Austin Public Health

A field hospital is set up at the Austin Convention Center to handle coronavirus patients if hospitals in the area get overwhelmed.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Public Health officials say Austin and Travis County residents have done a great job to help lower COVID-19 numbers over the last few weeks, but caution there is still a lot to be done – especially with colleges and schools reopening in the coming weeks.

People gather in front of the Austin Police Department on May 30 to protest racism and police brutality.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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As COVID-19 hospitalizes Latino and Black people in Austin at disproportionate rates, the Austin City Council on Wednesday deemed racism a public health crisis.

Austin Public Health says a pool of mosquitoes in Central Austin has tested postive for West Nile Virus.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

A pool of mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus has been detected in Central Austin, health officials announced Thursday. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Hospitalizations for the coronavirus in Austin-Travis County are plateauing, local public health officials said Wednesday.

At a news briefing, Dr. Jason Pickett, the city’s alternate health authority, described the leveling off as a “glimmer of hope,” but said it’s too early to tell if that trend will continue.

People cross the Lady Bird Lake pedestrian bridge under MoPac Expressway on July 1.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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With average daily hospitalizations in the Austin metro area ticking above a key threshold of 70 per day Tuesday, public health officials are weighing whether to recommend the region move to stage 5 of their “risk-based guidelines.” The guidelines at that stage call for closing all but essential workplaces and having even low-risk individuals avoid gatherings outside the household.

Demonstrators protested outside the Capitol and governor's mansion Tuesday calling for the reopening of bars.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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With Travis County on the cusp of exceeding 10,000 total cases of coronavirus, local public health officials are pleading with Austinites to stay home for the Fourth of July holiday and help slow the growth of a disease that has hospitals on track to exceed capacity by mid-July.

CommUnityCare conducts drive-thru COVID-19 testing in Hancock Center.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, health officials say Austin is at the precipice of a spike in COVID-19 cases that could lead to another full shutdown of businesses and social activity.

A sign at the entrance of Austin Public Health's drive-thru testing site in North Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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As Texas sees record spikes in new coronavirus cases, Austin and Travis County's accounting for infections is lagging. A record-breaking surge in cases is partly to blame, but there's another culprit: the fax machine.

A mobile coronavirus testing site off I-35.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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People without internet access can now call a hotline to sign up for a free COVID-19 test. Those without transportation can soon get tested at home.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Austin and Travis County are renewing their stay-at-home orders as the area sees an upward trend in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Michael Minasi / KUT

The recent spike in new confirmed COVID-19 cases is not related to the string of protests against police brutality across the city in the last two weeks, Austin Public Health's top doctor said.

Demonstrators face off with law enforcement in downtown Austin in solidarity with nationwide demonstrations and protests in honor of George Floyd of Minneapolis and, locally, Mike Ramos.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

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Austin Public Health officials say people who participated in recent large gatherings — like protests against police violence — should sign up to get tested for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms.

The city is expanding eligibility for people without symptoms to get tested for free at drive-thru sites.

Michael Minasi / KUT

There have been 500 new cases of coronavirus in the Austin area in the past eight days, Austin Public Health officials said Wednesday.

Janet Pichette, APH chief epidemiologist, said the source of that spike can be attributed to businesses reopening and capacity expansions, coupled with recent holidays.

A mobile coronavirus testing site off I-35 in North Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin Public Health says it’s going to launch mobile COVID-19 testing sites in Austin and Travis County to target populations that are disproportionately impacted by the virus. 

A sign in front of the reopened Revelry Kitchen + Bar says, "No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service."
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Public Health said it can administer 1,750 COVID-19 tests per day at its drive-thru testing site, but only 200 to 350 people are being tested each day.

CommUnityCare conducts drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the Hancock Center.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Latinx communities in Austin have been hard-hit by the coronavirus. Latinx patients account for nearly two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Austin area, and at some sites they are nearly four times more likely to test positive for the coronavirus. 

Officials said Wednesday they're forming a task force to address that disparity, which was news to the Latinx advocates who called for one in the first place.

Texas has deemed construction work as essential and allowed it to continue during the coronavirus pandemic. Austin Public Health requires workers to wear face coverings, practice good hygiene and have their temperature screened daily at constructon sites.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin Public Health officials say they’re still crunching the numbers, but their investigations so far show construction joins long-term care facilities, health care and grocery stores as the industries hit hardest locally by COVID-19. The officials say they are still working to determine exactly how many cases have originated and spread from construction sites.

But they claim that number may be hard to pin down.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations is nearly double among the Latinx population in Austin and Travis County, health officials say.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

At least 335 positive COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths have been reported among staff and residents of Austin-area nursing homes and long-term care facilities. But testing levels remain low, and health officials say they don't have a good estimate of how many tests would be needed for that entire population.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday that some Texas businesses like restaurants can reopen with limited capacity Friday. Austin Public Health had been thinking about making a similar move – just not so fast.

An employee takes down information at a drive-thru coronavirus clinic at the CommUNITYCare at the Hancock Center.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

More than 500 of the 1,800 people who’ve signed up for Austin Public Health’s testing enrollment form met the criteria needed to warrant a COVID-19 test.

The Austin skyline during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Public Health says it’s investigating nine clusters of COVID-19 in the Austin-Travis County area. One was recognized last week at The Salvation Army's downtown Austin shelter, and the others are among eight senior living communities or long-term care facilities, the city said in a press release Sunday evening. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

City officials say they are preparing to increase the number of hospital beds in the area in case there is a surge of COVID-19 patients overwhelming existing hospitals.

Workers handle paperwork at a drive-thru coronavirus screening site at CommUNITYCare Clinic at the Hancock Center in Austin last month.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As Austin tries to track down those who’ve come in contact with the 502 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, the interim health authority and public health medical director said it’s hard to draw a clear line between many of the cases.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The interim health authority for Austin-Travis County says he expects a recommendation for Austinites to wear fabric face coverings when they're outside the home to become a requirement.

An Austin Public Health sign explains ways to prevent the spread of disease.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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.

 A line of shoppers waits to enter Costco in South Austin during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez C. Pérez / KUT

New rules went into effect in Austin on Saturday night to enforce social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Families sit on blankets during KUTX's Rock the Park at Mueller Lake Park last fall.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin has banned events with more than 250 attendees in an effort to stave off the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

City and health officials gather at City Hall on March 6 to announce South by Southwest's closure.
Julia Reihs / KUT

The city is sharing additional details on the first confirmed coronavirus cases in Central Texas, Friday morning. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Three presumptive positive cases of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 were confirmed in Austin on Friday, city health officials said. The cases are the first confirmed in Central Texas.

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