January already deadliest month of pandemic for Hays County

(Community Impact staff)
(Community Impact staff)

(Community Impact staff)


Since New Years Eve, Hays County has reported 42 COVID-19-related deaths among its residents, or a little more than two per day on average. If resident deaths continue at the same rate, roughly 65 county residents will die this month because of the coronavirus.

December, the deadliest month until now, had 24 reported deaths, or fewer than one death every day on average. There were 34 deaths reported in October, but 22 of those were added from throughout the pandemic after changes were made to how the Department of State Health Services reported COVID-19 fatalities, according to Hays County.

City officials in San Marcos are considering additional measures to limit the spread of the virus, despite legal challenges such a move would face.

On Jan. 19, Buda Mayor Lee Urbanovsky told City Council vaccine availability was sill an open-ended question.

Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra took to Twitter on Jan. 20 to let his followers know an expected distribution of 1,950 vaccines was still unavailable, or yet to be delivered to the county.

According to data from the Department of State Health Services, 1,032 Hays County residents have been fully vaccinated as of Jan. 20. An additional 6,951 residents have received the first of two doses required for the vaccine to work as intended.


DSHS estimated Hays County had 183,387 residents over the age of 16. The Census Bureau estimates the county's total population to be just over 230,000. Becerra believes the population could be could be significantly larger.

"Our population is nearly 300,000; I'll approximate that we are at 300,000, and for all intents and purposes we have received no vaccines," Becerra said during a Jan. 18 call with members of the media.

As of Jan. 20, a total of 108,392 coronavirus tests have been performed on residents, with 13,682 lab-confirmed cases reported by the Hays County Local Health Department. The HCLHD reported an additional 1,585 probable cases.

Some 663 of those residents have been hospitalized, and 168 of them have died. There were 47 active hospitalizations Jan. 20, a slight drop from a high of 49 a day earlier.

Across the region, COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to occupy more than 15% of hospital capacities, as they have since. Jan. 3. Heightened business restrictions put in place under Gov. Greg Abbott's Executive Order 32 are set to last until this rate drops below 15% for seven consecutive days.

The number of tests performed every week has grown significantly as accessibility and supply has increased. In early October, the number of tests performed every week ranged in the hundreds. Between Jan. 14-20, there were 7,308 tests reported to the HCLHD.

The number of new cases reported every week has also grown. During the local surge in cases last summer, the seven-day moving average for new cases peaked at roughly 151 cases per day, according to county data. That figure hit an all-time high Jan. 16 with an average of 253.4 cases reported daily.

Active cases saw a drop from 2,744 on Jan. 19 to 2,575 on Jan. 20. While additional days with drops in cases will be required before numbers can safely be described as trending downward, two data sets offer hope for a decline in the latest surge of cases.

The number of cases the county reported as active within the past three weeks saw the most significant drop since the latest surge in cases began after Halloween. These cases dropped from 3,628 on Jan. 19 to 3,256 on Jan. 20, representing a 10.25% decline.

Cases reported over the previous seven-day period also dropped precipitously, from a high of 1,288 on Jan. 13 to 873 on Jan. 20.




By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.


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