In early March 2020, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported the first case of COVID-19 in the state. Later that month, the Travis County judge issued a stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the disease. As the pandemic wore on, the Texas health care system and economy began to erupt, creating deep hardships for Central Texans.
In order to understand the ramifications of the pandemic locally, Episcopal Health Foundation and St. David’s Foundation conducted a study on the views and experiences of Texas residents during the first seven months of the pandemic. Questions centered on uncovering the health, financial condition, and concerns of Central Texans (those located in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties) for their future and overall perspective on the COVID-19 vaccine. This report compares findings from across the five-county region against residents in other areas of the state where there are statistically significant differences. Differences between demographic groups are also noted where they are statistically significant.
The pandemic is affecting Central Texas residents differently depending on household income, race, whether they have health insurance, and many other factors.
This study identified three key areas of impact from the COVID-19 pandemic for Central Texans:
- Health and health care
- Financial hardships
- Current concerns regarding the pandemic
Key Findings from the COVID-19 in Central Texas Report include:
- 44% of those surveyed in Central Texas say they skipped some form of medical care, compared to 36% who skipped care in the rest of Texas.
- 14% of people either don’t have a device with internet access or don’t know how to talk with a doctor online.
- 45% of Central Texans say the pandemic has caused financial hardship for them and their household.
- 56% say that worry or stress related to COVID-19 had a negative impact on their mental health.
- 37% of Central Texans say someone in their household has lost their job, their business, or had work hours reduced.
With the results of the study, St. David’s Foundation was able to strategically discern where our efforts and funding were most needed through our COVID-19 Recovery Fund. We at the Foundation believe all Central Texans should have the opportunity to achieve optimal health and are guided by a commitment to achieve health equity in our community. We understand that health equity is achieved when you can no longer predict how healthy a person is, or will be, by their race, ethnicity, gender or zip code, and believe this public health crisis created an extraordinary moment to call for greater and more equal health justice within our Central Texas home.