Bell County Judge David Blackburn is encouraging everyone to continue to be vigilant in the battle against COVID-19. He issued the following statement during the Monday, November 16, 2020, Commissioners Court meeting.
November 16, 2020
Bell County Judge David Blackburn Statement in re COVID19 in Bell County:
On October 8, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-32 to reopen certain venues to 75% capacity and allow resumption of elective surgeries in certain counties. Counties that reside in Trauma Service Areas (TSAs) with high COVID-19 hospitalizations are excluded from these reopening’s. Per the GA-32, areas with high hospitalizations means any Trauma Service Area that has had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity exceeds 15 percent, until such time as the Trauma Service Area has seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity is 15 percent or less.
A county within a TSA that has high hospitalizations may still reopen up to 75% if the county meets attestation parameters established under GA-32.
According to State DSHS COVID dashboard for yesterday, Trauma Service Area L (which is comprised of 6 counties , Bell, Coryell, Hamilton, Lampasas, Milam, Mills) there was a total of 1,282 staffed hospital beds and 310 of those were currently available…meaning we are at about 76% capacity.
Under the Governor’s Order relating to reserving hospital bed capacity, this means that , for the region, we are at about 91% of capacity relative to the Governor’s threshold for hospital bed capacity.
Discussions with our 3 area hospital system administrators also indicate that our local hospital capacity, while being managed, is seeing signs of stress as it relates to bed capacity and COVID. BSW currently has 46 COVID patients, the highest census of COVID patients since mid-August. While BSW is below the Governor’s 15% threshold number requiring elective surgeries to cease, I am advised that they are currently not scheduling any new elective surgical cases that require a hospital bed for the first part of this week.
Seton and Advent are also experiencing much the same as BSW as relates to hospital capacity and COVID patients and are making adjustments to better manage hospital bed capacity in order to stay below the Governor’s 15% threshold.
I share all this to simply say that we need to heed the advice and counsel of our health authorities and continue to be vigilant in our COVID health protocols. Maintaining social distancing, wearing our face coverings when we are out and about and can’t maintain social distancing, and washing our hands frequently remain our best line of defense against COVID.
These health protocols are also our best line of defense against a return to more stringent health, economic and business measures. I don’t think any of us want a return to some of the measures we saw in the Spring of this year … measures that we are seeing re-imposed in other parts of the country as we speak.
As we gather for the upcoming holidays with friends and family, please be careful and safe…for your own good, and for the good of those friends and family that are with you.
Bell County Judge
The McLennan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Temple Chamber of Commerce, and Extraco Banks will present a virtual training on December 3, 2020, at 11:00 am about the legal structuring of social enterprises.
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The COVID-19 outbreak has taken a toll on our families, friends, and neighbors. It has resulted in difficult times for many of our local businesses, which are vital and unique to our community. Early on in the pandemic, some industries were mandated to close temporarily, others had to scale back, and many have changed their operations completely.
As we enter the holiday season, and potentially another wave of COVID-19 cases, we must continue to support the local businesses who create the fabric and character of our community. It is easy to rely on online shopping in a time like this, but we have to think of the long-term consequences of a quick online checkout.
According to the Small Business Economic Impact Study, consumers’ local impact during the holiday shopping season is significant because an average of $0.67 of every dollar spent at local businesses stays in the local community.
Looking at that bigger picture, think how those dollars spent in the greater Temple area make our community a little better. The local businesses where you shop, dine, or play, employ our family, friends, and neighbors. They pay taxes, which help to provide essential services like police, fire and rescue, infrastructure improvements, schools, and parks. Local businesses also support various local clubs, teams, and events.
This holiday shopping season, we encourage you to shop and buy local with Temple Chamber Members. Be sure to check out our Temple Chamber Member directory at web.templechamber.com/allcategories.
When visiting local establishments, be sure to wear a face-covering and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Plus, here are a few other ways to safely support local business:
Local business owners are our family members, friends, and neighbors; they are our community, and they need our support now more than ever before.