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New COVID-19 testing site opens in Elgin

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  • Article Image Alt Text
    This graph shows the daily number of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of July. Image courtesy of Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management
  • Article Image Alt Text
    As of Friday afternoon, 1,421 cases have been reported in Bastrop County. View the dashboard at www.co.bastrop.tx.us/page/em.coronavirus.

Bastrop County opened a second community testing site for COVID-19 last week at the Ascension Seton Elgin Health Center, providing free tests to county residents who qualify.

The county is still operating its first community testing site at Mayfield Park in Bastrop; those who register for a test can choose which location they prefer, according to a press release from the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management (OEM).

“We are excited to have this second location in operation to serve the Bastrop County citizens located on the north side of our county,” said OEM deputy director Christine Files in the press release. “This area has been an area of concern. We hope our citizens will find this site easy to utilize.”

The Elgin location will be open for appointments Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., while the Bastrop location continues to be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments are required before arriving at either testing location; registration is available at www. bastropcountycovid19. org or by calling 512- 972-5560. Results are usually available within 48 to 72 hours; during her update to the Bastrop County Commissioners Court on Monday, Files told the court that Bastrop County has begun working with a new laboratory, so most test results come back within 48 hours.

The registration process includes a series of questions to determine if a person qualifies, such as address, working situation, travel history, pre-existing conditions, possible exposure and current symptoms. Those who do not qualify can reach out to their doctor or a local urgent care center or call the county’s COVID-19 hotline at 512-303-4300.

Last week, the two community testing sites completed a total of 195 tests, according to the OEM’s weekly report published on Friday evening. Since July 7, the testing sites have tested and returned results on 1,632 individuals with 215 positive cases as of Friday, resulting in a positivity rate of 13.17%.

Recoveries reach 1,000 in Bastrop County

As of Monday evening, Bastrop County has confirmed a total of 1,365 positive cases of COVID-19, according to the county’s dashboard.

So far, 1,065 people have recovered from the illness in Bastrop County, leaving 277 active cases.

At the same time last week, the county’s total number of cases was 1,296, with 879 recoveries.

During the Bastrop County Commissioners Court meeting on Monday, Files gave the commissioners a general update on the county’s response to COVID-19.

“Over these last two weeks, we have seen a slowing down of new cases, with only 61 cases being reported this last week,” she said. “While that may sound like a lot, it’s a big, big improvement over the prior twoweek period, when our cases nearly doubled.”

Files also encouraged everyone to wear face masks and emphasized the importance of spreading that message.

“Masks and physical distancing, as you can see by the slowdown in numbers, really have proven effective in reducing the spread of this virus, and they really are the only way we’re going to continue to keep Texas open and our economy moving forward,” she said.

As of Monday afternoon, the DSHS dashboard shows a total of 21 fatalities in Bastrop County, four more than the number shown on Bastrop County’s dashboard. However, Bastrop County officials have not yet been able to confirm any new fatalities with a Bastrop County address and are working on verifying that these people were county residents before adding them to the dashboard, the OEM said in its weekly update on Friday evening.

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 175 cases.

Austin’s 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 278 inpatients in the region’s hospitals, with 98 patients in the intensive care units (ICU) and 77 ventilators in use.

Last week, 307 people were in the hospital as inpatients due to COVID-19, 119 patients were in the ICU and 81 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 July 26 at data. cms.gov.

At that time, Elgin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has not reported any additional COVID-19 cases or COVID-19-related deaths among residents, but one additional staff member has tested positive for the virus. A total of 36 residents and 17 staff members have been confirmed with COVID-19 over the ten weeks of data reported so far, and six residents have died due to the virus.

On Monday, Files told the commissioners court that the county is continuing to work not only with schools as they look for the safest way to reopen, but with local nursing homes as well to start allowing some in-person visits in accordance with new federal guidelines.