COVID-19 Latest: Travis County Has Now Seen More Than 10,000 COVID-19 Cases Since March
This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Wednesday, July 1. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.
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Texas reports another record high of new COVID-19 cases
A record 8,076 new coronavirus cases were reported in Texas on Wednesday, 1,100 more than Tuesday’s reported new cases. The state also reported 57 new COVID-19-related deaths, the most reported in one day since May 14.
Hospitalizations also increased. The state is reporting 6,904 people hospitalized with the coronavirus, about 370 more than on Tuesday.
The positivity rate (the percentage of tests that come back positive) is now at 13.58%, down slightly from 14.02%.
Travis County has now seen more than 10,000 known cases since start of pandemic
Austin Public Health reported 597 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Wednesday evening, up from 558 cases reported on Tuesday.
There have now been more than 10,000 known cases in the county since March.
Four more deaths were reported Wednesday, bringing the death total to 128.
There were 57 new hospital admissions in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), 10 fewer than the day before. Currently, 376 people are hospitalized with the virus in the area, seven more than yesterday.
The seven-day average of daily COVID-19 hospital admissions is now at 55.1, up slightly from 55. Local officials worry about patients overwhelming hospitals, so they’re keeping an eye on that number and adjusting restrictions based on it.
The area is in stage 4 of APH’s risk-based guidelines, meaning higher risk individuals (people over 65 and those with underlying conditions) should avoid social gatherings, and any gatherings of more than two people, and stay home unless absolutely necessary. Lower risk individuals should avoid social gatherings and gatherings of more than 10 people.
Stage 5, the highest risk level, could be triggered if the hospitalization average rises above 70. If the average falls below 40, the area will move down to stage 3.
On 35th Anniversary, Capital Metro is grappling with a pandemic and planning its biggest expansion yet
Capital Metro launched 35 years ago today — July 1, 1985. As it marks that anniversary, the agency is facing both its biggest challenge, COVID-19, and its biggest opportunity, Project Connect.
COVID-19 has caused ridership to drop dramatically this year, and the current economic uncertainty has caused the agency's vital tax revenue to fall as well. The pandemic is also impacting the health of employees. A MetroAccess operator this week became the second known death among those working for Cap Metro.
Austin-Travis County to send emergency COVID-19 alert
Some Austin and Travis County residents can expect an emergency alert Wednesday afternoon, reminding them about the COVID-19 situation in the area ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.
New hospital admissions in Central Texas have increased 400% since the start of last month. And there have been four straight days of at least 500 new cases of coronavirus in the Austin area. Public health officials previously have said there was a spike in cases around Memorial Day weekend.
Landlines will get an automatic call, but you can register your cellphone or email address to receive alerts at WarnCentralTexas.org.
Free COVID-19 testing sites opening in Williamson County next week
Three walk-up COVID-19 testing locations are opening in Williamson County next week. Each of the free testing sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as follows:
- July 6 at Hutto Middle School, located at 1005 Exchange Blvd, Hutto
- July 7 and 8 at Jarrell Middle School, located at 101 E, Avenue F, Jarrell
- July 9 and 10 at Liberty Hill Junior High, located at 13125 TX-29, Liberty Hill
People don’t need an appointment or symptoms to be tested. The county warns tests are in high demand, so there could be long wait times. People should bring a water bottle and something to provide shade from the sun.
The sites are offered in partnership with the Texas National Guard, so residents from any county are welcome to be tested.
In Hays County, residents ages five and older can get tested at the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center in Kyle from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today.
No symptoms or pre-registration are required. The tests are free. People are reminded to wear a mask before entering the testing site.
For a map of drive-thru testing sites in the Austin area, click here.
TDCJ resumes accepting new inmates
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice stopped taking in offenders from county jails in April, after an increase in coronavirus cases in prisons. Starting today, the department will resume taking a limited number of inmates.
The TDCJ will start off by accepting about 250 new inmates this week from county jails that haven't had any cases of COVID-19. Offenders will be screened before arriving to the department's central location to ensure they're suitable for intake.
Inmates will be screened again at the TDCJ facility and housed separately for 14 days away from the general population. Communications Director Jeremy Desel says the state prison system has put safety measures in place for staff including temperature screenings and mask enforcement.
"By doing mass testing of our own offenders we have a better handle on exactly who, what, where, when, why — as far as making sure that the offenders are cohorted where they need to be and that they are not exposing anyone else to the virus," he said.
Desel said more than 150,000 inmates and employees have been screened throughout the correctional system. The department plans to monitor COVID-19 data before making decisions about expansion.
— Dani Matias
COTA hosts blood drive Thursday to help meet a growing need
We Are Blood, the nonprofit managing blood donations in Central Texas, is hosting a mobile blood drive tomorrow to help meet the growing need caused by an increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
The blood drive will be inside the Circuit of the Americas indoor event facilities from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Anyone feeling unwell or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to donate. Face coverings are required at the appointment.
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