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COVID-19 Latest: 4,000 People Have Applied For Austin's Rent Assistance Program Since August

A sign outside a home in Austin's Cherrywood neighborhood calls for an end to evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez
A sign outside a home in Austin's Cherrywood neighborhood calls for an end to evictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Wednesday, Sept. 9. If you have a news tip or question, email us at

COVID-19 hospitalizations drop below 100 in five-county region

Austin Public Health reported 82 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Wednesday, down from 86 reported Tuesday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 83. No new deaths were reported.

There are now 99 people reported to be hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop and Caldwell), down from 122 yesterday. Despite that net decrease, APH reported nine new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Wednesday. The seven-day average of hospital admissions is 17.9, down from 18.4.

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.

Taylor loosens restrictions on social gatherings in public spaces

The City of Taylor reopened public spaces Wednesday as it moved from high (orange) to moderate (yellow) risk in its color-coded reopening plan. That means several parks and the public library reopened, and social gatherings of up to 25 people are now allowed.

​"Taylor has probably been a bit of an outlier, in that we were not as quick to reopen," Mayor Brandt Rydell said. "To me it was critically important that any decision in terms of reopening be made in close consultation and with guidance from our public health professionals."  

Phase yellow also allows for events like sports to resume at city facilities with limited capacity and safety plans in place. 

Find out more about the color-coded system here

4,000 residents apply for City of Austin’s rent assistance program

The City of Austin will do a second lottery drawing of tenants next week to see who will get rent help.

Four thousand renters have already applied since the city opened a rent assistance program in August. Of those who’ve applied, more than half have been women and 20% have been Black. 

“We are seeing a number of indications that people applying for this assistance are falling in line with the characteristics of what would describe households that are vulnerable to displacement,” said Nefertitti Jackmon, who’s with the city’s housing department.

To qualify, applicants have to prove they’ve been financially affected by the pandemic and that they currently make less than 80% of the median family income. For a family of four, that amounts to $78,000 per year.

To apply, visit

— Audrey McGlinchy

Baylor postpones first football game due to COVID-19

Baylor University's football season opener against Louisiana Tech, scheduled for Saturday in Waco, has been postponed due to concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Louisiana Tech officials reported one positive COVID-19 case a few weeks before Hurricane Laura in late August. But the university's case count increased after the storm passed and players returned to campus. 

“With 95 percent of our city losing power for days – even up to a week in many areas – our student-athletes were forced to find places to stay and some even had family from south Louisiana that came northward to stay with them,” Louisiana Tech Director of Athletics Tommy McClelland said. 

Both teams have agreed to monitor dates and potentially make up the game later this season. Baylor now opens the season against Kansas on Sept. 26.

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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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