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    Hays County Historical Courthouse. Century News file photo.

County emergency management reports excess of coronavirus tests

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The county reported that no one has been turned away after completing the five question screening process.

The Hays County Emergency Management team reported an excess of COVID-19 tests with 1,077 tests remaining in the hands of the public health department during the county's weekly commissioners court meeting Tuesday, May 12.

The county reported that no one has been turned away after completing the five question screening process. They expect to see results from the 96 tests facilitated by the National Guard in Dripping Springs and Wimberley by Wednesday. Baylor Scott and White will begin testing in Buda to address concerns from local officials that Buda did not have enough testing options. Emergency Management Coordinator Alex Villalobos reported that there is enough personal protective equipment available now, but is cautious that once infection rates increase again, the supply may become stressed. The county continues to look for supplies of PPE and plexiglass for reopening county facilities.

County Judge Ruben Becerra is still following the orders from Gov. Greg Abbott closely. The court accepted an additional $154,794 from the Department of State Health Services for the FY2020 COVID-19 Crisis CoAg Grant. The additional funding brings the grant total to $305,633 to be spent on temporary personnel, sanitation equipment, PPE supplies and other expenses related to COVID-19 recovery and response.

The county also approved the purchase of an Advance Ozogation/Hydroxyl Misting System to sanitize county buildings.

Hays County is looking into other ways to adapt their offices to offer services to residents while preventing the spread of COVID-19 like a kiosk system. The potential kiosk would integrate existing automated check in services

from the Tax Office and the County Clerk’s Office to all county offices. Residents would be able to check in with a kiosk for the office they need to visit and return to wait in their car instead of a crowded waiting area. The resident would receive a text notification when the office is ready to see them.

As the Census 2020 efforts shift to more digital outreach, the commissioners approved $4,000 provided by the United Way of Greater Austin to film a "Count Me Now" PSA to be distributed on social media, streaming channels and other venues as they are secured.

In other business, the commissioners court ratified the renewal grant application to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC) for the Indigent Defense Coordinator project, which funds the position of the Indigent Defense Coordinator. The grant application is for $77,292 and the county will match at 33% for $25,761.

The Indigent Defense Coordinator assists with the county’s appointment process and provides documentation that the court is in compliance with the Fair Defense Act. They also reduce administrative time that judges devote to indigent defense activities and can enhance processes for nondiscriminatory appointment practices.

They also authorized the revised grant award from the TIDC for $6,105 totaling $67,446.

In other news, the com- missioners declared May 6-12 as National Nurses Week, May 10-16 as Police Week and May 15, 2020 as Peace Officers Memorial Day.

The regularly held memorial service had to be canceled due to COVID-19. The Sheriff's Office encourages all citizens of Hays County to visit www.nleonf. org to watch the virtual candlelight vigil May 13 at 7 p.m. The names of all officers being added to the memorial will be read aloud.

Commissioner Walt Smith spoke to the importance of honoring police officers during this time, “It’s a celebration for officers and families, to let those people who have lost someone know they are not alone and that 20 years from now someone is going remember their family member just like we are doing today. Police week is the time to remember them when they are not thought about all year.”

Twitter: @StephJGates

Dripping Springs Century-News

P.O. Box 732
Dripping Springs, Texas 78620

Phone: (512) 858-4163
Fax: (512) 847-9054