This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Thursday, Aug. 13. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.
- Do you think you have the coronavirus? Here's how to get tested.
- How to get help (and help) in Austin
- Find mental health support
- Track the spread in Texas
- Sign up for coronavirus email alerts
Fifteen more people die from COVID-19 in Travis County
Austin Public Health reported 297 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Thursday, up from 172 reported yesterday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 209. APH reported 15 new coronavirus-related deaths – a record for a single day. A total of 328 people in Travis County have now died from complications related to the virus.
There are now reportedly 263 people hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), down from 275 on Wednesday. Despite that net decrease, APH reported 32 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Thursday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 32.9, up slightly from 32.7.
Local officials worry about the coronavirus overwhelming hospitals, so they’re keeping an eye on that average and adjusting restrictions based on it and other factors, like ICU and ventilator capacities. An average below 40 could push the region down to stage 3 of APH’s risk-based guidelines, but officials have recommended the area remain in stage 4, the second-highest level, for now.
Austin to reopen certain recreational facilities this weekend
Some park amenities and facilities are reopening in Austin starting Saturday.
After consulting with Austin Public Health and city leaders, the Parks and Recreation Department said it has determined the following can reopen safely:
- Boat launches
- Boat docks
- Tennis centers
- Golf courses
- Boating concessions
- Clay shooting concessions
- Food concessions
- The Umlauf Sculpture Garden
The facilities will have to operate at a reduced capacity and adhere to social distancing and cleaning protocols, the department said. If the COVID-19 situation gets worse, these facilities and amenities will close again, it said.
More information on park closures can be found here.
Williamson County allows outdoor gatherings of more than 10 in some parts
Outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people will be allowed in unincorporated areas of Williamson County starting Thursday at 5 p.m.
At this week’s Commissioners Court meeting, County Judge Bill Gravell endorsed the change as a start to reopening parts of the county.
Gov. Greg Abbott's order permits mayors and county judges to allow gatherings of more than 10 people, with restrictions. The gatherings must comply with the order requiring face coverings in public spaces.
“I trust that the residents of Williamson County understand the seriousness of COVID-19 and know the precautions that are necessary to protect their health,” Gravell said. “If we continue to use mitigation measures, such as wearing face coverings and washing our hands often, we can safely be able to participate in life events. These gatherings will not be as they once were, but we need to celebrate weddings, and unfortunately, we need to be able to bury family members with the support of our family around us.”
People within a city’s limits in the county will still have to abide by their city’s regulations regarding outdoor gatherings.
Technical issue delays start of the school year for Leander ISD high school students
Leander ISD has canceled today's scheduled start of the school year for high school students because of a problem impacting the internet connection on laptops from the district.
Chromebooks and personal devices aren't affected, so elementary and middle school students will start the school year today as scheduled. All Leander ISD students are attending school virtually through Labor Day.
The school district says it will be able to make the needed technology updates over the weekend, allowing high school classes to start Monday.
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