COVID rates dropping; school lifts mask requirements￼
By Kyle Mooty
Lockhart Mayor Lew White said citizens are remaining vigilant regarding COVID-19, despite a drop in the state’s confirmed cases. “People are wearing masks going into large stores and places like that,” White said during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
The Texas Department of State Health Services warns that while COVID cases and hospitalizations are declining, fatalities are on the rise, which is similar at the end of its other “surges.”
The Centers for Disease Control is expected, possibly this week, to loosen it indoor masking guidance as cases continue to drop. The CDC was looking at statistics while considering relaxing the pandemic guidance.
Local municipalities, according to the CDC, could “relax” COVID restrictions based on factors, such as ICU bed capacity. CDC Director Susan Walensky said a key stat in her organization’s determination were hospitalization
levels. Walensky did warn that if those statistics rose again, she wanted people to have the ability to “reach for them
Among the reason for the overall decline are the drop in Omicron cases. The CDC is urging states with a high number of confirmed COVID cases to continue its mask mandates. Since 2020, there have been 11,846 confirmed cases in Caldwell County.
Texas is averaging 22 fatalities per day due to COVID-19 and currently there are 6,914 hospitalizations statewide. Austin Public Health noted that those who were fully vaccinated had lower death rates.
As of Feb. 22, Lockhart ISD listed only four active cases of COVID, one student at Lockhart High School, one at Navarro Elementary School and two LISD employees. The school district includes 6,191 students and 961 employees.
Lockhart ISD said masks are optional after a requirement was lifted last week due to low numbers within the district and Caldwell County.
On Feb. 15, Lockhart ISD Superintendent Mark Estrada penned a letter to parents and staff members saying that the universal masking was no longer mandatory, but anyone wishing to continue wearing them were encouraged to do so. Estrada noted that Caldwell County’s confirmed cases had dropped 25 percent.
Lockhart ISD hosts a Curative COVID-19 PCR test site Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Adams Gym (419 Bois D’Arc Street). The tests are free. No insurance or ID is needed. Appointments can be schedule online at https://curative.com/sites/33047 (walk-ins are currently not being accepted.