County enters day 10 of high hospitalizations


There were 73 new COVID-19 cases reported in Gonzales County from Wednesday, Dec. 23 to Wednesday, Dec. 30, bringing the total of active cases to 75. In total, there have been 1,626 confirmed cases, according to daily updates from County Judge Patrick C. Davis. Of these, 1,526 are considered recovered with 10 deaths reported.

Department of State Health Services Data also shows that hospitalizations of lab-confirmed COVID-19 in Trauma Service Area P, which Gonzales County is included in, in proportion to the total hospital capacity is 17.46% as of Wednesday, Dec. 30. A week before, Wednesday, Dec. 23, it was 16.23%.

The executive order from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, GA-32, which allows bars to remain open at 50% operation capacity, and other businesses at 75% operation capacity states that hospitalizations must be below 15% capacity to do so. If hospitalizations exceed 15% for seven consecutive days, counties within that TSA will have to reduce operations, according to the order. TSA P no longer meets the requirements for opening under the order as described, having maintained hospitalizations above 15% capacity for 10 days as of Thursday, Dec. 30.

However, county officials have not issued any new guidance regarding the order as of that date. When the order went into effect Oct. 14, Judge Davis stated that the county had authorized the opening of bars as long as they complied with the order, which includes the provision for closing.

Under this order, businesses which were operating at a maximum of 75% capacity are now limited to 50%. Bars and other establishments which make more than 51% of gross receipts from the sale of alcohol may no longer offer on-premises services, the order states.

Some counties in high hospitalization areas are allowed to continue to operate under the orders for 75% capacity, if they meet specific case count criteria such as reporting fewer than 30 cases in the most recent 14-day period. A complete list of counties which have qualified under these parameters and submitted an attestation is available on the DSHS resource website regarding GA-32. Gonzales is not one of them.

No new cases have been reported by local school districts on their websites, as Gonzales Independent School District, Waelder Independent School District and Nixon-Smiley Independent School District are on winter break. Students are expected to return to campuses for in-person learning Jan. 4 in NSCISD, Jan. 5 in GISD, and Jan. 11 in WISD.