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COVID-19 Latest: Researchers Seek Participants In Central Texas For Vaccine Trial

A sign at Galindo Elementary School in South Austin reminds people that face coverings are required.
Gabriel C. Pérez
A sign at Galindo Elementary School in South Austin reminds people that face coverings are required.

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Thursday, Aug. 6. If you have a news tip or question, email us at

Travis County sees 232 new cases and one more death

Austin Public Health reported 232 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Thursday, up from 202 reported yesterday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 256.

One more person has died, according to APH, bringing the county’s death total to 288.

There are now reportedly 297 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), 11 fewer than yesterday. Despite that net decrease, APH reported 31 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region on Thursday. The seven-day average of new admissions is now 35.9, down from 38.

Local officials worry about the coronavirus overwhelming hospitals, so they’re keeping an eye on that number and adjusting restrictions based on it. An average below 40 could push the region down to stage 3 of APH’s risk-based guidelines, but that move also depends on other factors, like ICU and ventilator capacity. Officials are recommending the area stay in stage 4, the second-highest level, for now. 

ARC Clinical Research is recruiting participants for COVID-19 vaccine trial

The Austin Regional Clinic's research arm is looking for 250 people to participate in a late-phase COVID-19 vaccine trial set to begin this month. Researchers will look at how safe and effective the vaccine compound is to determine whether it can be brought to market.  

"It is the top priority of the United States and the world to find a successful vaccine to prevent the infection and spread of COVID-19," Dr. Gretchen Crook, principal investigator for ARC Clinical Research, said in a press release. “This vaccine candidate has the potential to save lives and allow us to return to a way of life that will restore our economy, re-connect our friendships, and continue activities we all enjoy."

Participants will be compensated. The trial will be conducted out of ARC Clinical Research Wilson Parke in Austin’s Four Points neighborhood. For more information about enrolling go here and click "Request to Participate" or call 512-225-5931. 

“This study offers an opportunity to be a part of history and benefit humankind," Jeff Repper, director of ARC Clinical Research, said in the release.

Austin ISD's board will vote tonight on delaying the first day of school

The Austin Independent School District Board is scheduled to vote tonight on delaying the first day of classes from Aug. 18 to Sept. 8 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The district has said the delay would give employees time to adjust to new health and safety requirements for in-person instruction.

The district is also applying to the Texas Education Agency to extend virtual learning for an additional four weeks after the first four weeks of the school year. The AISD board meets at 9 p.m. You can watch the meeting at AISD.TV.

Read more about the planned vote from Nadia Hamdan.

Nearly 62,000 Texans filed for unemployment last week

New numbers out this morning show 61,940 Texans applied for unemployment benefits last week. That's about 14,860 fewer claims than the week before.

Since mid-March, when the coronavirus pandemic started hitting the Texas economy hard, just about 3,329,040 Texans have applied for first-time unemployment benefits.

Nationwide, nearly 1.2 million Americans applied for benefits last week, the Associated Press reports. The number of jobless claims was down by 249,000 from the week before, after rising for two straight weeks, and it was the lowest total since mid-March, the AP said. It is the 20th straight week that at least 1 million people have sought unemployment benefits.

Mask and school supplies distribution planned for Saturday

Local leaders and organizations are giving out free face masks, hand sanitizer and school supplies on Saturday to families in need. 

The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, Austin ISD’s Board President Geronimo Rodriguez and other partners are hosting the distributions at two locations from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.:

  • Mendez Middle School, 5106 Village Square Dr., Austin
  • Akins Early College High School, 10701 S. 1st St., Austin 

The supplies will be delivered via drive-thru, but walk-ups are welcome, according to the event’s Facebook page.

COVID-19 Dashboards

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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