Williamson County enters "red phase" of COVID-19 guidelines

WILLIAMSON COUNTY (Talk1370.com) -- Williamson County officials are moving to the "Red Phase" of the county's COVID-19 risk guidelines.

County Judge Bill Gravell made the announcement Thursday.

"The increasing transmission rate and movement into the WCCHD red phase is a great opportunity to remind people during this Thanksgiving season to wear a mask, wash hands frequently, and keep six feet of distance from others not in your household," Gravell said in a statement. "While the number of cases has increased, other indicators, such as the hospitalization rate for our region, are below Governor Abbott’s threshold for adopting more stringent guidelines under Executive Order GA-32. Personal protective measures are the best way to keep ourselves and those we care about safe."

The highest of the county's four risk stages, the move indicates Williamson County is in a period of "uncontrolled community spread" with an increase in cases and hospitalizations over the past seven days.

Under the guidelines, residents should stay home, avoid gatherings, and continue to practice good health habits of wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance, and thoroughly washing hands.

As of Thursday evening, Williamson County had an estimated 436 active cases of COVID-19, with more than 11,300 infections since the pandemic began.

"It is imperative at this time that we have an all-hands-on-deck approach to strictly enforce any mitigation measures permitted under Governor Abbott’s Orders, including capacity limitations, mask and distancing enforcement, and isolation/quarantine procedures," said Dr. Lori Palazzo, Williamson County Health Authority and WCCHD Medical Director. "It will take all of us collectively to slow transmission enough to prevent our healthcare capacity from being exceeded. The threat has never been greater. Immediate action has never been more necessary."