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COVID-19 Latest: Surge In Coronavirus Cases Expected In The Lake Travis Area After 'Pong Fest' Party

Shoppers at Barton Creek Square wear face coverings.
Gabriel C. Pérez
Shoppers at Barton Creek Square wear face coverings.

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Friday, June 26. If you have a news tip or question, email us at

Surge in coronavirus cases expected in the Lake Travis area after "Pong Fest" party

Lakeway's mayor is warning residents to prepare for a surge in coronavirus cases in the Lake Travis area after several high school students who have COVID-19 attended a large party last Saturday night.

Mayor Sandy Cox said, during a Facebook Live discussion Thursday, there are 50 active coronavirus cases there right now — many of those in the past week. She said many high school students attended a "Pong Fest" party last weekend, and some didn't know at the time they were positive.

Cox says Austin Public Health is helping with contact tracing, but high case counts mean they won't be able to trace them all. She's asking anyone who attended the party to self-isolate for 14 days, and anyone they've come in contact with since the party is also encouraged to self-isolate.

Cox is asking residents to be "socially responsible" and wear a face covering to protect others from the spread of COVID-19.

UT researchers working on test that could be crucial in future flu seasons

Researchers at UT Austin say they're working on a test that could tell whether patients have COVID-19 or influenza. The research could prove crucial in future flu seasons. The testing device uses graphene — a single layer of carbon atoms that's literally the thinnest known material. Researchers say that material is beneficial because it's also highly conductive, meaning it reacts really well to microorganisms, like proteins from the coronavirus or influenza.

Deji Akinwande, a professor of engineering at UT, says the device could eventually provide immediate results, and it could ultimately help health care officials save time.

"Right now what is done is you have to get separate tests for both flu and coronavirus, and as you know, this is stretching an already thin medical capacity," Akinwande said. "So having a single platform would help ease this capacity concern."       

Akinwande says the one-stop test would ultimately also allow for quicker isolation in the event a person tests positive.

Researchers are hoping to test throughout the next few months with antibodies and inactive virus specimens. They hope to then move on to live samples through the winter and scale up capacity after that.

— Andrew Weber

Correction: A previous version of this post called Deji Akinwande an engineer, rather than a professor. 

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What's happening statewide? Check out special coverage from KERA for North Texas, Houston Public MediaTexas Public Radioin San Antonio and Marfa Public Radio.

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