ROUND ROCK, Texas - As more cases of COVID-19 are reported in Williamson County, local businesses and governments are working together in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. The total number of cases sits at 34 as of Friday for Williamson County.
“We’ve prepared for tornadoes, we’ve prepared for mass shootings, we’ve prepared for flooding but we don’t have a book on the shelf about pandemics,” said County Judge Bill Gravell.
FOX 7 Austin spoke with Gravell over FaceTime and about the difficulties as a county in fighting this virus.
“When you’re fighting a battle countywide on an enemy that you can’t see it’s complicated but I’m impressed with what our leadership has done and I’m impressed with our local mayors and city leaders,” said Gravell, who said the entire area seems to be coming together during this time.
One of the first issues the county ran into was running out of sanitizer. To fix this, Red Horn Coffee and Brewing Company and Fire Oak Distillery helped make buckets of sanitizer. The county is then using closed county buildings like tax offices to bottle the sanitizer and create sanitation wipes, which are then sent to areas that need them.
“We needed a team to assemble those and put those together and some of the members at the tax office created the team,” said Gravell.
School districts are helping to ease the burden on county workers like lending mechanics. “Georgetown Independent School District is opening their facilities to serve and maintain our emergency vehicles so our guys can have a weekend off,” said Gravell.
The county has also created a Small Business Task Force to work with local business owners who are impacted. “This disaster affects the entire county, it’s brother relying on brother, neighbor relying on neighbor,” said Gravell.
Gravell said everyone is in it together when it comes to fighting COVID-19. He has a message for those who are wondering when things will go back to how they were. “This is a marathon and it’s 26 miles long and as county judge, we are probably at mile two or three so you need to take a deep breath you need to relax you need to care for your neighbor,” said Gravell.
While Williamson County is reporting more cases every day, there have also been six recoveries. The county has also opened up a call center for those who have COVID-19 questions. Those with questions can call 512-943-1600.
On March 19, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a public health disaster, the first in Texas since 1901. The executive orders, which took effect at midnight Friday, March 20 and goes through midnight on Friday, April 3, bring the state in line with CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The public health disaster orders schools to be closed statewide until at least April 3. The disaster also orders a ban on dine-in eating and gathering in groups of more than 10 as the state ramps up efforts to battle the coronavirus. Abbott's order also will shut down gyms and bars. It also bans visits to nursing and retirement homes unless there is a critical need.
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 1 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.