Rising COVID-19 Hospitalizations Expected to Trigger
Capacity Limit Rollbacks under Governor’s Orders
(Hays County Press Release)
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – New restrictions are set to take effect in Hays County as soon as Monday (1-11-21) following seven consecutive days of rising COVID-19 hospitalizations. As outlined in Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders GA-31and GA-32, bars must close, elective surgeries may need to be rescheduled, and many businesses must reduce their occupancy to 50 percent. 𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐬 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐬 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐲, 𝐉𝐚𝐧. 𝟏𝟏, 𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐚.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈𝐬 𝐄𝐱𝐞𝐜𝐮𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐎𝐫𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐆𝐀-𝟑𝟐?
Governor Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32, which went into effect on October 14, 2020, states that when a Texas Trauma Service Area (TSA) has a high hospitalization rate, any business establishment that was operating at 75 percent occupancy limit must rollback to a 50 percent occupancy limit.
Hays County is in TSA Region O, which also includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, San Saba, Travis, and Williamson counties. Region O has experienced a steady increase in people hospitalized due to the COVID-19 virus.
“A high hospitalization rate is defined in the Order as seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of the total hospital capacity exceeds 15 percent,” said Hays County Health Department Director Tammy Crumley.
Region O’s hospitalization rate surpassed 15 percent on Sunday, January 3, 2021, and has increased since then. A rollback has not yet been mandated but is anticipated due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Hays County will further notify residents if the Texas Department of State Health Services issues a determination letter stating the region has become an area of high hospitalizations.
How does this impact local businesses?
· Bars - Bars that are not operating as a restaurant under Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) rules must close. However, those businesses may continue to offer drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drinks to the extent authorized by TABC.
· Other businesses - Any business establishment that otherwise would have a 75% occupancy limit must operate at up to only 50%. This applies to retail establishments, restaurants, bars that are operating as restaurants, office buildings, manufacturers, museums, libraries, gyms, and fitness facilities and classes.
· Surgeries - Elective surgeries, as defined in State Executive Order GA-31, must reschedule unless they “would not deplete any hospital capacity needed to cope with the COVID-19 disaster.”
The following activities/services are not impacted by these occupancy changes:
· Religious services
· Local government operations
· Childcare services
· Public or private schools
· Youth camps
· Adult or youth recreational sports
· Drive-in movies, concerts and similar events
· Person care/beauty establishments with at least six feet of social distancing between workstations (see full list in Executive Order GA-32
· Service listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its
Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce
The Governor’s State Executive Order GA-32 to reopen bars and increase occupancy limits, contained an important exception. If COVID-19 hospitalizations reached certain levels in trauma service areas (TSAs), restrictions in those areas would increase again.
Restrictions are triggered when a local TSA has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients exceeds 15% of total hospital capacity. Buda is located in TSA O, which encompasses Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, San Saba, Travis, and Williamson counties.
View the Texas Trauma Service Area map
How long will these additional restrictions last?
These additional restrictions will remain in place until Trauma Service Area O has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID hospitalized patients is 15% or less.
· COVID-19 Hotline - Hays County residents can call a hotline for answers to their non-emergency COVID-19 questions. Operators are available in English and Spanish. The hotline number is 512-393-5525. This hotline is for answers to health questions about COVID-19 - safety practices, symptoms, quarantining, testing, etc.
· COVID-19 Information for Hays County Residents - Please visit the Hays County Website COVID-19 page for additional information on resources/information.
· Texas Department of State Health Services - Information on Executive Order GA-32 and its impact on local counites.
· Texas DSHS Hospitalization Dashboard - The “Hospitals - Regional” tab shows daily hospitalization data for Texas Trauma Service Areas (TSAs). Buda is located in in TSA O.
· Executive Order GA-31
Executive Order GA-32