Officials confirm additional coronavirus cases in Williamson County

Officials have confirmed additional positive COVID-19 cases in Williamson County, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the county to 14.

The latest confirmed cases as of Monday, March 23: 

  • A female in her 20s with unknown exposure source
  • A female in her 20s with unknown exposure source
  • A female in her 30s with unknown exposure source
  • A female in her 30s with international travel history to an affected country
  • A female in her 40s with unknown exposure source

Five additional cases were announced earlier: 

  • A male in his 30s with known international travel history 
  • A female in her 30s with known international travel history 
  • A female in her 40s with exposure to an area with community spread 
  • A male in his 50s with unknown exposure history 
  • A female in her 20s with unknown exposure history

Four cases had been confirmed on March 18 but officials say that one of those cases, the exact one has not been released to the public, was transferred to Travis County's jurisdiction for monitoring.

The first four cases reported in Williamson County were:

  • Female, 40s, in self-quarantine 
  • Male, 50s, with exposure to a known case
  • Infant, close contact with separate known case 
  • Female, 40s, with known travel history to France 

Williamson County officials held a press conference on Wednesday updating the public on the latest information about the coronavirus outbreak in their county.

“We have prepared for the fact that more confirmed cases would come to Williamson County, so we are ready. We will continue our essential operations and serving the residents of Williamson County while adhering to more stringent social distancing policies. Technology is being utilized to a greater extent in order to fulfill our daily tasks under the new criteria,” said County Judge Bill Gravell. “We continue to ask everyone to follow the preventative measures and be prepared, not scared.” 

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"As testing is becoming more widely available, we expect to continue to see more cases," said Dr. Lori Palazzo, WCCHD Medical Director and Williamson County Health Authority. "Approximately 80% of individuals who test positive COVID-19, including the four cases we received today, experience mild symptoms and fully recover in a few days. The exception to this is our 65 years and older population. I can't stress strongly enough how important it is to protect this vulnerable population."  

Palazzo gave the following advice concerning COVID-19:

  • Staying home when you are sick, except to get medical care. Using telemedicine if possible
  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • When you can't wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects daily
  • Practicing social distancing - keeping a space of six feet between you and others; and avoiding any type of mass gatherings
  • Getting a flu shot. (Although the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it is flu season.)

According to Williamson County, health officials are tracing any contact that the individuals have made as well as their travel history over the past few weeks. Health officials also said that as coronavirus testing becomes more available, the county expects the number of positive cases to increase.  

"We have developed strong relationships with partners and health providers through the years," said Palazzo. "Together, we have planned, prepared, and tested our ability to respond to public health events like this, but it is critical that we all do our part to slow the spread of this virus." 

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By the direction of the Willamson County Health District and recommendations from the office of Emergency Management, Williamson County leaders have announced additional orders to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. 

According to the city, the disaster declaration put in place by Judge Gravell on March 14 will be in place until it is terminated by the Commissioners Court. 

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, Williamson County will prohibit all gatherings of groups 10 or more and will end on May 11. The order applies to every gathering from weddings to masses, and concerts. 

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Willaimson County has also closed all in-dining restaurants and is asking them to only serve take out and curbside services. Williamson County leaders have also issued all bars to close their "in-door and outdoor" bar spaces open to the public and are prohibited from serving any alcohol on their premises, effective immediately. 

Watch the full press conference below: