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COVID-19

Williamson County Moves Up To Red Phase, Signaling 'Uncontrolled Community Spread' Of COVID-19

Williamson County courthouse
Michael Minasi
/
KUT

Williamson County moved up to the highest phase of its COVID-19 risk levels on Monday.

The Red Phase indicates there is uncontrolled community spread in the area. Changing phases does not mean a change to local rules, but it does signal a change in local officials’ recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.

Because of the rapid rise in new cases, the Williamson County and Cities Health District is now recommending people — regardless of vaccination status — wear a mask in public, keep 6 feet apart from people they don’t live with and avoid crowds. And no matter their vaccination status or the county’s COVID phase, people should follow requirements set by local businesses, venues and schools, WCCHD says.

The county’s average rate of new infections is 14.54 per 100,000 people. The rate has more than doubled in the last week, according to a press release from WCCHD. It has increased 6.5 times since the end of June. The age ranges with the most cases are 18 to 30 and 31 to 50.

Williamson County moved up to the Orange Phase, which signals “high community spread,” last Monday. The health district's lead epidemiologist Allison Stewart told KUT at the time there was not a definitive reason for the surge in cases, but that the majority of those cases — over 97% — were people who were not vaccinated.

Before that, the county had been in the Yellow Phase, or “moderate community spread,” since the end of May.

Officials say the most effective way to avoid getting COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. About 60% of Williamson County residents who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine (those age 12 or older) have been fully vaccinated, according to state data.

Low vaccination rates and the highly contagious delta variant have public health experts concerned about the possibility of another COVID-19 wave in Texas. Over the weekend, the state’s positivity rate — the number of tests administered that come back positive — rose above 10%, a percentage it hasn’t reached since winter.

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