COVID-19 Latest: UT Adds New Rules For Home Football Games As 42 More Students Test Positive

Sep 3, 2020

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Thursday, Sept. 3. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

Travis County sees 104 new cases and one more death

Austin Public Health reported 104 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Thursday, up from 59 reported yesterday. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 70. One more death was reported, bringing the county’s death total to 389.

There are now 129 people reported hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), four more than yesterday. APH reported 26 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Thursday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 18, up slightly from 17.9.

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.

CommUnityCare opens long-term COVID-19 testing site on Burleson Road

Central Health, the local health care district, and CommUnityCare Health Centers have opened a new drive-thru COVID-19 site in Southeast Travis County, at 7019 Burleson Road.

Unlike CommUnityCare’s other eastern Travis County testing sites that operate on a rotating basis throughout the week, this one will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We picked this site because we can serve uninsured residents in communities where we’ve seen high COVID-19 positivity rates, like Del Valle, Montopolis and Dove Springs,” Central Health President and CEO Mike Geeslin said in a press release. “We want to make COVID-19 testing more sustainable and increase testing capacity, and the Burleson Road location does both.”

The site replaces CommUnityCare’s testing location at Southeast Metropolitan Park.

The Burleson Road site will be able to test up to 200 people per day. It is located in a “large, modern warehouse space,” according to the press release, protecting operations from heat and other weather changes. People can drive inside the warehouse and remain in their cars while being tested.

The administrators say they hope the site will be a “testing hub” for Southeast Travis County, like CommUnityCare’s Hancock testing site is for Central Austin. They noted the site is accessible by Capital Metro bus routes 228 and 311.

UT Austin unveils more rules for home football games; 42 new student cases reported Wednesday

UT Austin has released more rules for home football games as 42 new COVID-19 cases among students were reported by the university Wednesday.

Game day crowds will be limited to 25% stadium capacity, the university said. Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium has the capacity for around 100,000 people.

Tailgating on and around campus is prohibited all season. Pre-game activities like Bevo Boulevard have been canceled and all in-stadium transactions will be cashless. The Longhorn Band will not perform at UT's home game against UT-El Paso on Sept. 12, but a decision has not been made for later games.

There have been 72 student cases reported since classes started last week. The university does not report any cases among staff and faculty since classes resumed.

SmileDirectClub backs out of plans for $36 million facility in Kyle because of pandemic

SmileDirectClub will no longer be opening a large dental manufacturing plant in Kyle. The company was planning to invest at least $36 million in the facility, but now says it's canceling the plans because of the pandemic.

The facility would have created about 850 jobs, the city says. SmileDirectClub was going to receive a $2.2 million grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund and would have been eligible for $3.3 million in incentives from the city and Hays County.

SmileDirectClub, a teeth-straightening company based in Nashville, told KVUE the pandemic has significantly impacted the business and the virus has made it unfeasible for employees to safely travel to Texas to oversee the project.    

It had been expected to open in February 2020, but the project was never completed. The 150,000-square-foot facility the company was leasing at the Hays Logistics Center is back on the market, the city says.

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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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