This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Tuesday, Sept. 15. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.
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Travis County sees 185 new cases and five more deaths
Austin Public Health reported 185 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Tuesday, up from 75 reported Monday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 120, up from 105. Five new deaths were reported, bringing the county’s death total to 412.
There are now 86 people reported to be hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), seven fewer than yesterday. Despite that net decrease, APH reported 11 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Tuesday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 14, down 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.
New dashboard from UT Austin tracks COVID-19 impact across state
UT Austin has created a new COVID-19 dashboard to provide statewide projections of how quickly the disease is spreading. The new tool is similar to what UT is using to help Austin and Travis County officials make policy decisions. The hope is that it will help other areas in the state determine a course of action if conditions worsen where they are.
Generally speaking, hospitalizations are trending lower, but if gathering and mask restrictions are loosened statewide, UT epidemiologist Lauren Ancel Meyers says, it will be important for officials to understand what they could be up against.
“The spread of this virus, the threat to our communities, the threat to our health care systems, really depends on the decisions that we make, the policies that we enact,” she said. "You can see this as you look back through time and you think about the ups and downs in the transmission rate and the hospitalizations.”
UT’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium estimates that around 15% of Texans have been infected with COVID-19.
— Jimmy Maas
C3 Presents teases an online ACL Fest for 2020
ACL Festival organizers say they're putting together a virtual event this year in light of the coronavirus. The fall festival typically draws hundreds of thousands of fans to Zilker Park over two weekends, but this year's outing was canceled due to COVID-19.
During a HAAM Day livestream Tuesday morning, Emmet Beliveau of C3 Presents said the festival's organizers are prepping an online iteration of the festival.
"We won't be gathering together here in Zilker Park for the Austin City Limits Music Festival next month," he said. "But we are working on a very special virtual festival weekend for all of you."
Beliveau said details would be forthcoming. This year's in-person festival was officially canceled in July, though C3 expects to go ahead with an in-person festival next year.
– Andrew Weber
HAAM hosts virtual fundraiser to help Austin musicians access affordable health care
The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or HAAM, which helps musicians in Central Texas access affordable health care, is launching its annual fundraiser Tuesday. HAAM Day – which has been moved online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic – will feature live music performances all day to raise money.
HAAM hopes to receive more than $600,000 in donations that'll go toward resources including primary care, dental care and mental health services. HAAM’s senior development officer Rikki Hardy said this year’s fundraiser provides more opportunity for musicians to get involved.
“If you recall in the past, HAAM Day was 240-plus musicians playing all over town, and sometimes we would run out of places for them to play to be honest, and so this is the first year where if a musician wants to be a part of HAAM Day, they can do it,” Hardy said.
Four hours of the city-wide event will be broadcasted on Fox 7. More information can be found here.
— Dani Matias
Passenger traffic at Austin airport was down 75% in July
Passenger traffic at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is slowly rebounding after steep declines prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic — but there’s still a long way to go to get to a full recovery.
Passenger traffic was down 75% in July compared to July 2019. And from January to July, traffic was down close to 59% compared to the same time last year.
JetBlue, Frontier and Delta airlines saw the steepest declines in July. The drop in passenger volume has a direct impact on the airport’s finances, leading to cuts and delays in some projects. It’s also meant companies that provide food and retail services have had to lay off employees or cut hours. And the airlines themselves say without more federal assistance, even more of their employees will be laid off.
In a bright spot, air cargo traffic actually increased by 37% in July, matching a trend at other airports.
— Samuel King
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