COVID-19 Latest: Abbott Extends Statewide Disaster Declaration

Sep 7, 2020

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Monday, Sept. 7. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

Abbott extends statewide disaster declaration

Gov. Greg Abbott extended his disaster declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19 on Monday.

The declaration, which he originally issued March 13, allows the state to access a variety of resources as it tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"Renewing this Disaster Declaration helps ensure that we have the resources and strategies in place to help communities across Texas respond to COVID-19," Abbott said in a press release. "I urge Texans to take precautionary steps to protect their health by wearing a mask, social distancing, and sanitizing their hands. Working together, we will slow the spread and keep our communities safe.”

The proclamation can be found here.

Travis County’s COVID-19-related death total nears 400

Austin Public Health reported 69 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Monday, up from 38 reported Sunday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 75. One more death was reported, bringing the county’s death total to 395.

There are now 127 people reported to be hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), three more than yesterday. APH reported a total of 15 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Monday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 19, up slightly from 18.6.

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

Austin ISD expands use of WiFi-enabled buses

The Austin Independent School District is expanding the hours buses will provide free internet access to students as the school year begins.

Starting Tuesday, the WiFi buses will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The service will continue through Oct. 5, when the district plans to start a gradual phasing-in of in-person classes.

AISD is also doubling the number of buses going out. They will be parked in neighborhoods where need is the greatest. Go here to find a map of locations.

Travis County sees 115 cases over the weekend and one death

Austin Public Health reported 115 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County over the weekend — 77 on Saturday and 38 on Sunday. One more death was reported, bringing the county’s death total to 394.

On Sunday evening, 124 people were reported to be hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell). On Saturday, there were 129.

There were 40 new COVID-19 hospital admissions reported in the region over the weekend — 22 on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. The seven-day average of new hospital admissions is 18.6. The average has hovered around 18 for the last week. 

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

Virtual classes begin for AISD tomorrow

Tuesday is the first day of virtual classes for the Austin Independent School District. Students will spend the first four weeks of school learning remotely.

Some students who need specialized help may be allowed on campus on a case-by-case basis. Only 25% of teachers and staff will allowed within each school building the first two weeks. That increases to 50% by weeks three and four. Starting Oct. 6, families can choose between on-campus learning or continuing remote learning.

High school students can choose a hybrid model – a mix of remote and on-campus classes. AISD says it plans to phase-in students who choose in-person learning between Oct. 6 and Nov. 2. Find out more at AustinISD.org.

COVID-19 Dashboards

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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