This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Tuesday, Oct. 6. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.
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Travis County sees 95 new cases and four more deaths
Austin Public Health reported 95 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Tuesday, up from 58 reported Monday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 76. Four more deaths were reported, bringing the county’s death total to 434.
There are now 85 people reported to be hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), seven more than yesterday. APH reported a total of 17 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Tuesday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 14, up from 13.
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.
Pflugerville and Round Rock high schools put football on pause after staffers test positive
In the third week of the season, the Weiss High School football team in Pflugerville has decided to postpone its next two games after a faculty member tested positive for COVID-19.
The Pflugerville Independent School District released a statement Tuesday saying the games are being delayed “out of an abundance of caution, to limit exposure.”
A letter went out to Weiss parents and staff Sunday, and the district said anyone who came into close contact with the individual is required to quarantine for 14 days. District officials will meet Wednesday to decide when the games will be rescheduled.
The Pflugerville ISD COVID-19 dashboard shows the district has had a total of 19 cases among staff and students.
Weiss is the second Central Texas football team this week to put its season on hold because of positive COVID-19 cases. The Stony Point High School football team in Round Rock is under a two-week quarantine after a staff member who was in close contact tested positive.
Round Rock Independent School District sent a letter to Stony Point staff and families Monday alerting them of the positive case. The district said students and staff members who had close contact with the person who tested positive will be directly notified by public health officials. The letter said operations at the high school will “continue as usual.”
The Round Rock ISD COVID-19 dashboard reflects 26 total cases among students and staff. The data was last updated Friday and indicates Stony Point has had four cumulative cases at the school.
– Allyson Ortegon
Austin City Limits releases lineup for virtual festival
Austin City Limits is going virtual this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers released the lineup on Tuesday, which features a number of ACL performances from past festivals and some original programming.
ACL will stream the performances for free on its YouTube channel Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The lineup includes Billie Eilish’s 2019 performance, LCD Soundsystem’s 2010 performance and Paul McCartney’s 2018 performance, as well as new performances by Black Pumas, Jackie Venson and others.
— ACL Festival (@aclfestival) October 6, 2020
Escott updates Travis County commissioners on COVID-19 spread in schools
COVID-19 is spreading in Austin schools, but not as drastically as health officials had anticipated. Austin Public Health's interim Medical Director Dr. Mark Escott told county leaders today that the spread has been – at least for now – attributed to extracurricular activities.
Escott told Travis County commissioners that, yes, the virus is spreading as a result of schools reopening, but it hasn't been an "explosion"; the spread is happening in "pockets."
Still, Escott said there have been a few events that have resulted in coronavirus clusters. One cluster is the result of a high school party that resulted in five people testing positive for COVID-19. He said 58 people are now in quarantine because they were in close contact with those patients.
"This is an important reminder right now as we move toward the fall and we get close to the holidays – Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas – that large gatherings like that are still dangerous," Escott said.
Austin Public Health data from last week suggests as many as 25 cases among students, faculty and staff were transmitted at Austin-area schools. That number is likely to increase within the next 10 days or so, after APH gets a better look at whether school openings this week contributed to community spread.
– Andrew Weber
Austin ISD shifts from daily to weekly meal pickup
Starting this week, Austin ISD will switch its free curbside meal distribution program from daily to weekly to help families save time.
Starting Thursday, students can receive seven breakfast and seven lunch meals at more than 40 AISD campuses throughout the day. The district is offering three pick-up times to give families more options.
Meals will be available between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Find more information here.
Mayor Adler says he's worried Gov. Abbott will reopen bars soon
Austin Mayor Steve Adler says he's worried that Gov. Greg Abbott is considering reopening bars soon as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
In a tweet Monday, Abbott said Texans have kept COVID-19 under control and that he will "be announcing more openings soon." The tweet includes a video of two beer mugs clinking together, hinting that bars could be included in those reopening plans.
Adler said he's concerned about opening bars because it's harder to remember to practice social distancing when drinking. He said bars are different than restaurants because people walk around, they don't stay in one area.
"I hope that if the governor opens up bars more widely that he insists on those kinds of rules so that the bar patrons are sitting at the table or getting served or that they're wearing masks when they go up to the bar to get an order of drinks and then they go back to their table," the mayor said.
Adler urges people to continue wearing masks and maintain social distancing so officials can open up more places without risking lives.
Georgetown will have free testing this week and next
Georgetown will have free, walk-up COVID-19 testing Wednesday through Sunday and Oct.14-16.
All testing will be conducted at the Georgetown Community Center, 445 E. Morrow Street, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until supplies last. Appointments are not needed.
The tests will be done using a cheek swab, so people cannot eat, drink or use tobacco products 20 minutes prior. The site is open to all Texans, not just Williamson County residents.
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