Daily Record infographic by Colton Ashabranner
While COVID-19 cases decrease, county epidemiologist continues to stress vigilance
Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider stressed the importance of continuing to remain vigilant with in-person classes continuing at Texas State University and riverfront parks reopening in San Marcos as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Schneider spoke on a host of coronavirus-related topics during a press conference Wednesday morning. He said San Marcos is seeing cases pop up among the 18-25-year-old age range, which he attributes with Texas State’s population. The university has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases as students have arrived back in San Marcos and in-person classes have begun. There are currently 151 active cases counted among Texas State students, faculty and staff as of press time Wednesday.
“We want to make sure that our college students are being smart,” Schneider said, adding that Texas State students have a lot of contact with the community through working in retail shops and the food industry. “When you are on campus, I know you’re wearing your mask, I know you’re social distancing, but when you’re off campus, you need to continue those practices because we want to make sure that we don’t have a repeat of what happened back in May.”
Hays County, especially San Marcos, saw a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases as businesses and parks reopened in late May and June. The City of San Marcos closed its riverfront parks in late June to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The county and city have seen a slowdown of new cases. San Marcos, which consistently held the most active cases in the county throughout the summer, is now behind Kyle for the highest total active cases in the county.
There are currently 1,819 active coronavirus cases in Hays County and there have been 5,697 total cases. Kyle has 739 active cases, while San Marcos has 648.
While new cases counts have tapered off recently, San Marcos riverfront parks as well as Five Mile Dam Park reopened Wednesday. Schneider said he wants everybody to be able to enjoy the parks around the county but asked residents to remember that COVID-19 is still active in the community.
“We ask that you please keep your parties to just your direct household. No reason to have large gatherings, large groups just because the park opened back up,” Schneider said. “Just want everyone to enjoy themselves and make sure they are social distancing while they are out there and just be mindful of their surroundings while they are around.”
Schneider said wearing a face mask, washing hands frequently and remaining socially distant continue to be the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, , adding that face masks with two layers are best, but any face covering is better than none at all .
“We don’t want to restrict people’s freedoms and tell them you can’t do this in any sort of way, we just want people to understand this hasn’t gone away,” Schneider said. “And, it’s not going away anytime soon. So, just be aware and be mindful that every step that you do to help prevent yourself from getting disease also helps from spreading it to anybody else … We just want to encourage everyone to continue to do everything you’re doing to keep our numbers down.”