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First COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Bastrop County

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    As of Tuesday afternoon, Bastrop County has 459 active cases of COVID-19. Find this dashboard and more information about COVID-19 in Bastrop County at https://www.co.bastrop.tx.us/page/em.coronavirus.

Four places in Bastrop County—a state clinic, a hospital and two HEB pharmacies—are scheduled to receive 400 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine this week.

As of Monday morning, 23 residents of Bastrop County had received the first dose of the vaccine, according to a dashboard by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Statewide, 26,007 doses had been administered by Monday to frontline medical workers and vulnerable residents of long-term care facilities.

Last week, hospitals across Texas, including eight locations in Travis County, were scheduled to receive a total of 224,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, according to a list released by DSHS at the start of the distribution.

Over the weekend, DSHS shared on its website another list of hospitals, clinics and pharmacies that would receive doses of the Moderna vaccine, the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved, this week.

Texas expects to receive 620,400 vaccine doses this week, which includes 460,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 159,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, according to DSHS. The majority of this week’s Pfizer vaccines are going to the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, which will begin vaccinating residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities on December 28. The rest of the Pfizer vaccines will be distributed to 29 hospitals that received Pfizer doses last week in order to continue vaccinating healthcare workers.

During the second week of vaccine distribution, four locations in Bastrop County are each scheduled to receive 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine. These locations are:

  • DSHS field office and clinic in Bastrop
  • HEB Pharmacy 582 in Bastrop
  • HEB Pharmacy 475 in Elgin
  • Seton Smithville Regional Hospital in Smithville

Texas has a multi-phase vaccine distribution plan, starting with frontline workers and vulnerable populations as the supply of vaccine doses is limited. Populations included in Phase 1A are:

  • Healthcare - Tier 1: hospitals and emergency medical services
  • Healthcare - Tier 2: medical offices
  • Long-term care: assisted living residents
  • Long-term care: nursing home residents

For more information and updates about the state’s vaccination plan, and to see the distribution lists for the vaccines and the dashboard showing vaccination progress across the state, visit https://dshs.texas.gov/news/updates.shtm. 

 

Elgin superintendent gives update on COVID-19 situation

During the Elgin ISD school board meeting on Monday, December 14, Elgin ISD Superintendent Jodi Duron provided an update on the status of the pandemic’s effect on the school district.

That day, Duron participated in the weekly calls among school leaders and health authorities in Bastrop and Travis counties; in both counties, they reported increases in positive COVID-19 cases, most likely due to gatherings during Thanksgiving. 

As of last Monday, Travis County—the county in which a portion of Elgin ISD, including two of its campuses, reside—sat at Stage 4, with Stage 5 being the highest stage of COVID-19 risk. Duron said Travis County could be on the verge of moving into Stage 5 if the upward trend continues, and the increase is causing Elgin ISD to restrict some activities.

According to a letter addressed to parents from Elgin ISD on December 16, athletic events can currently be held with two spectators per athlete allowed to attend under Stage 4. However, if Elgin ISD is moved to Stage 5 restrictions, either by Austin Public Health or by Bastrop County, games would continue with no spectators allowed.

“Our hope is that we do not find ourselves in a Stage 5 situation; however, that is dependent on all of us doing our part to adhere to the health and safety guidelines of our local health authorities, the Texas Education Agency, and the (Centers for Disease Control),” the letter says. “Remember this: the small sacrifices that we make today will eventually lead us to a better tomorrow.”

She stressed the importance of following the guidance of local health authorities and to continue wearing masks, distancing and practicing good hygiene.

“We are excited about the vaccine; we're already hearing it's rolling out in some communities and areas, and that's great,” Duron said. “But it's going to take a good while before that cycles through our entire community, and not everybody is going to want to take advantage of that. So, we need to continue to be vigilant in our activities and in our behaviors.”

As of last week’s meeting, Duron said the percentages of students learning in person or virtually has not changed significantly in the past month; just under 60% of Elgin ISD students are back to on-campus learning, with more elementary students attending in-person. She added that the schools are continuing to call families of students struggling with virtual learning and ask them to consider coming back, although it is the families’ decision whether or not to do so.

“We've been very fortunate this semester to be able to keep school going like we have,” Duron said. “It hasn't been an ideal structure, per se—I think we all want to be back in school with kids and have a normal routine—but I am proud of the way that our team has handled it and I appreciate everyone's support as we've navigated this. With four more days to go, we’ve made it through our first semester.”

 

COVID-19 cases: 459 active, 2,924 recovered

As of Monday morning, Bastrop County reported a total of 2,765 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 and 658 probable cases, according to the county’s dashboard.

The new count of probable cases, recently added to the Texas Department of State Health Services dashboard as well as the Bastrop County dashboard, includes cases where an individual has either had a positive antigen "rapid" test, or had known exposure to someone with the virus and has symptoms of COVID-19.

So far, 2,924 people have recovered from the illness in Bastrop County, leaving 459 active cases.

At the same time last week, the county’s total number of confirmed cases was 2,204 and the total number of probable cases was 578, with 2,646 total recoveries and 497 active cases.

The dashboard reports one more COVID-19 fatality, bringing the number of deaths in Bastrop County due to the illness to 40.

According to the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) weekly update last Tuesday, the county’s two community testing sites in Bastrop and Elgin performed 530 tests between December 6 and December 14.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 across the 11-county Trauma Service Area O, which includes Bastrop and Travis counties, was at 7.82% as of last Tuesday, which is slightly higher than the previous week but still the lowest in the state, the update from OEM said.

“Please continue minimizing the spread of COVID-19 by following CDC guidelines by following the three W's: wearing masks properly, washing hands thoroughly, and watching social distancing,” last week’s post said. “Consider keeping your gatherings small and holding them outdoors or limiting them to those that live within your household.”

For more information about receiving a test at one of these county testing sites, visit www.bastropcountycovid19.org or call 512-972-5560. For local questions about COVID-19, call the Bastrop County hotline at 512-303-4300.

For the latest update, posted each Tuesday, visit @BastropCountyOEM on Facebook.

According to the City of Austin’s COVID-19 dashboard, found at www.austintexas.gov/covid19, the portion of the 78621 zip code in Travis County has reported 244 cases. Last week, this number was 238.

The City of Austin dashboard also includes information about hospitalized patients in the five-county Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), in addition to the case numbers for Austin and Travis County. The MSA includes Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson County.

As of Monday afternoon, the MSA has 316 inpatients in the region’s hospitals, with 84 patients in the intensive care units (ICU) and 47 ventilators in use.

Last week, 295 people were in the hospital as inpatients due to COVID-19, 90 patients were in the ICU and 56 ventilators were in use.

In May, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began gathering and reporting data from nursing homes about the number of confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 in residents and staff. As of Monday, data was available through the week ending on December 6 at data.cms.gov. 

Since August 2, the Elgin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has reported no new confirmed COVID-19 cases or deaths among residents, but one more staff member tested positive for COVID-19 since the previous week. A total of 36 residents and 21 staff members have been confirmed with COVID-19 over the 26 weeks of data reported so far, and six residents have died due to the virus.

In early September, Elgin ISD launched a school district dashboard of daily reported COVID-19 cases by campus, found online at www.elginisd.net/Page/6358.

Four cases of COVID-19 were reported since last Monday. This includes two people at Elgin Intermediate School, one person at Booker T. Washington Elementary School, one person at Elgin Elementary School and one person at Neidig Elementary School.

So far, 15 cases have been reported in December: one staff member at Booker T. Washington Elementary School, three students and two staff members at Elgin Elementary School, two students at Neidig Elementary School, one student and two staff members at Elgin Intermediate School, one staff member at Elgin Middle School, one student at Elgin High School or Phoenix High School, and two staff members at non-campus facilities.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, www.bop.gov/coronavirus, the federal correctional institution in Bastrop has 108 inmates and 25 staff members with active cases of COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon. Last week, 143 inmates and 22 staff members had active cases. One inmate has died of COVID-19, and 361 inmates and four staff members have recovered so far.