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COVID-19 Latest: Health Officials Are Distributing Masks And Hand Sanitizer This Week

A pedestrian walks along South Congress Avenue wearing a face covering.
Gabriel C. Pérez
A pedestrian walks along South Congress Avenue wearing a face covering.

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Wednesday, Sept. 23. If you have a news tip or question, email us at

Travis County sees 102 new cases and two new deaths

Austin Public Health reported 102 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Wednesday, up from 47 reported Tuesday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 92. Two more deaths were reported, bringing the county’s death total to 417.

There are now 86 people reported to be hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), down from 93 yesterday. APH reported a total of nine new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Wednesday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 16, up from 15.

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.

Emergency relief food distribution happening tomorrow

The Central Texas Food Bank is distributing food Thursday to families financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emergency food boxes will be loaded directly into vehicles. Drivers are reminded to clear space in their trunks before arriving. Walk-ups are not allowed.

The drive-thru event will be held at Toney Burger Stadium at 3200 Jones Road from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. People are asked to arrive at the north side of the facility, from the eastbound Hwy 290 frontage road.

Drive-thru flu shot clinic opens in North Austin

Austin Diagnostic Clinic is offering flu shots for adults at a drive-thru clinic now through October. ADC says the shots are free with most major insurance plans and Medicare.

Health officials have been urging people to get the vaccination as flu season approaches and the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Contracting both illnesses at once could lead to more severe symptoms. Last flu season, ICUs in the Austin area were almost at capacity — and that was before COVID-19 came into the mix.

ADC’s drive-thru flu shot clinic is at the south entrance of St. David’s North Austin Medical Center (facing the MoPac service road). Shots are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are given out on a first come, first served basis. Patients are encouraged, but not required, to call 512-901-1111 in advance to register and get faster service.

Health officials are distributing masks and hand sanitizer this week

Free masks, hand sanitizer and educational materials are being distributed today from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Juan Navarro High School at 1201 Payton Gin Road.

The City of Austin, CommUnityCare and Central Health have been hosting these distributions in neighborhoods with high COVID-19 positivity rates for weeks now.

Another distribution is happening Thursday morning at Manor City Hall and Saturday in Del Valle. More information can be found here.

Visitation rules for some nursing homes expanding Thursday

Gov. Greg Abbott’s new visitation rules for some nursing home facilities take effect tomorrow. The changes will apply to assisted living and intermediate care facilities, and inpatient hospice.

Patients will now be allowed up to two essential family caregivers who’ll receive training to enter a facility for a scheduled visit. The caregiver can be a family member, friend or other individual.

They will not be required to socially distance, but only one caregiver is allowed inside at a time. 

Read more about the updated rules at

Lake Travis ISD’s deadline to switch learning preferences is tomorrow

Lake Travis ISD families have until Thursday to change their student's learning preference as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The district allowed in-person learners to return to campus in two phases this month.

Students now have the option of switching from virtual instruction to in-person learning or vice versa. School officials ask students who choose online learning to commit until the next grading period.

The transition will happen Oct. 13. The instructional status change form can be found here.

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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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