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'We're Starting To See Another Wave Come Through Here,' Hays County Epidemiologist Warns

SAN MARCOS, TX. March 15, 2020. Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider speaks during a joint press conference at the Hays County Courthouse declaring a state of disaster. Michael Minasi/KUT
SAN MARCOS, TX. March 15, 2020. Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider speaks during a joint press conference at the Hays County Courthouse declaring a state of disaster. Michael Minasi/KUT

Lee esta historia en español.

Active COVID-19 cases in Hays County are on the rise, according to epidemiologist Eric Schneider. At the start of the month, the county was recording around 10 to 15 new cases per day. Now, it's tracking about 50 a day.

Schneider said he expected the uptick after Halloween parties and trick-or-treating. But what's especially troubling to him is how this mimics trends from earlier in the year, when active cases reached an all-time high of 150 to 180 new cases a day after three back-to-back holidays.

“It's definitely concerning that it's the same kind of scenario or starting to climb after the first holiday of Halloween, and then Thanksgiving is coming and then Christmas is right around the corner after that,” Schneider said.

Back in May, the county was averaging about 30 cases per day. After Memorial Day, Father's Day and the Fourth of July, cases skyrocketed.

“What we want people to understand and realize is that we're not over with this thing. We're still in the middle of a pandemic,” Schneider said. “And obviously, we're starting to see another wave come through here.”

Schneider said he knows a lot of people are getting “COVID fatigue” and are tired of hearing the “same old story.”

“But it's true," he said. "[The virus is] still out there."

With the holidays approaching, Schneider is discouraging people from taking unnecessary trips.

“I know nobody wants to spend the holidays doing virtual visits with their relatives, but that is the best way to prevent it from being able to be spread around to other people,” he said.

The county is also keeping an eye on hospitalization rates and active cases in school districts. Right now, hospitals aren't being overwhelmed with COVID patients and can keep up, Schneider said.

“We want the public to remain vigilant,” he said. “There's still community spreading going on and our cases are rising and it's not going to go down anytime soon. … We can get through this together, but … it's not over yet.”

Got a tip? Email Riane Roldan at rroldan@kut.org. Follow her on Twitter @RianeRoldan.

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