en-USes-MX
News and Announcements

Wilco in Red Phase of COVID-19 Transmission - Commissioner Cook Urges Residents To Be Cautious & Wear Masks

21 July 2021

Wilco in Red Phase of COVID-19 Transmission - Commissioner Cook Urges Residents To Be Cautious & Wear Masks

Information from Wilco's Public Information Office and the Williamson County and Cities Health District

White outline image of a male wearing a mask with red background - Carnegie Mellon UniversityThe criteria set by the Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) for Williamson County to increase to COVID-19 Red Phase was reached on July 17. 

The incidence for July 19 is at 14.54 per 100k people, which has more than doubled in the past week, and has increased 6.5 times since the end of June.

The TSA Region O hospitalization has also increased daily in the past week, which is the second criteria for moving up a phase. Hospitalization rate remains fairly low at 4.65% but has more than doubled in the past fourteen days.

Age ranges with the most cases are those 18-30 years, followed by those 31-50 years.

The color-based Phase Guidelines are not changes to local rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines for individual actions and behaviors based on levels of risk of exposure in the community. 

It is important to note that everyone should continue to follow any additional requirements of local businesses, venues, and schools regardless of vaccination status or stage.

With the rapid increase of new cases, the following is recommended for all regardless of vaccination status:
• Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.
• Stay at least 6 feet from others who don’t live with you.
• Avoid crowds. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.

Emphasis on improving outcomes for those with mental illness

15 July 2021

Emphasis on improving outcomes for those with mental illness

Column by Commissioner Cook

Williamson County Commissioner Terry Cook, bottom right, visits with Assistant Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Kathleen Pokluda, bottom left, along with, from left in back, deputy Fernando Ortiz and corrections officers Terry Hargrove and Brandon McBay at the Williamson County sheriff’s office in Georgetown. I have written about the work of our Mobile Outreach Team assisting those in mental crisis situations who now works in concert with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services for 24/7 coverage throughout the county.

I’ve written about the mental health work in our courts, balancing the law with an individualized approach to best suit the accused suffering from mental illness.

Soon, coming to us all will be the response “911, do you need police, fire, EMS or mental health services?” I’ll write about this later this year.

Six months in, how has our sheriff’s office evolved to appropriately work with those suffering from mental health challenges?

Individuals with mental illness are inordinately represented in arrests and incarcerations in our country’s jails.

Mike Gleason campaigned in 2016 to be our sheriff as the candidate with a demonstrated background of compassionate mental health work both inside and outside law enforcement. Has that translated into a kinder workforce in Williamson County’s patrols and jail?

Below is a letter from an inmate with mental illness to his mom that she shared with Sheriff Gleason and allowed me to share here:

ok mama heres my letter, now just sayin, idk the sheriffs name but here we go,

to the sheriff of williamson county, ... i am an inmate of the county jail and at the time of this letter i will have been here 37 days, i must give praise where it is due sir/ ma'am, this is my 2nd stay in your facility however i am extremely surprised that it has changed so much since my 1st visit. during my st stay, which was 88 days, i witnessed 18 people get tazed, not that im able to say they deserved it or not but this time im glad to say that not 1 individual has been tazed, your CO's and deputeys have more compassion 

Commissioner Cook Presents Juneteenth Proclamation

18 June 2021

Commissioner Cook Presents Juneteenth Proclamation

Approved by Commissioners Court Tuesday, June 15

WHEREAS, Juneteenth recognizes that on June 19, 1865, almost three years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Union General Gordon Granger announced in Galveston the freedom of all slaves throughout Texas with these words, “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free,”; and

WHEREAS, Juneteenth has been a long-time, official state holiday honoring the courageous Black Texans who have long struggled for civil rights in the 156 years since General Granger’s proclamation; and

WHEREAS, Williamson County residents value historical truth, ethnic heritage, and culture, which accurately reflects the real lives and struggles of African-Americans past, present, and future; and

WHEREAS, let us all be reminded that our nation, state, and county have not yet achieved its full potential.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT PROCLAIMED, that the Williamson County Commissioners Court takes hereby recognizes and proclaims, June 19, 2021 as:

“JUNETEENTH – TEXAS EMANCIPATION DAY”

Courts transition from virtual to in-person

20 May 2021

Courts transition from virtual to in-person

Column by Commissioner Cook

At the Williamson County Justice Center courtrooms, plexiglass barriers have been placed at each counsel table, on the bar and at the podium where lawyers address the jury, which is seated in the gallery to maintain social distancing

When the state of emergency for COVID-19 was declared in March 2020, the Williamson County Justice Center, assisted by county departments such as IT and others, was able to conduct business throughout the shutdown.

“We knew that the ‘wheels of justice’ had to keep turning, so we did what you do in a desperate situation, we came together and figured it out,” said Judge Donna King of the 26th district court.

They didn’t just figure it out, they excelled at conducting daily business and holding court hearings virtually.

King also credits the support from the Commissioners Court.

This March, the emergency order permitted courts to begin holding in-person proceedings following COVID-19 prevention standards but encouraged them to continue remote proceedings through June 1.

King held her first in-person jury trial on April 13, describing it as “almost a feeling of relief to be back in a jury trial.”

Although the logistics of the proceedings looked very different from the prepandemic jury trial, they had turned a corner and their hard work of planning paid off.

She described feeling a sense of pride that those summoned to appear for jury duty honored their responsibility to the community. They showed up, participated and seemed to share in this “corporate” sense of relief that the proceedings were well-organized and COVID-protocol compliant.

While virtual jury trials were conducted during the shutdown in other counties, Wilco courts didn’t, citing a lack of control over procedure and adherence to the rules of trial, exposure to information outside the proceeding and constraints on litigants’ rights to confront their accusers fully and appropriately.

Before the shutdown, jury trials involved large cattle calls of prospective jurors and a flurry of activity to see which case would be selected, all in-person. The court now has implemented limitations on the number of cases heard per day and plans that reduce the number of people convened at the courthouse.

Commissioners Court Approves National Prevention Week Proclamation by Commissioner Cook on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

12 May 2021

Commissioners Court Approves National Prevention Week Proclamation by Commissioner Cook on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Week designation created by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Shown in photo inside the Historic Courthouse Commissioners Courtroom are from front from left: Martha Paddie, LifeSteps Coalition Coordinator; Rosana Sielaff, Director of Prevention; Barbara and George Brightwell, LifeSteps Founders: and Kelly McCaffrey, LifeSteps Executive Director. In back are from left Commissioner Cook, Commissioner Cynthia Long, Judge Bill Gravell and Commissioner Russ Boles.WHEREAS, National Prevention Week, created by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), is an annual time to raise awareness of the importance of substance use prevention and implementing positive mental health changes; and

 WHEREAS, this year’s National Prevention Week theme is “Youth Leading Prevention,” recognizing youth prevention leaders across the country and the power that each young person has in influencing positive community change; and

WHEREAS, according to the 2020 Texas School Survey, 42.8% of high school students (grades 9-12) and 21.3% of middle school students (7th and 8th grades) report drinking alcohol in the previous 30 days, and the 2019 Texas College survey found 54.8% of college students acknowledged alcohol use in the previous 30-days; and

WHEREAS, mental health workers around the world have reported increased feelings of stress, fear, anxiety, and isolation in people of all ages, where youth have been especially impacted, during this pandemic leading to increased use of alcohol and other drugs to cope with this uncomfortable reality; and

WHEREAS, preventing substance use before it begins is the most effective way to eliminate the damage caused by drugs and alcohol abuse; and

RSS

Theme picker