Last week, Bastrop County conducted a study to see how prevalent mask-wearing is at heavily-trafficked spots throughout the county.
During the study, nine locations throughout the county, both within Bastrop County’s three cities and out in the county, were selected, and people were watched to see if they were complying with the mask mandate as they went around or visited businesses.
“We did it because we wanted to monitor and evaluate whether or not that particular non-pharmaceutical intervention—i.e. mask wearing—was being done, and see if it correlated indirectly with the fact that we were seeing some lower numbers of cases right now,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Bastrop County’s local health authority.
The study found that 94.6% of people were wearing masks as of September 17, Walkes said.
“That was a good finding, we thought, for compliance with mask-wearing,” she said. “Our number of cases has been low in the last couple of weeks, and we're hoping that that continues as we continue to open and increase capacities in businesses.”
Walkes added they will continue to study mask-wearing in Bastrop County periodically.
Wearing masks while out in public is helping to decrease the spread of COVID-19 because the virus is spread through airborne particles, Walkes said.
“It's one of the ways that we're hoping to keep the spread down until we have a vaccine available, and until we have a way of treating this virus,” she said. “We're hoping to encourage people to keep wearing masks and keep doing a good job.”
COVID-19 cases: 183 active, 1,578 recovered
As of Monday afternoon, Bastrop County has confirmed a total of 1,789 positive cases of COVID-19, according to the county’s dashboard.
So far, 1,578 people have recovered from the illness in Bastrop County, leaving 183 active cases.
At the same time last week, the county’s total number of cases was 1,691, with 1,515 recoveries and 148 active cases.
A total of 28 Bastrop County residents have died due to COVID-19.
According to the Bastrop County Office of Emergency Management’s weekly update last Tuesday, the county’s two community testing sites in Bastrop and Elgin performed 113 between September 8 and September 14. The positivity rate for tests conducted at these sites was 4.35% last week. Testing is now done by oral and nasal swabs. For more information about receiving a test at one of these county testing sites, visit www.bastropcountycovid19.org or call 512-972-5560.
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 203 cases.
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 79 inpatients in the region’s hospitals, with 26 patients in the intensive care units (ICU) and 15 ventilators in use.
Last week, 90 people were in the hospital as inpatients due to COVID-19, 37 patients were in the ICU and 23 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 September 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 or staff members; however, one staff member was suspected of having COVID-19 in the September 6 report. A total of 36 residents and 17 staff members have been confirmed with COVID-19 over the 16 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. On September 16, one staff member at Elgin High School, Phoenix High School or Early College High School tested positive for COVID-19. This is the second case at Elgin ISD in September; previously, one case in a staff member at Elgin Elementary School was reported on September 2.