COVID-19 spike continues throughout county
By Wesley Gardner
The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Caldwell County continues to rise, jumping from 494 one week ago to 725 as of Tuesday evening.
The Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management (EOC) will host a COVID press conference on Thursday, July 16 at 1 p.m. to address the growing numbers that can be viewed on the county’s Commissioners Court Live-On Demand and Facebook Live webpages.
EOC officials also said free walk-up test sites will be held on July 22 and 23 at Lockhart Junior High School, and July 24 at Luling Northside Park. No appointments or symptoms will be required to receive the tests. Officials noted testing will end when each site completes 500 tests.
Statewide, the number of COVID-19 cases pushed to 264,313 as of Tuesday, resulting in 3,235 deaths, up nearly 700 from a week ago.
The continued surge in cases comes two weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mandate requiring residents in most counties to wear masks in businesses and spaces where can’t distance themselves from others.
The seven-day positivity rate is currently 16.85 percent, an all-time high, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Abbott has previously said anything above 10 percent would be cause for concern.
During a televised interview with KVUE on Monday, Abbott touched on rising hospitalizations, which could test capacity limits in larger areas like Harris and Travis Counties, announcing the U.S. Department of Defense is sending Army medical task forces to Texas.
“We’re seeing more people hospitalized,” Abbott said. “In fact, for an entire month, there were more people hospitalized each day until today, where it was the first decline in over a month. But because of the increase in hospitalizations, there is more need for staffing of hospital beds. There remain adequate hospital beds as well as ICU beds, however, we need staff for those beds. And so, in certain regions of the state that are burdened the most, there are these medical teams that are coming in to provide the staffing needed to treat anybody who has COVID-19.”
Abbott also addressed concerns that some teachers and school faculty members have about whether the Texas Education Agency (TEA) is doing enough to keep themselves and students safe in the coming school year.
“TEA Commissioner Mike Morath is focused on protecting the safety of students, teachers and parents, and he’s working on that every single day,” Abbott said. “For teachers, for parents, there is built-in flexibility at the school board level that empowers the school board to make decisions about when will the school year begin? How will it begin? Will it begin with students in seats in classrooms or will it begin online? As well as other strategies in place, to make sure that the best safety practices will be able to be adopted at the local independent school district level.”