Before Guadalupe County recorded its first official case of COVID-19, the new disease spreading around the world was making its appearance known.
In the months following, county residents would see case after case, hospitalizations rise and fall, businesses closed and eventually vaccinations.
In early March, Guadalupe County officials began encouraging residents to take precautions, social distance and frequently wash hands.
Events were postponed and rescheduled, schools began extending their Spring Breaks by a week, with Alamo Community Colleges making the first move.
At the same time, nursing homes closed their doors to visitors and hospitals started to reduce visitors.
On March 19, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order shutting down schools, restaurants and bars.
On the following day, Guadalupe County reported its first confirmed coronavirus case. Almost three months later, county officials reported the first COVID-19 death on June 18.
As of Tuesday, Dec. 29, Guadalupe County reported a total of 6,897 confirmed COVID-19 cases — 5,543 recoveries, 1,013 probable recovered, 163 confirmed active, 130 probable active — and 48 deaths.
The Texas Department of State Health Services COVID-19 dashboard showed Guadalupe County had 102 deaths — many of which are being investigated to confirm whether they are COVID-related deaths. Guadalupe Regional Medical Center has reported to county officials that 42 county residents died in the local hospital due to the coronavirus.
The Tuesday update from DSHS showed Guadalupe County had a total of 6,866 confirmed cases, 47 deaths, 6,535 recoveries, 284 active cases, 625 probable cases, 1,099 pending investigation.
Just days before Christmas, Guadalupe Regional Medical Center received 800 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine and begin vaccinating healthcare workers and first responders.
Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher signed a 30-day “Stay at Home” order to help contain the spread of the virus starting April 3.
The action ordered county residents to stay at home unless conducting essential business or performing essential activities, which were described in the order.
All businesses except essential businesses were required close. Some businesses were allowed to reopen a couple of weeks later at limited capacities, while others such as bars and saloons were not allowed.
In the meantime, businesses adapted and evolved in attempts to survive. Some changed their serving methods to drive-thru and curbside options. Restaurants began offering family meals and began delivery services. Some businesses like JJ’s Cafe didn’t survive the economic downturn, while new businesses such as Milly’s Ritas To Go opened up shop.
Bars like 1916 Bar and Bistro shifted gears and changed their licensing through the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to serve food.
As the region is currently seeing a recent uptick in cases, the state has enacted new restrictions from the governor’s order GA-32, which reduces capacities at businesses to 50% and closes bars again.
Grocery store shelves ran bare, including ones in the toilet paper aisles, as more people were forced to stay home.
While local officials had already encouraged the wearing of masks in local businesses, Abbott signed a mandate requiring Texans to cover their faces in efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 on July 3.
The stay at home orders along with mandates on the state and national levels saw many area residents out of work and struggling to survive.
Unemployment numbers reached high levels in Guadalupe County and across the country, but things have shifted back down to an almost normal level as residents headed back to work.
The country also saw a pair of stimulus packages to help boost the economy during this year to lend an economic hand.
The Texas National Guard was called to active duty to help run food distributions and testing sites.
With a large number of cases in the west end of the county, the first mobile testing site popped up in Schertz. More than 400 people drove through to get a free test.
School districts across the county found themselves in a predicament of educating students as campus doors closed. With area schools two months shy of finishing out the year, educators and students had to make the shift from in-classroom instruction to remote learning. And while there were a few hiccups, the transition went fairly smooth.
Spring sporting events were canceled and some fall competitions were postponed until a later start or overall sidelined.
Much like students, governing bodies also had to make the switch from in-person to virtual meetings. Guadalupe County and the city of Seguin continue to offer live virtual viewings and in-person attendance, school boards have reverted back to in-person meetings.
The appearance of the virus prompted city officials to cancel both the Fourth of July parade and fireworks show and later the Holiday Stroll Parade.
Events like the Guadalupe County Fair and the smaller fundraising activities that local organizations need to thrive and continue their mission were also postponed or canceled in an abundance of caution.