Wharton County Judge Phillip Spenrath on Friday, Feb. 19 said he received an email from Dr. John Hellerstadt, who is the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) commissioner, about the hospitalization rate.

“We have had seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 hospitalized patients as a percentage of total hospital capacity was 15 percent or less,” Spenrath said. “Thus, our Trauma Service Area (TSA Q) no longer meets the definition of a high hospitalization area and so may reopen to the higher levels allowable under (Gov. Greg Abbott’s) GA-32 Executive Order."

This means restaurants are back to 75% capacity and bars can reopen, Spenrath said.

TSA Q includes Wharton County, as well as Harris, Walker, Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Harris, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller counties.

During a Monday, Feb. 8 regular meeting of the Commissioners Court, Spenrath said the TSA rate was 15.28 percent for Region Q. The hospitalization rate had been 17.09 percent a week before.

The Trauma Service Areas are set up by the DSHS and the South East Texas Regional Advisory Council with the hospital capacity of these areas being used to determine COVID-19 restriction under Abbott’s Executive Order from Oct. 8, 2020.

The Wharton County Office of Emergency Management reported the hospitalization rate on Jan. 22 when it was 19.3 percent. There was a slight rate decrease the following week at 18.58 percent.

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