Higher number of Hays County coronavirus cases points to these 3 reasons

Floating the area's rivers is a popular way to cool off, but overcrowding the river may also be the cause of coronavirus spread for Hays County residents. (Courtesy San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce)
Floating the area's rivers is a popular way to cool off, but overcrowding the river may also be the cause of coronavirus spread for Hays County residents. (Courtesy San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce)

Floating the area's rivers is a popular way to cool off, but overcrowding the river may also be the cause of coronavirus spread for Hays County residents. (Courtesy San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce)

Protests, floating the local rivers and visiting bars packed with patrons have been three drivers of higher coronavirus cases in Hays County, according to the Hays County Local Health Department.

After a steady climb to 500 cases since March, 519 new cases have been reported since June 12, including a record 155 cases on June 16.

Epidemiologist Eric Schneider said during a press conference June 17 that most of the cases are in the age category of 20-29 years old.

The county for most of the pandemic held hospitalizations around six patients in area hospitals. The county currently has 15, and Schneider said most of those hospitalized are between 45 and 75 years old. Hays County has reported five deaths related to coronavirus.

Schneider said 58% of the county’s cases since June 10 have been San Marcos residents.


After the economy began reopening through phases set by the governor’s office, cases have risen sharply, according to data from the health department.

“It’s spreading rapidly throughout the region,” Schneider said. “The number is growing faster than expected.”

Schneider said while some businesses along the rivers are being responsible and allowing floaters to depart only in small groups and by appointment, he said he could have walked across the river on the tubes he saw on the Comal and Guadalupe rivers last weekend.

The San Marcos and New Braunfels areas are destinations for floating the rivers. New Braunfels is in Comal County and is a popular day trip for Hays County residents.

Schneider called on residents to take precautions to slow the spread, including wearing face masks, observing 6 feet of space from others and washing hands frequently. He said many businesses have reached out about having employees testing positive.

The county will advise businesses to follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the health department will not close businesses.

The county has had high cases reported in food service, health care and construction.

“Most of our residents should assume they take the risk [of contracting coronavirus] as soon as they leave their homes,” Schneider said. “Let’s work together to do the right thing.”

Editor’s note: The June 17 coronavirus statistics will be released after 4 p.m.
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is managing editor of the nine Austin-Central Texas editions of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.


MOST RECENT

The First Street Foundation's dataset includes a forecast models that anticipate the effects of climate change and sea level rise. (Screenshot via First Street Foundation)
Analysis: FEMA may be undercounting national total flood risk by as much as 70%

The new dataset includes an interactive Flood Factor dashboard that anyone can use to assess the risk of flooding over a 30-year period for any address.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gov. Greg Abbott: Texans must wear masks in public starting July 3

"COVID-19 is not going away," Gov. Abbott said. "In fact, it is getting worse."

This year, celebrations of the Fourth of July holiday will look different in Buda, Kyle and San Marcos amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy San Marcos)
Here are some Fourth of July celebrations in Buda, Kyle and San Marcos

Fourth of July celebrations will look different this year for cities along the I-35 corridor due to increasing cases of COVID-19 in area. Here are some holiday plans in Buda, Kyle and San Marcos.

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments. (Source: Matt Frankel/Community Impact Newspaper)
'Refinancing isn't free:' How to navigate refinancing a mortgage

When interest rates are low, homeowners may look to save money by refinancing, which means getting a new mortgage with a better term or interest rate to lower payments.

Episcopal Health Foundation
Survey: Texans support emphasis on improving economy, safety, pollution to address overall health

“COVID-19 is clearly showing what Texans already know: the state needs to address underlying, non-medical conditions that have a dramatic impact on their health,” Episcopal Health Foundation President and CEO Elena Marks said.

CommunityCare Health Centers drive-up coronavirus testing site
CommUnityCare will no longer test asymptomatic people for COVID-19 as testing demand swells

CommUnityCare Health Centers is now only testing individuals who show symptoms, those who have a known exposure to the coronavirus or those with other existing health conditions.

The H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks will not take place this year due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. (Courtesy Ricardo Brazziel)
Read the latest on 4th of July celebrations in Central Texas

Area cities have canceled or modified their Independence Day events.

In communities across the nation, Walmart Supercenter parking lots will be transformed into contact-free, drive-in movie theaters beginning in August. (Courtesy Walmart)
Walmart to bring drive-in movies to 160 stores nationwide in August, launch virtual summer camp

Families can also enjoy a virtual summer camp experience Walmart is launching July 8 with sessions led by celebrities, including Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris and LeBron James.

There will be six early voting locations where residents can cast ballots. (Community Impact staff)
Hays County early voting locations now open for primary runoff elections

Early voting for the July 14 elections began June 29 and will run through July 10, with polls closed July 3-4 for the Fourth of July. Hays County residents will have the opportunity to vote at one of six locations in the county.

Money stock art
Comptroller: Texas June sales tax revenue totaled $2.7 billion, down 6.5% from a year ago

The Texas comptroller's office has released June sales tax revenue figures.

The new apartment complex is located at 401 S. Guadalupe St., San Marcos. (Courtesy Cheatham Street Flats)
Cheatham Street Flats now open in San Marcos

The complex will offer 234 fully furnished apartment units with a variety of floor plans, a fitness center and outdoor lounging areas.

Activists circled the Hays County Historic Courthouse June 30 to demand the release of pretrial detainees. (Courtesy Mano Amiga)
Caravan of Hays County activists demands the release of jail inmates amid pandemic

A group of activists in Hays County caravanned downtown San Marcos on June 30 to demand the release of pretrial detainees.