Guadalupe County updates regarding COVID-19 could start to come less frequently in the near future.
Guadalupe County Commissioners Court members, following a coronavirus pandemic update provided by members of the county’s emergency management office, directed the office to scale back the updates it provides to the community.
“Some people I know would want to see a daily COVID update for as long as they possibly can,” County Commissioner Kyle Kutscher said. “We continue to see a decrease in the state of Texas. ... We want to get that information out but I think it’s kind of time to transition from every day to every week. It’s just time.”
Bryce Houlton, Guadalupe County’s assistant emergency management coordinator, provided the court with updated numbers that were good as of Monday night. He said 49,683 people across Texas had reported positive tests for the virus. He said 19,065 of those cases across the state remained active and 1,347 people had died.
Across the state, 723,013 people had been tested for the novel coronavirus. Private labs examined 699,598 of those tests and 23,415 went to public labs, Houlton said.
Closer to home, Bexar County had 2,100 test positive, Comal had 70, Wilson had 37, and Guadalupe County had seen 114 positive cases, he said. Of Guadalupe’s positive cases, 20 remained active with no deaths, Houlton said Tuesday morning.
A day earlier, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced implementation of his second phase of reopening following the state’s shut down to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The governor said the reopening of the state incrementally continues because percentages of positive tests have been declining.
Abbott approved opening of businesses like child care centers, massage and personal care establishments and youth clubs on Monday. He provided that as of May 22, rodeos, bowling alleys, bingo halls and bars could open.
Bars are relegated to only using 25% of their capacity upon opening, however, outdoor areas don’t count toward the 25% level. And patrons are to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Restaurants will be allowed to reach 50% capacity in dining rooms also effective May 22, the governor said.
“Our office is out and about today to give bar owners their 50%” population numbers,” Houlton said. “If a bar has an outdoor patio or restaurant, that 25% does not count if they’re outdoors. You have to maintain your 6 feet and social distancing.”
The county is beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel and it’s getting brighter, Precinct 2 Commissioner Drew Engelke said. He said things are beginning to open up and he’s sure people are recognizing more traffic in areas of the county.
It’s attributable to residents using common sense, keeping positive attitudes and not panicking in the county,
Improving conditions mean county staff can begin to transition to devoting less time, energy and effort into regular updates of the COVID situation, Kutscher suggested. Whereas a few weeks ago, the county published numbers of coronavirus tests, positive results, recoveries and more on a daily basis, Emergency Management Coordinator Patrick Pinder recently scaled back those updates to three times a week.
Once a week is probably a better schedule now, the county judge said.
“If something major does change out of the norm, we would put out a press release,” Kutscher said.
He said to reduce the amount of focus on the updates and focus more on being a good resource for businesses and answering questions. Time making phone calls and setting up reports could be better used, Kutscher said.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Judy Cope agreed.
“Like you say, it’s time to cut back and focus more on the recovery,” she said.