As Texas set daily records for new COVID-19 cases several days this week, officials are reiterating a message of caution. 

Lampasas County Judge Randy Hoyer issued a statement Tuesday, in conjunction with a recent announcement from Dr. Georgia Hay – the county’s local health authority.

“Lampasas County residents need to be mindful that COVID-19 is still here, and precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of the virus,” Hoyer said.

He noted, as of Tuesday, the county has had 22 total confirmed cases of COVID-19. Twelve of those individuals have recovered, and 10 are still considered active, and two were hospitalized.

Hay said some information released to the public about positive cases is limited to protect the identity of those affected, but she added that no location seems to be spared from the virus.

“Lampasas County has a little over 21,000 people,” the doctor said. “Our county only spans three ZIP codes, which correlates to the three cities in our county. I will tell you that we have had cases in all three, and the new cases are about equally dispersed in all three areas/ZIP codes of the county.”

Hay and Hoyer urged residents to renew their commitment to social distancing, washing hands frequently and wearing a protective face cover when in public places.

“I typically encourage wearing a face mask,” Hay said. “We should all be doing that any time we cannot stay further than 6 feet away or are in any tight, enclosed space.

“It’s not to protect you; it’s to protect others from you in case you are shedding live virus with minimal symptoms, which happens a lot,” Hay said. “If we are wearing masks, groups are small, and there is not prolonged time exposed then we can reduce the chance of exposure, which may make the difference in being asked to quarantine or just wear a mask and monitor for symptoms.”

Hoyer said he has been asked about the upcoming Spring Ho Festival and whether it is safe to attend public events.

“Is it safe or not? I cannot answer that question for you,” the judge said. “You must make that decision individually. …We all know and understand the dangers and risks.

“Individuals will have to decide if they want to increase their exposure to the possibility of contacting COVID-19 at large public events and, if so, what precautions do they want to take,” Hoyer said.

He added that individuals at greatest risk of complications and/or death from the virus are those over the age of 60 with underlying health conditions.

“These individuals should take extra precautions, and avoid public gatherings totally,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer said area hospitals have ample beds available for COVID-19 patients, so that is not a concern at this time.

“I encourage Lampasas County citizens to be vigilant and continue following the guidelines by the CDC,” the judge said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 5,551 new cases of the disease on Wednesday. That broke the record set one day earlier, 5,489. Wednesday’s record was about 3.8 times higher than the highest daily new case count in April.

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State representative Dr. Brad Buckley, whose district includes Lampasas and Bell counties, shared the following statistics on his Facebook page.

In Trauma Service Area L – which serves Lampasas, Bell Mills, Hamilton, Coryell, and Milam counties – there were 31 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday. There are 234 available hospital beds, 13 available ICU beds, and 103 available ventilators.

Statewide, there were 4,092 people hospitalized (8.6% of active cases at the time).  14,260 hospital beds,
1,483 ICU beds and
5,781 ventilators were available.

Texas’ case data showed a 1.8% fatality rate, and Bell County’s rate was 1.3%.