Breaking News
More () »

Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis County reports 8 more COVID-19 deaths, 753 new cases

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Wednesday, July 8.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest updates, check out our new blog here.

KVUE is keeping you updated with the latest coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, news in the Austin area.

Scroll down for the top headlines and latest updates in KVUE's July 8 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 210,500 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 2,700 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. More than 108,400 people have recovered.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: Over 13,100 cases have been reported and at least 159 people have died. At least 9,837 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: Over 3,200 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 10 people have died. At least 581 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 3,100 cases have been reported in the county and at least 46 people have died. More than 970 people have recovered from the virus.

Top headlines:

Latest updates:

8 p.m. – Austin Mayor Steve Adler says he's concerned about the fact that more hospitalized patients are using ventilators.

"Ventilators are running higher numbers than that seven-day running average. It's an indication, a reminder that this is still a very serious disease," Adler said during his regular "Got a Minute?" segment.

Got a Minute? -- Wednesday, July 8

We don’t agree on everything, but it’s always a good conversation. Tonight, Bob Cole of KOKE-FM drops in to Got a Minute to explain why his experience with COVID-19 was a wake-up call and to discuss how we can come together as a community and stay safe.

Posted by Austin Mayor Steve Adler on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Adler also said that the City of Austin has launched a survey to address the outbreak in the Hispanic community. 

6:05 p.m. – Travis County reported eight more deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as 753 new confirmed cases. The county now has 13,161 total confirmed coronavirus cases and 159 deaths. At least 9,837 people have recovered from the virus.

Travis County has 458 people hospitalized from COVID-19, with 149 in the ICU and 91 on ventilators.

5 p.m. – Hays County reports its 11th fatality, a Mountain City man in his 70s. The update also shows 85 new cases and 15 more recoveries. A total of 3,328 cases and 596 have now been confirmed.

RELATED: LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county

4:47 p.m. – Williamson County reported two more deaths due to COVID-19, two men in their 70s. The announcement brings the county death toll to 48.

4:45 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the State of Texas will invest $57 million in federal funds to maintain the state’s need-based financial aid programs and keep more students enrolled at their colleges and universities. The investment of federal funds will offset potential coronavirus-related cuts to key state financial aid programs, including TEXAS Grants, Texas Educational Opportunity Grants, and Tuition Equalization Grants. The funding comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law by President Trump. 

"As Texas responds to the economic and educational impacts of COVID-19, we want to make sure that students who depend on financial aid continue to receive the support they need to earn their college degree,” said Governor Abbott. "This funding will help keep our students on the path to finishing their education and entering the workforce with knowledge and experience that will help them launch productive careers and attract more employers to our state. These grant programs provide targeted investments in Texas students and in the future of our state."

4:20 p.m. – Bastrop County unveils new CARES Grant opportunity for small businesses inside county lines but outside the city limits of Bastrop, Elgin and Smithville who have been impacted by COVID-19. The deadline to apply for the Bastrop County COVID-19 CARES Small Business Grant Program is July 31. 

Applicants can apply for up to $15,000 in grant funds for costs incurred from March 27 to Sept. 30. Grants will be processsed and funded in the order they are received until budgeted funds are exhausted.

2:19 p.m. – The Texas Juvenile Justice Department provided the following updates related to COVID-19: 

  • Thirty-five youth cases were confirmed at the Giddings State School as a result of campus-wide testing. Six additional youth cases were also confirmed as a result of previous testing. 
  • Fifteen staff cases were confirmed at the Giddings State School as a result of campus-wide testing. Three additional cases were confirmed as a result of previous testing. 
  • Four youth at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center, in Edinburg, tested positive for COVID-19 during the holiday weekend. 
  • Six youth at a TJJD halfway house have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 5. 
  • Twelve youth development coaches and two staff members at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center tested positive since the holiday weekend. 
  • Three staff members at TJJD halfway houses have tested positive for COVID-19 since the holiday weekend. 
  • Three youth development coaches at the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex, in Brownwood, tested positive for COVID-19 during the holiday weekend. 
  • A youth development coach at the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility, in Mart, tested positive for COVID-19 during the holiday weekend. 
  • As of July 7, TJJD has administered 428 COVID-19 tests to youth. 

1:25 p.m. – The City of Austin reminds customers that funding is still available to help Austin Energy customers who may be financially struggling due to COVID-19.

City of Austin Utilities, to date, has provided $1.88 million in financial help to more than 5,100 residential customers since April. On April 9, the city council passed an ordinance allowing funding for utility bill assistance through the City’s Plus 1 Emergency Financial Support Program, which provides immediate help to customers who are having financial difficulties and are unable to pay their utility bills due to unexpected emergencies 

"While the City has seen a marked increase in people needing assistance with utility bills since COVID-19 cases started appearing in Austin, Plus 1 is not a new program," Austin Energy said in a press release Wednesday. "Since the beginning of the fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2019), the City has assisted more than 7,200 customers, distributing $2.928 million to customers needing assistance. During the same time period in Fiscal Year 2019, the City provided more than 3,800 customers with utility bill assistance totaling more than $1.654 million through Plus 1."

Customers can apply for help here or by calling 512-765-9721.

12:05 p.m. – The City of San Marcos announces the closure of Blanco Shoals Natural Area starting on Thursday at 8 p.m. due to overcrowding.

10:50 a.m. – During a live Q&A, Dr. Mark Escott said Austin-Travis County health leaders will meet Wednesday to discuss whether we will move into a Stage 5 status in terms of risk guidelines. Dr. Escott also said wait times from getting a COVID-19 to getting a result continues to be 10 days or longer as opposed to only a few days.

9:53 a.m. – Two more TSA screening officers at Austin's airport have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total to eight since the pandemic began. The first cases were reported at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport a couple of weeks ago. The last day at work for the two new employees was June 26. 

WATCH: Chart details the riskest activities for COVID-19


Before You Leave, Check This Out