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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Local hospitals say staffed beds 28% available, ICU beds at 20%

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Tuesday, June 30.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active.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 June 30 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 153,000 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 2,400 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. An estimated 81,335 people have recovered.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: Over 8,900 cases have been reported and at least 121 people have died. At least 6,117 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: Over 2,600 confirmed cases have been reported and at least six people have died. At least 422 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 2,100 cases have been reported in the county and at least 37 people have died. More than 860 people have recovered from the virus.

Top headlines:

Latest updates:

6:10 p.m. – According to a joint statement from Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health and St. David’s HealthCare, the 2,470 staffed beds within all three healthcare systems are 72% occupied, and the 483 ICU beds are 80% occupied.

This means 28% of the staffed beds remain open while 20% of the ICU beds are available.

"However, it is important to note the number of licensed beds is different than the number of staffed beds available," the hospitals said. "Licensed beds represent the total number of beds a hospital is licensed to operate. This number is typically higher than a hospital’s staffed beds, which are those that are set up and ready for use, with the necessary staff in place to care for those patients. While we have the ability to surge to our number of licensed beds, it would require staffing that exceeds what we typically have available for daily operations. Given that all three of our healthcare systems are part of larger healthcare organizations, we have the ability to pull in necessary resources, including PPE and staff, should that be needed for us to surge to our full licensed capacity."

6 p.m. – Travis County health officials announce 558 new cases, 443 new recoveries and three new deaths. Totals now stand at 9,527 cases, 6,560 recoveries and 124 deaths.

5:30 p.m. – As of today, there are 950 reported positive cases of COVID-19 (643 staff, 307 children) at 668 child care operations in Texas.

Previously reported:

As of June 15, there were 210 reported COVID-19 cases (141 are caregivers; 69 are children) in 177 child care operations.

As of May 21, the HHSC was notified of confirmed COVID-19 cases in 42 caregivers and 25 children in 60 licensed child care operations statewide.

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department also provided the following updates:

Two youth at a TJJD halfway house tested positive for COVID-19 last night. A total of four youth at halfway houses are now positive. 

  • A youth at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center, in Edinburg, tested positive for COVID-19 this morning. 
  • A Youth Development Coach and a staff member at the Giddings State School have tested positive for COVID-19. The first case was confirmed last night, and the second case was confirmed this afternoon. 
  • A staff member and a Youth Development Coach at the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex, in Brownwood, both tested positive for COVID-19 today. 
  • A staff member at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center tested positive for COVID-19 this afternoon. 
  • The youth who have tested positive for COVID-19 all remain on campus for treatment.  
  • As of today, TJJD has administered a total of 289 COVID-19 tests to youth.  

Since the start of the pandemic, 30 staff members at the agency’s secure facilities have tested positive for COVID-19:    

  • Evins Regional Juvenile Center: 14  
  • Gainesville State School: 3  
  • Giddings State School: 10  
  • McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility: 0  
  • Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex: 3

Since the start of the pandemic, 17 youth at the agency’s secure facilities have tested positive for COVID-19:    

  • Evins Regional Juvenile Center: 3  
  • Gainesville State School: 8  
  • Giddings State School: 6  
  • McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility: 0  
  • Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex: 0  

4:55 p.m. – Hays County officials announced the seventh death due to the coronavirus, a Kyle man in his 80s. As of June 30, the Hays County Local Health Department confirms there are at least 2,340 active lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. At least 472 people have recovered from the virus in Hays County. According to the county, there have been 62 total hospitalizations, with 17 still hospitalized as of June 30.

4:45 p.m. – As of June 30, Williamson County has 1,247 active cases of coronavirus. In total, the county is reporting 904 recoveries. A total of 2,230 cases have been confirmed according to the county's dashboard on June 30.

At least 103 people are hospitalized. Thirty-nine people have died from COVID-19 in Williamson County. 

4:15 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announce $9 million in federal funding for nursing facilities to implement infection control projects. Nursing facility providers are encouraged to submit applications to HHSC starting Wednesday, and the deadline for applications is Aug. 30.

Approved providers will be eligible to receive funds for resources including thermometers and temperature scanning equipment, decontamination and disinfecting systems, N95 fit-test equipment, microbe-resistant flooring and wall coverings and plexiglass barriers or portable walls.

4 p.m. – The City of Hutto has canceled all "unnecessary public gatherings not related to the governance of the City," including the Tailgates & Tunes concert series and any events at the Brushy Creek Amphitheater.

3:40 p.m. – Williamson County’s Wilco Forward Small Business Grant Program has issued more than $33.2 million out of the $35 million allocated to assist local small businesses affected by COVID-19. The deadline to apply for the program is midnight on June 30. Business owners are urged to submit an application by visiting https://www.wilco.org/forward.    

3:30 p.m. – The Austin Independent School District announced it has shut down all athletic summer camps as of June 30, according to KVUE's media partner the Austin American-Statesman. The Statesman reported that the district has set a tentative return date of July 13 for the camps. 

2 p.m. – Williamson County announces free testing for both symptomatic and asymptomatic residents will be coming soon from July 6 to July 10. Click here for more details.

1:50 p.m. – The City of Pflugerville is extending the closure of Lake Pflugerville Park to include the trail and all parking areas until further notice.

1:45 p.m. – Three Georgetown Fire Department employees have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the first cases of public-facing City employees to test positive.

The three firefighters all work in different facilities and wore personal protective equipment when interacting with the public. All staff members exposed to these employees were evaluated for exposure risk, symptoms, and, when recommended, COVID-19 tests, and appropriate action was taken.

1:05 p.m. – The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) announces it will close five of its parks in Travis County over the holiday weekend.

The following parks will be closed from 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, through 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 7.

  • Gloster Bend Recreation Area
  • Jessica Hollis Park
  • McGregor Preserve
  • Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area
  • Turkey Bend Recreation Area

The closures include boat ramps at the parks. Overnight reservations will be canceled for a full refund.

All other LCRA-managed parks are expected to remain open over the weekend. Visitors must wear face coverings and should practice social distancing in the parks. No groups larger than five people are allowed, except for families or people living in the same household.

Additionally, in Jonestown, the boat ramps at Jones Brothers Park will be closed from July 3 through July 5. No launching of any kind will be permissible. 

11:30 p.m. – San Marcos High School will be hosting free, walk-up testing daily between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. from July 12 through July 16. 

No pre-registration is needed and testing is available for everyone ages five and up, regardless of symptoms. Participants do not need to be Hays County residents.

Drivers must be prepared to park and exit their vehicles for testing. Masks are mandatory and will be provided to those who do not have one. Organizers also suggest bringing water and umbrellas to protect from the heath, as lines can be lengthy.

This testing is made possible by the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Texas Army National Guard in collaboration with the Hays County Office of Emergency Management and the City of San Marcos Office of Emergency Management.

11:10 a.m. – Austin Public Health said that contact tracing has become difficult as the coronavirus has become widespread in the Austin area.

"Our concern is that the public may be relying on Austin Public Health contact tracing to contain this," said Dr. Mark Escott, interim Austin-Travis County health authority. "Contact tracing in this time of uncontrolled widespread transmission is not going to be as effective, especially if people continue to have increased contact with others outside of their household."

10 a.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott issued a proclamation suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Cameron, Hidalgo, Nueces and Webb counties to help ensure hospital bed availability for COVID-19 patients in these communities. This proclamation amends the Governor’s previous Executive Order to include these four counties in addition to Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties. 

9:45 a.m. – Austin's top health authority said at an Austin City Council meeting that he is "at the verge" of recommending another round of "stay home" orders.

Austin has shattered its three-day record for the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases, and during the June 29 meeting, Dr. Mark Escott said that Austinites and Travis County residents must take all precautions in order to protect "this community of us."

For more information, read more about it here.

9:36 a.m. –  The Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) announced Tuesday that a staff member died from COVID-19. TJJD said 43-year-old Sean Wilson, a youth development coach at the Giddings State School, died at his home on June 28. Wilson was diagnosed with COVID-19 on June 22, TJJD said. 

“The entire TJJD family is grieving over the loss of Sean Wilson, a dedicated staff member at the Giddings State School who cared deeply for the youth he worked with," Camille Cain, the executive director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department said. "Sean had worked for the State of Texas for fourteen years and for TJJD since 2014. He leaves behind a loving wife and an eight-year-old son. We are devastated by their loss and mourn with them during this time.”

Check back on this live blog for the latest updates Tuesday.

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