COVID-19 Live Updates: ATX For ATX Campaign Shares Stories Of Support During Crisis

6 hours ago

We'll be updating this story throughout the day Tuesday with the latest local news on the coronavirus pandemic. If you'd like to go through a roundup of COVID-19 news from Monday, read it here. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

Update at 10:53 a.m. — Austin Sobering Center will house homeless Austinites at-risk of COVID-19

City and county officials have set aside hotel rooms and the Austin Sobering Center to quarantine or isolate homeless Austinites who have or present symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

With the approval of Travis County commissioners, the Sobering Center will immediately divert its operations toward the quarantine effort. 

Following social distancing guidelines, the center would house no more than 15 people who are at high risk of COVID-19, but have tested negative.

The city has finalized or is finalizing agreements to increase shelter capacity as well, by using hotel rooms to quarantine or isolate homeless people who have COVID-19 symptoms.

Read more from KUT's Andrew Weber here.

Update at 6 a.m. — ATX for ATX campaign shares stories of support during COVID-19 crisis

Austin and Travis County are spearheading a campaign that spotlights community efforts to help one other during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

They’re asking residents to share stories over social media with the hashtag #ATXforATX and on the website SpeakUp Austin! By sharing stories, the campaign aims to help connect people in need with information and resources throughout the community.

“Whether you are helping as an individual, with friends, neighbors, as part of a community of faith, or a business, please share your stories to inform, empower and inspire,” the website says. “No act is too small or too big. We’re all in this together, just six feet apart. ATX for ATX.”

The website currently showcases several community efforts, like Tito’s Handmade Vodka making and donating hand sanitizer and local groups sewing masks to aid health care workers. 

Update at 6 a.m. — Bastrop County announces ‘stay home and stay safe’ order

A stay-at-home order goes into effect for Bastrop County on Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. The order is set to last through April 30.

The order asks residents to “stay home and stay safe” from COVID-19. It limits social gatherings to no more than 10 people, requires stores to implement procedures that help limit the spread of the virus and puts purchasing limits on certain items such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

The county’s Office of Emergency Management posted the full order on its Facebook page. There are six confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county, officials say. 

Catch up on what happened yesterday

Austin Public Health is setting up facilities to house nursing home patients with COVID-19

Austin Public Health announced Monday that its new nursing home task force is setting up sites to house nursing home residents who test positive for COVID-19. The city says these isolation facilities will give COVID-19 patients who don’t need hospitalization a safe place to recover while staying away from other nursing home residents and staff.

Dr. Liam Fry, who leads the nursing home task force, said the goal is to prevent outbreaks in nursing homes that other areas, like Washington, have experienced. 

Two nursing home residents in the community tested positive for the disease late last week, according to the city, and officials are investigating how the patients, who are hospitalized, were exposed. 

While the number of affected nursing home patients may be low now, Fry said she doesn’t expect it to stay that way.

Other local coronavirus news from Monday:

  • A federal judge has temporarily blocked Texas’ ban on abortions during the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
  • Austin ISD is now allowing parents to pick up meals without their children being present in the car. Previously, a child had to be with the parent to receive a meal through the meal pickup program.
  • The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will automatically renew SNAP – the federal food assistance program – and Medicaid benefits, so existing clients can continue coverage during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • An Austin Police Department employee has tested positive for COVID-19.

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