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IT workers are pandemic heroes, too

Commissioner Cook's Column

  • 21 January 2021
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1906

On Dec. 22, the Williamson County Commissioners Court recognized former Senior Director of Technology Services Jay Schade, at far left, on his 20-year retirement and the entire IT staff for their contributions to the county. (Shown standing inside the Wilco Historic Courthouse with members of the Commissioners Court standing behind them, including Commissioner Cook behind Jay Schade.

We’ve been praising medical personnel, first responders, grocery store clerks, restaurant workers and others for their dedication and resourcefulness as we’ve pressed forward all these months of the pandemic.

But what about the invisible and unheralded work of Information Technology organizations?

IT departments everywhere enabled office workers and students to get their jobs done in the safer environment of home. I’d like to shine a light on the amazing team of employees in the Williamson County’s IT department that enabled the diverse work of the county to proceed during these challenging times.

Richard Semple, our chief information officer, had difficulty singling out only one or a few of his staff of 50 to praise. “There were so many people that did so much great work during this pandemic. We truly pushed the staff to the limit and tasked them with so much, including many things they had little experience with before the pandemic,” he explained.

Many IT staffers had never worked an emergency response or used the new tools IT suddenly had to implement, while others were assigned to unfamiliar technology areas. It was truly remarkable to see an administrative person teaching Microsoft Teams, a GIS professional working on COVID-19 transmission projections or a computer technician assisting with technical issues at COVID-19 testing sites.

The county already owned Microsoft Office 365, with tools like Teams for collaboration and OneDrive for cloud access of files anywhere, but many departments had not yet embraced the technology.

The immediate impact the pandemic  brought forced every department to clamber for these tools, required new designs and configurations implemented quickly, and employees trained.

Family Hospital Systems Named Hub in Williamson County for COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

Information from Wilco's Public Information Office Media Release

  • 20 January 2021
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 38698

Williamson County is activating its COVID-19 vaccination plan this week as it is scheduled to receive 6,000 doses of the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine through its partner Family Hospital Systems (FHS). The County’s vaccination plan targets residents who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Phase 1B.  

We approved an agreement in Commissioners Court  with FHS on Tuesday, Jan. 19, to administer the COVID-19 vaccine per the County’s plan. Family Hospital Systems will begin vaccinating eligible Texans at the Sun City Ballroom, located at 2 Texas Drive in Georgetown, as soon as they receive the vaccine. Vaccinations will be provided through the weekend while supplies last. An appointment will be required before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. To register, please visit https://familyhospitalssytems.typeform.com/to/NnnrXftS. Residents who need assistance getting registered are urged to call 833-984-3747.

In addition, FHS will be vaccinating people from their wait list at a drive-thru site at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex, 10211 W Parmer Lane. You must be on the FHS wait list in order to be contacted for an appointment at that site. Drive-up appointments will not be accepted. Registration for the FHS wait list is available here

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 18 January 2021
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 3302

Why was Williamson County not designated as a hub sooner?

The State of Texas strategically designated hubs across the state. Williamson County was not initially chosen because of its proximity to the Austin hubs. Williamson County was designated as a hub on January 16, 2021.

Why were other counties receiving vaccines before Williamson?

Many of the counties receiving the COVID-19 vaccines on a large scale are hubs designated by the State of Texas. Other counties have large VA hospitals or other hospital systems that are able to provide vaccines to the public or their patients.

When will Williamson County begin to get vaccines on a larger scale?

Williamson County was invited to submit a plan to the Department of State Health Services the week of January 4, 2021; that plan was evaluated on January 11; Williamson County was notified of its vaccine allotment on January 16. Williamson County and its partners received 6,000 vaccine doses for the week of January 18.

How can I make an appointment to receive the vaccine in Williamson County?

Williamson County will release information to the media, post information on its website, Facebook page, Twitter and NextDoor app. Information will be posted January 19, 2021.

Residents may add their names to the Family Emergency Center’s wait list at: https://familyhospitalsystems.typeform.com/to/hp91XiiR

Commissioner Cook is Sworn into her Second Term of Office on Jan. 1, 2021 for Williamson County Precinct 1

Judge Betsy Lambeth of the 425th District Court administered Commissioner Cook's Oath of Office.

  • 8 January 2021
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1800

Commissioner Cook offers brief remarks to the guests and officials gathered for the swearing-in ceremonies at the Wilco Historical Courthouse after being sworn-in.Commissioner Cook is shown placing her left hand on the Bible during the swearing-in ceremony that her husband Wayne Cook is holding. 425th Dist. Court Judge Betsy Lambeth is officiating on the steps of the Wilco Historic Courthouse..

Free Christmas Tree Recycling Offered at Williamson County Landfill

Media Release from the Wilco Public Information Office

  • 22 December 2020
  • Author: Doris Sanchez
  • Number of views: 1986

Image of a green Christmas tree with ornaments and a star on top.

Starting December 26, Williamson County residents can dispose of their Christmas trees for free by dropping them off at the Williamson County Landfill, located at 600 Landfill Road in Hutto.  

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), at least one-third of house fires that begin with a Christmas tree going up in flames occur in January. Prompt removal and disposal of a Christmas tree after the holiday season is highly encouraged to avoid any potential hazard.  

Residents have until January 19, 2021, to get rid of their trees at the landfill. Before taking a tree to the landfill, residents are asked to remove all lights and ornaments. Flocked trees are not accepted for recycling. 

The landfill is open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon.


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