Restaurants have been reduced to 50% capacity, bars have been closed and elective surgeries have been canceled in the city of League City, all in accordance with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order GA-32, per a Dec. 22 city media release.
GA-32, which Abbott first issued in October, places tighter restrictions on Trauma Service Areas where the COVID-19 hospitalization rate exceeds 15% for seven straight days. While the release notes local rates do not exceed the threshold, League City and Galveston County are part of a larger TSA and are therefore included as part of the recent restriction.
The restrictions will stay in effect until there have been seven consecutive days of hospitalizations under 15% in the TSA. League City will work to ensure local businesses affected by the newly imposed restrictions are aware of the Governor’s order, and citizens are asked to help spread the word to area businesses, per the release.
The Texas Department of State Health Services oversees an attestation process, where counties with minimal cases can seek permission for certain businesses to continue operating at 75% capacity. However, the county must have reported fewer than 30 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days. At least 100 new cases were reported a day in Galveston County from Dec. 9-19.
More coronavirus data
A total of 18,388 county residents have tested positive for the coronavirus since mid-March. Of the total cases, 18% or 3,166 are considered active, per GCHD data.
The new case count total reflects an average of about 173 new cases per day over the last 12 days. The average number of new cases a day has increased more than 400% since late October.
The death total is now 172, up four since Dec. 11. Case fatality, however, has continued to decrease and is now at 0.9%.
Galveston and Texas City have seen 3,020 and 2,951 cases, respectively, and Friendswood has seen a total of 1,306 cases, according to GCHD data. More than a quarter of the total cases—5,452, or 30%—have been in League City, and 35% of the currently active cases are in League City.
More than 3,400 total cases have been reported among residents ages 21-30, the highest of any age group, and 495 of those cases are considered active as of Dec. 23. Nearly 550 of the active cases countywide are among residents ages 31-40, the highest of any age group.
However, no county residents under age 31 have died from COVID-19. About 5,800 total residents ages 0-30 have recovered from the coronavirus, per GCHD data.
There are currently 71 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county, mainly concentrated in Texas City and League City. While six of those are residents ages 30 and under as of Dec. 23, residents age 61 and older make up more than 60% of the total number of current hospitalizations. A total of 415 county residents have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 since mid-March.
COVID-19 at Clear Creek, Friendswood ISDs
Both districts let out for the holiday break with active case counts hitting new highs.
Friendswood ISD reported 24 active COVID-19 cases on Dec. 17, the last day the coronavirus dashboard was updated. Of these, 14 cases were reported between the junior high and high school campuses. The district first began reporting daily active case counts exceeding 20 in mid-December.
Like in FISD, Clear Creek ISD first began reporting new highs in active cases in December: 106 active cases were reported Dec. 7, 11 days after Thanksgiving, and 10 days later the district hit a new single-day high with 160 total active cases. Most campuses reporting 10 or more active cases each day have been high schools.
A total of 107 people within FISD—69 students and 38 staff members—have tested positive for COVID-19 this school year, out of approximately 6,100 total students and 800 staff. CCISD is managing about five times the amount of people, at roughly 30,500 in-person students and 5,480 employees, and has seen a total of 576 students and staffers combined positive for coronavirus this school year.
At a Dec. 14 board of trustees meeting, CCISD Superintendent Greg Smith attributed the recent spread to community and off-campus social events, based on campus-level coronavirus case counts, and encouraged those in the community to consider getting tested for COVID-19 three to five days after a holiday trip.
“School will resume in January 2021, but we need everyone's help. This is pretty serious,” he said. “I think at the end of the day, we didn't do well during the Thanksgiving break... I’m asking you to please, please, please... be very careful so that when we return, everybody will be safe.”
Despite the concern over community spread, Smith said at the meeting the district will be revising its safety protocols to shorten the 14-day quarantine period required of students and staff. Friendswood ISD is considering adopting a similar measure with quarantine reduction.