/Community Impact Newspaper)
Legislators probe energy officials over power failures, lack of preparation heading into winter storm

The Texas Legislature held hearings Feb. 25 with energy companies including Oncor Electric Delivery and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas in response to last week’s historic winter storm, which left millions of Texans without electricity for days.

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic. (Courtesy Qygen, Wikimedia Commons)
Fry's Electronics calls it quits after nearly 36 years in business

As many as 31 stores across nine states will be shuttered as Fry's Electronics shuts down due to market changes and the pandemic.

A lone runner jogs on a snow-covered road in Austin. Transportation projects across the city were briefly paused due to Winter Storm Uri. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
ERCOT: Texas power system was less than 5 minutes from collapse during winter storm

ERCOT's CEO offered details into what led to the massive blackouts that left millions of Texans in the cold last week.

cars on snowy road
Texas Disaster Declaration opens door to federal aid for losses sustained during winter storms

Individuals and businesses who sustained losses during the winter storm are eligible for federal assistance, according to a Texas Disaster Declaration approved

ERCOT president and chief executive Bill Magness (left) was joined by the electric grid manager's senior director of system operations Dan Woodfin on Feb. 19 for a briefing on the company's emergency operations. (Screenshot via ERCOT livestream)
ERCOT chief: 'We are completely back to normal operations' as of Feb. 19

Officials with the Texas electric grid manager also said they are preparing for state and federal reviews of this week's power outages.

H-E-B stores across Texas have limited store hours and placed purchase limits on some high-demand products due to ongoing severe winter weather, H-E-B officials announced Feb. 19. (Courtesy H-E-B)
H-E-B, Central Market limit store hours, product purchases due to severe winter weather

H-E-B stores across Texas have limited store hours and placed purchase limits on some high-demand products due to ongoing severe winter weather, H-E-B officials announced Feb. 19.

Gov. Greg Abbott provided updates on the state's emergency response efforts during a Feb. 18 press conference. (Screenshot of April 17 press conference)
Gov. Greg Abbott: Power restored to nearly 2M homes in past day; statewide aid efforts continuing

While power generation has been restored to serve most Texas residents, Abbott said state agencies remain focused on water and food distribution Feb. 18.

Although tens of thousands of megawatts remain off the statewide power grid Feb. 17, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said relief is on the way for many Texans within the next 24 hours. (Hannah Zedaker/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott: Power restoration on the way for 1M households in next 24 hours

Although tens of thousands of megawatts remain off the statewide power grid Feb. 17, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said relief is on the way for many Texans within the next 24 hours.

Severe winter weather conditions led to outages throughout the Texas electric system this week. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
'Something that you could have planned for': How isolated Texas power grid, winter weather left millions without electricity

As of Feb. 17, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said it was still working to restore electric service to customers throughout the state.

An Austin Fire Department truck drives down Manor Road on Feb. 15. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texans urged to use caution as carbon monoxide cases increase during power outages

Carbon monoxide poisoning calls have increased as people look for ways to stay warm without power and heat.

Many in Texas are battling power outages amid frigid temperatures. (Courtesy Rico Daniels)
Gov. Greg Abbott calls for investigation of ERCOT, Texas' electric reliability council

As of 1:20 p.m., over 4 million customers were out of power, according to ERCOT.

graph showing power demand out pacing grid capacity
Texas enters second day of blackouts

Although outages were initially intended to last for less than one hour, local grid operators are reporting longer outages.