LOOKING BACK TO 2021: TXST Sun Belt Men’s Basketball Championship, COVID-19 Vaccination Deployment and Winter Storm Uri
Editor’s note: This story is the first part of a four-part series that looks back on the year 2021.
In the first three months of 2021, residents of Hays County began getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Then Texas was hit with a historic snow event.
Here’s a look at what happened in early 2021.
Residents of Hays County began getting vaccinated against COVID-19 earlier this year. In early January, Brookdale San Marcos North, a retirement home, recently arranged for residents, associates and essential caregivers to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. CVS pharmacists administered the vaccine.
But the coronavirus continued to strain Hays County with hospitalization rates exceeding 15% in the O Texas Trauma Service Area, of which the county is a part. The high hospitalization rate has imposed trade restrictions, including capacity limitations, bar closings, and the end of elective surgeries. In an effort to limit the spread of the virus, public facilities in the city of San Marcos will remain closed until the end of January as cases and hospitalizations increase across the city and county of Hays. The city ultimately extended the closures until February.
On January 10, San Marcos saw an inch of snow fall, according to the National Weather Service.
To help with the deployment of its COVID-19 vaccine, Hays County was designated as a COVID-19 vaccination center by the Texas Department of State Health Services in mid-January.
On January 19, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra formed the Council for the Indigenous and Tejano Community (CITC) in response to the community’s desire to address a multitude of little-known and unrecognized Indigenous and Tejano stories.
Hays County began administering COVID-19 vaccines during clinics at San Marcos High School and the Live Oak Health Partners Community Clinic on January 26 and 27.
San Marcos Consolidated ISD has established an immunization clinic to administer COVID-19 vaccines to its teachers and staff following an announcement from the Texas Department of State Health Services expanding eligibility to staff in schools and daycares. Above, SMCISD nurse Eliza Herrera administers a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Lori Moreno. Daily recording photo by Lance Winter
COVID-19-related hospitalizations have started to decline, which has helped ease business restrictions. Companies in the O trauma service area, which includes Hays, Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties. were allowed to increase their capacity from 50% to 75%, bars could reopen and elective surgeries could be scheduled.
In an effort to allow better access to COVID-19 vaccines, Hays County created a pre-registration list in early February.
Between February 14 and 15, San Marcos experienced historic snowfall. San Marcos, along with most of the state, has seen and will continue to see power outages after historic snowfall. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) announced it had entered emergency conditions and initiated spinning outages on February 15. In response to the historic weather event, Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra and San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson each signed disaster declarations. Additionally, Texas State University, San Marcos Consolidated ISD, San Marcos Academy, and county schools have canceled classes throughout the week of February 15-19. Towards the end of the week the snow melted and power was slowly restored through San Marcos.
San Marcos experienced historic snowfall during the week of February 14-18. Snow covers North LBJ Drive near the Vintage Pads Apartments. Daily recording photo by Colton Ashabranner
At the height of the winter storm, city dispatchers received 1,595 calls in a single 24-hour period and nearly tripled the average weekly call volume for 2020 between February 14 and February 20, according to the city of San Marcos.
San Marcos has seen an increase in call volume due to several weather-related issues at partner facilities, including a broken pipe and equipment failures at the Hays County Emergency Communications Center, said the city. As a result of the disruption at partner facilities, the San Marcos 911 center absorbed all calls that would have been routed through the Hays County Emergency Communications Center, including calls from Buda, Wimberley, Dripping Springs and Driftwood. The San Marcos 911 Center also aided the Texas State University Police Department after a generator failure forced that agency’s carriers to handle calls by hand and coordinate on phones. personal laptops, the city said.
In addition, SMPD estimated that it responded to 1,892 service calls. San Marcos Fire estimates it answered 587 service calls, while Hays County EMS estimates it answered 405 service calls.
On February 26, the Texas State Men’s Basketball Team won their first Sun Belt regular season championship with a 58-49 victory over Louisiana-Monroe.
On March 2, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order lifting the Texas mask mandate and allowing state businesses and facilities to open at 100% capacity.
On March 3, Amazon announced it would develop a new 1 million square foot delivery station at 1346 Fortuna Road. Amazon uses delivery stations as the “last mile” of the fulfillment process, the company said. Packages are transported from Amazon fulfillment centers to delivery stations, then loaded into vehicles for delivery to customers. According to the Greater San Marcos Partnership, the new Amazon SAT-6 facility will provide last mile delivery for bulky items, such as furniture, TVs and outdoor gear.
On March 4, SCISD began administering COVID-19 vaccines to its employees.
In mid-March, San Marcos City Council asked staff to move forward with creating a utility assistance program, with a maximum of $ 1,500 per account, to help people economically affected by the pandemic and winter storm Uri.
On March 29, all adults in Texas will become eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The DSHS made this decision citing an increase in vaccine supplies.
On March 30, the Hays County Commissioners’ Court voted unanimously to continue funding a three-pronged approach to criminal justice reform; a pre-trial services department, a public defender’s office and a managed nominee lawyer program.