Local COVID-19 response survey: what we heard, what we’re doing

Thank you to the 1,200-plus residents who completed the COVID-19 online survey we published March 23-25. Your participation really helps. Information is power, particularly in slowing down the spread of the Coronavirus because there is much individuals can do. We, as your local government, can respond better to your needs when we have a clearer picture of what those are.

Below are top-line results to each question asked, and what the City has been doing. Here’s a link to the complete survey results, with names (and a couple of profanities) redacted. Spoiler alert: There’s some serious shade thrown at TP hoarders.

How knowledgeable do you feel about COVID-19?

What we heard: Over 90 percent of respondents say they are “very knowledgeable” or “somewhat knowledgeable” about COVID-19. 

What we’re doing: We asked the question to confirm our assumption that Round Rockers have a good handle on the basics of this global pandemic. Looks like you do. Still, we’ve been sharing links to trusted information sources like the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) as well as state and local public health authorities. 

Where do you get up-to-date information on COVID-19?

What we heard: The top two sources are national news, cited by 71 percent, and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at 67 percent. Local TV news was third at 56 percent. In the comments, lots of folks said they wanted to know where there are local cases.

What we’re doing: We created roundrocktexas.gov/coronavirus to share as much local information as possible. We’ve got the latest data from the local health district, links to state and local emergency orders, a list of closures and changes to City facilities and functions, as well as links to local resources for healthbusiness, and schools.

Fewer than 30 percent cited two local outlets as the source of their information on COVID-19, so bookmark these for future reference: the Williamson County and Cities Health District, our local public health authority, and the State Health Department, formally known as the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Which, if any, have you done to be more prepared for COVID-19?

What we heard: Here are the top responses …

  1. Washed my hands more frequently, 95 percent
  2. Not shaking hands or touching people in public places, 90 percent
  3. Avoided crowds, 88 percent
  4. Stayed up to date on news for information on the virus, 88 percent
  5. Stayed home more frequently, 87 percent
  6. Kept space between myself and others while out, 85 percent
  7. Avoided close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms, 78 percent

You guys are doing what it takes to flatten the curve. Way to go!

What we’re doing: Encouraging the entire community to keep it up! We’ve taken data provided by the Williamson County and Cities Health District to show exactly what the curve looks like in our corner of the world.

What are your household’s concerns right now regarding COVID-19?

  1. Economic impact on my community, 69 percent
  2. The safety of my community as the pandemic continues, 65 percent
  3. Members of my household becoming infected, 64 percent
  4. Economic impact on my household, 63 percent

What we heard: It sure looks the ancient wisdom of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is being lived out here in Round Rock. Respondents care as much if not more about the well-being of the community as your their own family. 

What we’re doing: We sharing as much information as possible about how to support local businesses, including the Round Rock Cares fundraising effort, and what you can do to prevent becoming infected.

Which of these employment challenges are you or someone in your household facing (or likely to face) due to COVID-19?

What we heard: Note: This question was asked prior to the Stay Home Stay Safe orders from Williamson and Travis counties went into effect. The top response, at 38 percent, was “Workplace closed for an extended period.” Other top responses were “Job is ‘essential’ making COVID risk higher (e.g. first responders, health care providers, etc.)”, “Reduction in hours I can work” and “Self-employed with a decrease in business activity.”

What we’re doing: The City has partnered with the Round Rock Chamber, Dell Technologies and the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation to create Round Rock Cares, which will provide direct support to small businesses impacted the pandemic. We’re also encouraging residents to Shop the Rock to support our local businesses. The City is encouraging businesses to seek information and support from the Round Rock Chamber, and have created a Business Resources page on our website.

What kind of information would help your household the most in preparing for COVID-19?

What we heard: The No. 1 answer, from 50 percent of respondents, was “The geographic areas that have higher outbreak rates.” The No. 2 answer, at 44 percent, was “What to do if someone in my household shows signs of the virus?” No. 3, at 43 percent, was “How to access and make needed food and supplies last.”

What we’re doing: The Health District has been providing more detailed information on the location of Williamson County cases as the number of confirmed cases has grown. We have taken that data and created this dashboard so our residents can see which cities have confirmed cases, as well as other information on Williamson County cases being released. 

On what to do if someone shows signs of the virus, we’re directing residents to the CDC’s new “Self-Checker” which can be found on its What To Do If You Are Sick page. We reached out to H-E-B on the question of food and supplies, and created this video. The largest grocer in Texas says there’s no need to panic buy or hoard items.

What actions have you taken to assist your community with potential impacts and/or risk of COVID-19?

What we heard: The most common response, at 87 percent, was “Stayed remotely connected with family and friends,” followed by “Stayed educated on the virus and helped spread accurate information,” at 78 percent. Sixty percent reported supporting small businesses. 

It was the “Other” responses that are truly inspiring, but not all that surprising in big-hearted Round Rock. Here is a representative sample of the responses:

  • “Brought supplies to a family who couldn’t find anything that they needed”
  • “Babysitting a single dad’s daughter so he can go to work”
  • “Avoided hoarding to allow more people access to essential products”
  • “My whole family is at increased risk group and voluntarily sheltered in place to protect ourselves”
  • “Donated masks to St David’s”
  • “Provided financial assistance to extended family members whose jobs are affected by COVID-19.”

What we’re doing: Cheering on our amazing community of givers! It’s worth checking out the complete survey results just to read through this list, as well as the answers to our next question…

Do you have other ideas on how residents can help others in the community relating to COVID-19?

What we heard: There were 23 pages of ideas shared. Wow! 

Here’s where we saw lots of venting about hoarders. Too many to list, but here may be the most, um, direct: “Stop being a selfish, dirtbag, hoarder!”

What we’re doing: The most common idea was to develop programs to help connect those willing to help others with those who need help. Lots of neighborhoods are using NextDoor to accomplish this, but many are not or may not be on that app. To contact the City about donations, send an email to covid-19donations@roundrocktexas.gov or call 512-218-5419.

Thanks again for taking the time to communicate with us. As Mayor Craig Morgan said in his video message to the community when the Stay Home Stay Safe order went into effect, “Friendswe’re in this together. And we will come out stronger than before. That’s who we are as Texans, and that’s the Round Rock way.”