Caldwell County coronavirus case spike continues
By Wesley Gardner
The number of cases of COVID-19 in Caldwell County has continued to spike since the end last week, rising from 204 on Friday to 286 by Tuesday evening.
The local spike is a reflection of rising case counts statewide. Over the last five days, the state has averaged more than 3,500 new cases, in addition to an average of 3,200 new hospitalizations per day over the same time frame.
On Tuesday, the number of cases statewide had risen to 114,881, resulting in 2,192 fatalities, according to the Texas Department of Health Services.
Though that number didn’t include new positive tests from Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said to expect more than 5,000 new cases, surpassing the previous high of 4,430 on Saturday.
For weeks, Abbott has pointed to the positivity rate, or percentage of those who are tested that receive positive results, as a means of backing the reopening the Texas economy, though his tone had shifted during a Monday afternoon press conference. As
“To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas, and it must be corralled,” said Abbott, noting the seven-day positivity rate had jumped from an average of 6 percent to 8.8 percent on Monday. “We want to make sure everyone reinforces the best safe practices of wearing a mask, hand sanitation, maintaining safe distance, but importantly, because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home unless you need to go out.
“The safest place for you is at your home.”
Abbott said on Monday that he would only consider closing down the economy again as a last resort, though he conceded he may slow down the openings of businesses if the spread didn’t slow down.
Nearby, Travis County and Austin-area cases also spiked over the weekend, jumping to 6,210 on Monday, compared to the 4,991 reported Friday.
On Tuesday Lockhart Mayor Lew White amended the city’s local disaster declaration, mandating all businesses in the city to require the use of face coverings for both their employees and customers.
“The CDC and the Texas Department of State Hospital Services have each indicated that facial coverings, when combined with proper physical distancing and hand washing, are key to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said White. “It is important that we do what we can to help protect the most vulnerable people in our community.”
The mandate will go into effect at 11:59 June 25.