Finally Caught It

After avoiding a positive test result for over two years, the walls fell and I contracted COVID-19.

It has laid me out a bit. Worst than the worst flu I’ve had. I’ve had some coughing and breathing difficulty, but not anywhere close to the pneumonia I’ve had previously. I’ve heard folks talk about how they’re normal mentally for a couple hours, then experience brain fog. I’ve had similar where I can think as usual, despite the body hurting, then I can’t figure out how to string a sentence together.

I tested positive on Wednesday afternoon, started on antivirals on Friday, and at the end of Saturday, starting to feel more like normal.

I’m grateful for the vaccines, the antivirals, and that only one of the kids have tested positive (and asymptomatic at that). As soon as I tested positive, the kids were masks at home except when asleep and I stayed in my room as much as possible. After confirming their negative status and finished school for the week, off they went to the in-laws for the holiday weekend.

Bleh. I can’t imagine how much worse this would have felt before we had the medical tools we have now.

All Adults Eligible

All adults in Texas will be eligible for the COVID vaccine starting on March 29th.

In some areas of the state, demand in the priority groups is dropping, but in Austin, we’re still seeing a lot of Phase 1 folks trying to get a vaccine.

In other words, just because the state is making everyone eligible, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get an appointment. If you’re able to travel, the neighboring counties may not be a bad bet.

Texas 1C Announced

Effective March 15th, Texas will start offering vaccines to the newly announced Phase 1C group.

The new list of those eligible as of March 15th now includes:

  • Phase 1A
    • Health Care Workers, including “last responders” (mortuary)
    • Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Phase 1B
    • All 65+
    • Those 16 years old and older with at least one chronic medical condition that elevates their risk. To include but not limited to:
      • Cancer
      • Kidney disease
      • COPD
      • Heart conditions
      • Organ transplant recipients (I would assume living donors too, personally).
      • Obesity (30 kg/m2+)
      • Pregnancy
      • Sickle cell
      • Type 2 diabetes
  • “Federal Directive” Phase
    • Pre-primary, primary, secondary (Pre-K through 12th Grade) workers.
    • Head Start/Early Head Start workers (teachers, staff, and bus drivers).
    • Licensed child care providers.
  • Phase 1C, effective March 15
    • All 50+ years old.

Phase 2 and beyond classifications and timelines are to be determined.

While there are a lot of places to get the vaccine, I’ve seen the most success with Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin.

For Austin Public Health, pre-register on their website and follow them on Twitter or Facebook. They are releasing appointments for the week on Monday evenings and again on Thursday if they have available spots. From experience, if they say on social media they are opening the waiting room at 5:45 for a 6:00 p.m. drop, be there at 5:40. For me, those who joined at 5:55 p.m. were too late. With the drop on Monday, be prepared to wait for hours until your turn to get an appointment.

For UT Health Austin, see their website to request an appointment. For them, fill out the form and they’ll add you to their health management system when it is your turn. From what I saw, you’ll get the e-mail saying you’re in the management system and awhile later (the end of the day? the next day?), you’ll get the e-mail saying you can schedule your appointment. You can schedule from the system as soon as you get the e-mail saying you’ve been added. You don’t need to wait for the second e-mail.

Good luck y’all. Keep wearing a mask. Stay safe.

Update: Starting on March 29th, all adults are eligible.

Back to Normal?

I miss normal too.

Today, Texas Governor Abbott teased that he’s going to make a big statewide announcement tomorrow while speaking to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. Here’s my guess as to what’s going to go down.

First, he teased this news on Twitter. That means he thinks it is a positive thing. It’s too soon to make any new announcement regarding the energy sector (it’s already a legislative priority, so out of his hands) and Lubbock isn’t a place that such an announcement would mean much. Except for maybe some wind farms, but we know he’s not going to celebrate new wind energy right now.

So, the other thing is, obviously, Covid. He has also teased the idea that maybe the mask mandate has run its course.

My first guess is he’ll lift the mask mandate. While cases are definitely looking better than January, we’re only slightly better than we were in early July when the mandate was issued. Back when we thought 10,000 cases in a day was mindblowing and seeing the increase above 5,000 spurred the mandate in the first place.

He’s speaking in Lubbock. Eyeballing it, I think Lubbock may have the highest percentage of vaccinated folks in the state.

Tomorrow is also Texas Independence Day—yes, that’s a holiday that majority of native Texans know and, dare I say, many of us celebrate in some form. Lifting the mask mandate on Texas Independence Day is what I’d expect from Gov. Abbott. Since wearing a mask is oppressing my freedom. Y’all can join me in protesting at the every building with a sign saying “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” later.

I’m tired of wearing masks too, but businesses can operate fairly normally with a mask mandate in place. He’s going to make the announcement at a Chamber of Commerce.

He’s going to lift the capacity limits for businesses. With rhetoric about freedom and trying to boost the Texas sales pitch for business (after the state leadership absolute failure in supporting businesses when we couldn’t keep the lights on and water flowing), he’s going to rip off the chains of caring for our fellow man—what a silly concept that is—and basically “reopen Texas”. Which is what he said at the end of May before saying “whoops, shouldn’t have reopened bars. My bad!”

I’m sure he has Texas’ best interest at heart and this has nothing to do with him teasing this while sharing a tweet showing him with better polling numbers than Ted Cruz. And has nothing to do with Ted Cruz getting more love at CPAC than he did.

Y’all, hang in there just a bit longer. I’m tired of all this too. I’m holding on to the hope that, come fall, things may be looking more normal. But, we still have plenty of time to screw this up.

Bars To Reopen Next Week

Gov. Abbott has ordered that bars can reopen starting October 14th if the county judge opts-in and only in areas where the COVID hospitalization rate is under 15%.

Here’s the current status of that:

TSA RegionMain City% Hospitalization
for COVID, Oct 7
AAmarillo15.8%
BLubbock13.5%
CWichita Falls4.3%
DAbilene6.6%
EDFW7.6%
FParis16.9%
GLongview/Tyler11.9%
HLufkin16.8%
IEl Paso14.0%
JMidland/Odessa8.6%
KSan Angelo0.8%
LBelton/Killeen3.8%
MWaco14.1%
NCollege Station8.7%
OAustin2.9%
PSan Antonio5.5%
QHouston4.4%
RGalveston9.8%
SVictoria17.4%
TLaredo21.9%
UCorpus Christi9.8%
VRGV14.6%
Statewide7.6%

As of today, those in the Amarillo, Paris, Lufkin, Victor, or Laredo regions couldn’t reopen whether or not the county opts-in. Lubbock, Longview, El Paso, Waco, and the Rio Grande Valley are borderline, but under 15%.

You can watch Gov. Abbott’s announcement on his Facebook page: