COVID-19 June 11 Updates: Austin Area Sees 23 New Hospitalizations, Hays Numbers Called 'Staggering'

Jun 11, 2020

Here's the latest news on COVID-19 in Central Texas for Thursday, June 11. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

Epidemiologist Calls Number Of New COVID-19 Cases In Hays County 'Staggering'

The Hays County Local Health Department reported 82 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the county’s total active cases to 306.  

“We know today’s COVID-19 numbers are staggering,” epidemiologist Eric Schneider said. “This latest report shows the virus is spreading rapidly [among people] in the 20-29-year-old range. That age group accounted for 42% of today’s cases.” 

Schneider is awaiting results on 61 more tests. Throughout the county, there have been 574 lab-confirmed cases since the pandemic started. Many of those individuals are now considered recovered.  

129 New Cases Reported In Travis County 

For the fourth day in a row, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Travis County is in the triple digits. Austin Public Health officials reported 129 new cases Thursday evening, a number slightly below Wednesday’s 133.

Two more deaths were reported, bringing the total number of COVID-19-related deaths in the county to 101. 

There were 23 new hospital admissions in the Austin MSA on Thursday, one fewer than the day before. The seven-day average of new hospitalizations increased to 14.8. Public health officials say that average needs to remain under 20, otherwise the area will move from stage 3 to stage 4 of its COVID-19 risk-based guidelines and more restrictions would be needed. 

Hays County To Offer Free COVID-19 Testing  

The City of San Marcos will be offering free COVID-19 testing as part of the governor's new initiative to test underserved communities. Appointments are not required, and residents can expect results within 10-25 days.

Bonham Pre-K School, 1225 TX-123, will have two drive-thru lanes and a walk-up line on Sunday, June 14, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  

Residents can also get tested Saturday, June 20, at Bowie Elementary, 4020 Monterrey Oak, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

The tests will be administered with the help of the Texas National Guard.  

Here are more free and mobile testing locations throughout Hays County next week: 

  • Simon Middle School, 3839 East FM 150, Kyle – Wednesday, June 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. 
  • Uhland Elementary, 2331 High Road, Uhland – Thursday, June 18 from 4 to 8 p.m. 
  • McCormick Middle School, 5700 Dacy Lane, Buda – Friday, June 19 from 4 to 8 p.m. 

New Evictions In Travis County Banned Until July 25

In an order issued today, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe banned the start of new evictions until July 25. That brings the county ban nearly in line with the City of Austin’s order banning landlords from starting the eviction process until July 26. That process begins when a "notice to vacate" is posted on a renter’s door.

Eviction hearings are going ahead in Travis County courts, although many of these represent evictions filed months ago, before the current protections.

Austin Leaders Warn About Growing Number Of COVID-19 Hospitalizations 

After three straight days of triple-digit spikes in the number of new coronavirus cases, officials in Austin say the growing number of hospitalizations is the more concerning upward trend.

The city is currently in stage 3 of its COVID-19 risk-based guidelines, which are based on the seven-day average of new hospital admissions. To stay in this stage, Austin-Travis County has to stay under an average of 20 hospitalizations. 

On Wednesday, there were a record 24 new hospitalizations. That brought the seven-day average to 13, the highest since the pandemic began.

Interim Austin Public Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said the rising hospitalizations are not a result of increased testing, as some have suggested.

“The reflection on new hospitalizations suggests that’s not the case,” he said. “The other thing that suggests it’s not the case is that our percent positive of [COVID] tests has also doubled.”

Read more from KUT’s Jerry Quijano.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler Says He’s Concerned About Recent Jump In Cases

If the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations goes above 20, the Austin area will reach a higher risk level and need to put in place more restrictions.

“I’m concerned,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said during a Facebook Live video Wednesday night. “I’m concerned that if we stayed at 24, then we’re on a path for hospitals being overwhelmed. I hope that number goes back down.”

​Like Escott, Adler says he’s worried many people are starting to become too relaxed about things like wearing a face covering and social distancing. 

UT Austin Football Players Test Positive For COVID-19

The university confirmed two Longhorn football players tested positive for the coronavirus and another player tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody. 

This comes after 58 players resumed practice this week. Texas Athletics says one player was tested before arriving on the UT campus because he showed symptoms during the pre-screening process. 

The other two players were tested after arriving on campus and are currently self-isolating. 

Thousands More Texans Apply For Unemployment 

New numbers out this morning show just over 89,700 Texans applied for unemployment benefits last week. That's about 17,000 fewer new claims than the week before. 

Since mid-March, when the coronavirus pandemic started hitting the Texas economy hard, just over 2,6 million Texans have applied for first-time unemployment benefits.

YMCA And Central Texas Food Bank To Provide Meals For Children This Summer

The YMCA of Austin and the Central Texas Food Bank will begin providing free weekly meals to kids throughout the summer at two locations. 

Starting Thursday, children 18 years old or younger can receive seven breakfast and seven lunch meal packs. Parents can pick up food if they either bring their child or present documentation like a report card or birth certificate. 

Food will be handed out Thursday mornings at the East Communities YMCA at 8 a.m. and the North Austin YMCA at 9 a.m. Meal distributions end Aug. 13. 

What's happening statewide? Check out special coverage from KERA for North Texas, Houston Public MediaTexas Public Radio in San Antonio and Marfa Public Radio.

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