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COVID-19 Latest: Most Travis County Parks Reopen, Free Testing Saturday For Construction Workers

A sign tells construction workers to maintain social distance at a site in downtown Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Friday, Sept. 4. If you have a news tip or question, email us at

Austin Public Health reports four new deaths linked to the coronavirus

Austin Public Health reported 128 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Friday, up from 104 reported yesterday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 78. Four more deaths were reported, bringing the county’s death total to 393.

There are now 128 people reported hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), one fewer than yesterday. APH reported 21 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Friday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 19, up from 18.

The area is in stage 3 of APH’s risk-based guidelines. At this level, people are encouraged to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

Austin ISD extends free curbside meals through the end of the year

The Austin Independent School District will continue to provide free curbside meals through Dec. 31 for children under 19 and those who are older but using special education resources or completing requirements for a diploma.  

Students who are not attending in-person classes can pick up breakfast and lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, at more than 40 sites throughout Austin. Parents or caregivers can pick up meals without their children present provided they have a birth certificate for the child or documentation that they are enrolled in AISD. Meals will not be available on Labor Day Monday.

In-person learners will receive meals on campus.  

Austin ISD will also provide free meals to the adults accompanying children or with documentation of the children they are picking meals up for through Sept. 11

For more information, go here.

U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association to host free COVID-19 testing event

Construction workers can get a free coronavirus test and personal protective equipment Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Reicher Road.

The U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association de Austin is sponsoring the event in partnership with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Austin Latino Coalition and Tito’s Vodka.  

Most Travis County parks have reopened ahead of the Labor Day weekend

All Travis County parks have reopened, except for Cypress Creek Park, Sandy Creek Park, Hamilton Pool Preserve and athletic fields, the county said Friday.

The parks are limiting capacity and amenities because of the pandemic, so people are encouraged to check the parks website before visiting. Visitors are asked to wear face masks, practice social distancing and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. The parks will close if they reach capacity.  

St. David’s launches texting service to keep families informed on patients’ status in surgery

St. David’s HealthCare has launched an automated texting service to keep surgical patients’ family members updated on the surgery. It’s a way for patients and families to stay connected in a time when hospitals are following strict safety standards because of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Ken Mitchell, chief medical officer, said in a press release.

“We understand the importance of receiving frequent, real-time communication during a loved one’s surgery, and this tool allows families to receive the latest information in the safest way possible,” he said.

Available in Spanish and English, the service can be accessed by several family members using a unique code. Those who subscribe to the service will be texted when the surgery begins, when the patient leaves the operating room to recover and when the patient is ready for outpatient services or ready to be discharged.

You can sign up here.

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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