SAN ANGELO, TX – San Angelo and Tom Green County Health officials Wednesday evening clarified some of the chances which will occur if the region continues to see a hospitalization rate over 15%. The region reached that threshold Tuesday, Nov. 17 and the new restrictions would automatically go into effect Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.
The following is a list of frequently asked questions city officials have clarified.
What is the difference between the COVID-19 positivity rate and the COVID-19 hospitalization rate?
The positivity rate is the percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed that are actually positive. A higher percent positive suggests higher transmission and that there are likely more people with COVID-19 in the community who haven’t been tested yet. The COVID-19 hospitalization rate is the percentage of COVID-19 patients who are in the hospital vs. the total hospital capacity.
What happens to Tom Green County when our COVID-19 hospitalizations reach or exceed 15% of total hospital capacity?
Whenever the percentage of COVID-19-hospitalized patients to total hospital capacity exceeds 15% on a rolling seven-day average (according to DSHS), some businesses would be required to close and/or occupancies would be reduced. Total hospital capacity is the number of staffed available and occupied beds. This includes pediatric and adult hospital patients, general and ICU beds, inpatient and outpatient beds, emergency department beds, and telemetry and psychiatric beds.
We are in TSA Region K. Our region crossed the 15% threshold on Tuesday, Nov. 17.
If our region continues to maintain or exceed the 15% threshold, the changes that follow will be implemented by the state and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). The TABC will require bars that were opened per executive order (EO) 32 to close and businesses with occupancy rates that were increased to 75% will be reduced back to 50%. The occupancy reduction will primarily impact restaurants, libraries, event centers and other businesses not listed under the CISA guidance or covered by other exemptions contained in EO 32.
TSA K would remain under these restrictions until our rolling seven-day average of hospitalized COVID-19 confirmed patients is lower than 15%.
For more information, visit the link and click on the "Hospitals Regional" tab.
Who has authority when it comes to restrictions or closures in Tom Green County?
The county judge is in charge of COVID-19 restrictions in Tom Green County. This role is currently limited by the governor’s executive orders. The county judge and mayor do not have the authority to close businesses. The local health authority supersedes all authority in the county except for the governor. The local health authority can cancel events and close businesses.
What role does the mayor and city government play?
The mayor and city government oversee City venues and enforcement of the governor’s mask mandate. Outside of that, the authority lies with the county judge and local health authority.
Is the city/county going to shut the city down?
Under the governor’s current executive orders, a shutdown is not allowed unless it is enacted by the governor.
Will schools be closing?
A top priority among community leaders is to keep schools open to educate our children and keep our citizens working. San Angelo ISD continues to monitor the health and wellness of students and staff and has placed enhanced safety protocols to support our schools.