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Williamson County's Office of Emergency Management formed its own water brigade this weekend to distribute water to communities that have been out of water for days or under a boil water notice, the County said.
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Williamson County takes first step in filing lawsuit against City of Austin to fight hotel for the homeless. The City of Austin approved buying the Candlewood Suites in northwest Austin, which also sits partially in Williamson County.
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From Georgetown View Magazine • February 2021
PRIMARY SUPPORT FOR HIGH-RISK GROUPS
Williamson County has begun providing COVID vaccines to all those who wish to have it. Working diligently with state and private sector partners, County Judge Bill Gravell is committed to acquiring adequate doses of the vaccine to deliver to our most vulnerable populations as quickly as possible.
Judge Gravell requested 30,000 doses and received 6,000 to start. On the first day of a vaccine hub in Sun City, Family Emergency Room personnel gave 2,530 doses, which will justify to the State of Texas that Williamson County is registering quickly and waiting for vaccines, which will move them to send more.
The walk-in site, at the Sun City ballroom, will be in operation as the vaccines are made available. “It’s not just for Sun City; anyone residing in Texas is eligible,” the Judge says. “The process takes about 20-30 minutes, and is faster if you register online beforehand.”
Visit Wilco.org for news and dates; register at FamilyHospitalSystems.com
Judge Gravell says, “We have pushed hard for these doses because Williamson County has the largest number of veterans in Texas, and the 6th largest in the nation. Many of those are 65 years or older, and it is incumbent upon us to care for seniors and those who have served our nation.”
Last month, the County reported all of Group 1A; local hospitals and healthcare systems, EMS personnel, and 2,020 seniors in 14 long-term care facilities or nursing homes received the vaccine.
Group 1B includes all individuals 16 years and older with at least one chronic health concern; e.g., cancer, heart disease, sickle-cell, COPD, diabetes, obesity, and others. The County estimates there are 120,000 residents who qualify for Group 1B, and the Judge expects distribution to take about three months.
He added, “From the beginning I have stated our seniors are our most valuable population, and they are the group of people who have suffered the greatest loss of life in our county and country. That is why we are using every resource available to protect them.”
Medical personnel are eager to deliver shots and get the data entered, real-time, into the state database. Judge Gravell says, “We make requests and we have to put shots in arms. Bottom line, I can not get more unless I can prove that we need it. Fortunately, we have a waiting list and we will notify people when the opportunity is available.” Recipients also make the appointment for their second dose before leaving the ballroom. One gentleman received his confirmation email as he was walking out the door.
The Judge says, as availability expands, there will be more than 100 locations county-wide, and the plan also includes a mobile vaccination van to address homebound elderly and rural populations.
I will get the vaccine, but only after every person over 65 gets it first.
We’ve buried too many senior adults to put anyone in front of them.
COUNTY JUDGE BILL GRAVELL
Most Texas counties, including Williamson County are using the Moderna vaccine. “The assembly line is moving along,” Judge Gravell says. “It will take some time to take care of our seniors first, and there is not currently an unlimited supply. It is important to note, also, that getting the vaccine is entirely voluntary, but we will ensure everyone in Williamson County who wants it will be able to get it.”
Williamson County contracts with Family Hospital Systems for COVID-19 vaccines for first responders
Community Impact • December 4, 2020
More than 2,000 Williamson County seniors in long-term care, nursing homes inoculated for COVID-19
Community Impact • January 5, 2021
Williamson County awaiting 6,000 COVID-19 vaccines
Community Impact • January 19, 2021
Williamson County COVID-19 Vaccine Hubs inoculate 2,500 residents on first day
Community Impact • January 21, 2021
Here is what you need to know about vaccine distribution in Williamson County
Community Impact • January 28, 2021
Williamson County Begins Vaccinations
Georgetown View • February 1, 2021
Read the full story at Georgetown View Magazine • December 2020
Kalahari Owner Todd Nelson with Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell. Judge Gravell was a big part of the perseverance that allowed Kalahari to open November 12; a date the company chose more than three years ago.
During the stay home-stay safe orders I issued, the one specific area I would not shut down in Williamson County was construction. I knew we had families that needed to be fed and work that needed to be done. The result is what I believe is the best thing to happen to Williamson County in 2020.
I think this is a place where dreams are going to come true for families. You have a safe, protected environment, with thousands of square feet to play.
What they have done in Round Rock is going to be the gold standard for the rest of the world, and it’s really quite wonderful.
~ County Judge Bill Gravell
Williamson County judge stands behind election results, says there are no known affidavits alleging election mishandling
The Williamson County Commissioners Court voted Tuesday on a proposed maximum tax rate not to exceed $0.458719 per $100 valuation. This rate matched the current tax rate that comprises the General Fund, Road and Bridge Fund, and Debt Service Fund tax rates.
Read full story: Anthony Flores, Liberty Hill Independent
Read the full story, and local reactions, at Georgetown View Magazine, June 2020
100 Days of COVID
IN AN INTERVIEW MAY 14, 2020, JUDGE BILL GRAVELL SHARED HIS REFLECTIONS AND HISTORIC EXPERIENCES AS WILLIAMSON COUNTY JUDGE DURING THE COVID19 PANDEMIC. HE PROVIDED, EXCLUSIVELY FOR GEORGETOWN VIEW READERS, A MACRO VIEW OF THE FIRST 100 DAYS OF THE CRISIS — ITS CHALLENGES AND TRIUMPHS, AS WELL AS THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT IT HAS MADE ON THIS FORMER PASTOR’S LIFE.
On Day 105, Judge Bill Gravell looked at the handwritten list of names he keeps with him—the people in Williamson County who have died from COVID. “Twenty years from now, in spite of a few negative comments, what I will remember is the ‘I CAN’ attitude of our people. I’m going to look at this list of names, and ask myself again if I did enough, or could I have done more?”
DAY 1: On January 30, 2020, Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell was listening to a conference call about a disease in a foreign country, wondering, “Why am I on this call?”
One hundred days later, on May 9, he was at a free-standing, drive-through, public COVID testing facility in Taylor, when he received a text that two county residents had passed away, bringing the number of CVD-19 victims to 19. “My thought at that moment was the next day was Mothers’ Day and one of those people was a mother and a grandmother. How horrible the day would be for her family.”
He says it also struck him that she was 107 years old, and had lived through the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression, both World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam wars, Communism, and the moon landing. “Losing her memories is a loss to us all.”
Despite any person’s individual history, Judge Gravell says he feels an obligation to everyone who has lost a life to this sickness, and has committed to reach out personally to their families, as well as make a public statement about each. “When this started, I didn’t have any idea what that might mean, or how many there would be. I know—as I sit here today—we have not seen them all.”
THE SCARY ROOM
If you look at the collection of crisis management manuals in Williamson and other counties, you will find binders entitled TORNADO, FLOOD, and ACTIVE SHOOTER. In none of those libraries, until now, was there any guidance for PANDEMIC. Yet leaders across the county, state, and nation come under fire for nearly every decision they make, and the average citizen struggles to know who, or what, to believe. Still, more than 100 days in, there continue to be things left unsaid, which leads to some of those criticisms, but perhaps for good reason.
Judge Gravell and his pandemic team number just under 100 people. While it was often necessary to have many of them in the same room for response and preparation, there was also another room…in the back. In that room, only 12 team leaders were invited to discuss the most delicate of emergencies. “It started out as an executive meeting room,” Judge says, “but was soon renamed ‘The Scary Room.’ I heard things in that room you don’t want your children to hear. Things discussed in that room would take your breath away. Because of those things, we prepared for the absolute worst that could have happened, and it was a burden that became so very heavy.”
May 9 ended our first 100 days. I’ve waited a long time to tell this story.
Judge Bill Gravell