Backlog leads to COVID-19 numbers spike in Williamson County


A student wearing a mask has his temperature checked by a teacher before entering a school for summer classes in Texas. Stories circulating online incorrectly assert that infrared thermometers, which are held near the forehead to scan body temperature without direct contact, point an infrared light directly at the brain’s pineal gland, exposing it to harmful radiation. Infrared thermometers don’t emit radiation into the brain; they sense heat emitted by the body. They pose no risk to the pineal gland, which is located deep within the brain, according to Dr. Haris Sair, director of neuroradiology at Johns Hopkins University. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect a large increase in Williamson County cases was due to a backlog in reporting

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Active COVID-19 cases in Williamson County jumped by 663 in just seven days, hundreds more than any other county in the Central Texas viewing area. The county says there’s a reason: a lab-reporting backlog from the state.

Williamson County says “a majority of cases are old dating back from June and July.” It reported 59 “actual” new cases Monday. The county said it did not know why it had received a backlog of results. KXAN has reached out to the Texas Department of State Health Services to learn more.

Williamson County had a slow but fairly steady decline in cases for about a month. That started to change Saturday due to 440 new cases. That also significantly impacted the rolling 7-day average for new cases, which jumped from a 7-day average of 56 new cases on Wednesday, Aug. 5 to an average of 151 new cases on Monday.

“Although we notice a spike in the new infection rate due to this, we believe the actual rate of new infections continues to slowly decline, based on the epidemiologic curve,” the county said in a release.

Only four of the 14 other counties saw increases over the past week, but the second-highest after Williamson County was Gillespie County with an increase of 23 active cases.

Thrall ISD in northeastern Williamson County on Monday became the first school district in our area to reopen its schools to in-person teaching. Here is when the other schools in Williamson County plan to restart school.

  • Bartlett ISD – Sept. 8 both in-person and online
  • Coupland ISD – Aug. 19 both in-person and online
  • Georgetown ISD – Aug. 20 online and in-person starting Sept. 10
  • Granger ISD – Aug. 24 both in-person and online
  • Hutto ISD – Aug. 18 online and in-person starting Sept. 8
  • Jarrell ISD – Aug. 19 online for first three weeks
  • Leander ISD – Aug. 13 online and in-person starting Sept. 8
  • Liberty Hill ISD – Aug. 27 online and in-person
  • Round Rock ISD – Aug. 20 online for first three weeks
  • Taylor ISD – Aug. 20 online for first four weeks

Active cases in Austin and San Antonio falling quickly

While active cases spiked in Williamson County, they continue to fall in Travis County and are now falling in San Antonio’s Bexar County, as well. Travis County is the fifth largest county but has just the 25th most active cases in the state. Bexar County is doing even better. It’s the fourth largest county but has just 382 active cases, the 43rd most in Texas.

County by PopulationActive Cases
1. Harris33,973
2. Dallas11,226
3. Tarrant9,157
43. Bexar382
25. Travis1,034
Active cases as of Aug. 10 from the Texas DSHS

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