by: Jala Washington
Posted: / Updated:
HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — As COVID-19 cases drop across the country, we’re still tracking numbers in Central Texas.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both Travis and Williamson counties are considered low-risk areas. However, the CDC said Hays County is still at high risk for COVID-19 transmission, due to hospitalizations and COVID cases.
To find out why KXAN went digging for answers. A Hays County spokesperson told KXAN the CDC doesn’t have the complete picture.
As of Feb. 25, the CDC looked at the number of COVID hospital admissions over the past seven days and who stayed hospitalized over a seven-day average. That’s how it determined Hays County is still considered high risk.
However, Hays County said the CDC pulled numbers from an electronic reporting system, before the county updated the data, and that it isn’t completely accurate.
“Earlier in the pandemic, the state utilized both the electronic reporting system and the reports published by individual local health departments when compiling their COVID data [which was then passed onto the CDC],” a Hays County Spokesperson said. “In the past few months, they have moved to only using the electronic reporting system. This is because it is much easier to pull data automatically than have someone searching for and then compiling data from hundreds of county websites, and the majority of providers/hospital systems/labs have now been onboarded and participate in the electronic reporting system.”
Hays County said it published daily reports that are as accurate and up to date as possible. Officials feel the county is in a good spot with its situation, saying it’s improving.
“I believe that we as a country, a state, and, of course, a county, are feeling the benefits of the coronavirus starting to let go of its grip on us,” Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra said.
While a Hays County spokesperson said transmission of the virus is higher than they’d like, they feel they are aligned with how the virus is spreading throughout surrounding communities.
Coming out on the other side of the haze and uncertainty, business has been pretty steady for ‘Embrace The Grind’ Coffee.
“I’m excited for it to get back to normal, as long as everyone is staying healthy,” Ron, the owner of the coffee truck, said.
Ron does wonder if Hays County could soon loosen restrictions, like Travis County recently did, due to new CDC metrics.
“As long as we don’t see things get back to the way they were last summer, or the year before,” he said.
According to Becerra, Hays County doesn’t plan to loosen guidelines as of now, but is supporting everyone’s choice to do what they feel most comfortable with. Becerra said he’s hopeful the county’s proactive steps with encouraging vaccinations and getting tested will help them sooner rather than later.
“The CDC guidelines aren’t going to modify our behavior at this time,” Becerra said.