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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: 5 more youth test positive at Giddings State School

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Thursday, June 25.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active.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 25 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 120,000 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 2,200 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. More than 3,200 people are hospitalized across the state. An estimated 70,714 people have recovered.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: Over 6,900 cases have been reported and at least 116 people have died. At least 4,796 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: Over 2,200 confirmed cases have been reported and at least five people have died. At least 417 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 1,400 cases have been reported in the county and at least 32 people have died. More than 720 people have recovered from the virus.

Top headlines:

Latest updates:

\10 p.m. – A large number of teenagers were exposed to COVID-19 after a party in Lakeway called "Pongfest" attended by individuals who later received positive test results. The city is working with Austin Public Health to test people who attended the party.

RELATED: 'Pongfest' party in Lakeway leaves large number of high school students exposed to COVID-19

9:40 p.m. – With the rise in COVID-19 cases and Gov. Greg Abbott's pause on further actions to reopen Texas, KVUE asked the Texas Workforce Commission if it was still planning to reinstate work search requirements on July 6.

"The Texas Workforce Commission will continue to analyze the situation and modify this position as necessary to support the economy, the businesses and unemployment beneficiaries of Texas," a spokesperson said on Thursday.

6:40 p.m. – Five more youth at the Giddings State School have tested positive for COVID-19. This comes after another child and coach tested positive earlier this week.

RELATED: 5 more youth at Giddings State School test positive for COVID-19

6 p.m. – Travis County is now reporting 7,097 confirmed cases, 5,076 recoveries and 116 deaths.

5:55 p.m. – Williamson County is now reporting 1,702 confirmed cases, 891 active cases and 757 recoveries. Deaths remain the same at 32.

5 p.m. – Texas is just shy of 6,000 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, the third straight day for a new single-day record.

Earlier Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced a pause in the state's reopening plans due "to the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations."

Businesses can continue to operate at current levels but should observe the health recommendations, protocols and requirements set by health officials, the governor said.

RELATED: Texas has nearly 6,000 new COVID-19 cases today, as Gov. Abbott pauses reopening

4:45 p.m. – In a letter to the Austin ISD community on Thursday, the school district said while it is anticipating a hybrid model starting on Aug. 18, it is also prepared to provide 100% at-home learning should guidance change from local, state or federal leaders.

4:40 p.m. – Hays County has confirmed 81 new cases of COVID-19, along with six new hospitalizations and 14 more people considered recovered. The county's total confirmed case count is now 2,275. Hays County currently has 1,853 active cases, while at least 417 people have recovered from the virus. Twenty-three people are currently hospitalized.

“With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Hays County,” epidemiologist Eric Schneider said, “we strongly encourage everyone keep practicing these simple yet effective measures: stay distanced in public, wash hands and wear masks. We can slow the spread of the virus by working as a community.”

4:30 p.m. – Bastrop County reported another two deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, a 25-year-old man and a woman in her 80s. Both people resided in Elgin, the county said.

“These deaths are further indication that this virus is serious and that all members of our community need to be taking every measure to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Bastrop County Health Authority. 

Bastrop County has had 391 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 136 recovered and six dead.

RELATED: LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county

4:15 p.m. – Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe issued a new county order prohibiting outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people, except as permitted under the governor's orders. Exceptions under the governor's orders include the following:

  • Religious services
  • Local government operations
  • Child-care services
  • Youth camps
  • Recreational sports

The order goes into effect on June 26 at 12:01 a.m. and lasts until 11:59 p.m. on July 10, unless otherwise modified.

4:10 p.m. – The Austin-based Texas Council on Family Violence said it has given $250,000 to 22 service providers across Texas who are struggling to meet the increased needs of domestic violence victims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It said two Austin agencies received grants, including one that serves Asian survivors facing racial blame for the pandemic.

2:20 p.m. – The City of Georgetown has closed Blue Hole Park until further notice. The section of the trail going through the park will also be closed, and barricades will be installed at Scenic Drive and at Rock Street to close off the trail. Access to the trail via the low water crossing below the dam also will be closed off, in addition to restrooms.

“Due to the large crowds that continue to gather in our small, Blue Hole Park and the spiking number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Williamson County, we are closing the park out of an abundance of caution and to better ensure the safety of our residents,” Mayor Dale Ross said. “We encourage every Georgetown resident to please, take this threat to our health and safety seriously. Please stay home if you can.

2:15 p.m. – Hays County announces that Five Mile Dam Park will be closed until further notice, starting today, to help prevent overcrowding.

“With the City of San Marcos closing its river parks, we cannot sustain the influx of patrons at Five Mile Dam,” she said. “Our main goal in closing this park is to avoid large crowds gathering while Hays County is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases.” 

No other Hays County park or natural areas are closed at this time.

RELATED: San Marcos re-closes river parks following spikes in COVID-19 cases

1:30 p.m. – The flu and coronavirus share a number of symptoms and, in many cases, an influenza test is included in the COVID-19 diagnosis process. Scientists at UT Austin are researching a new sensor that can detect the difference between the two – and test for both – at the same time.

1:15 p.m. – Harmony Public Schools announces that its families can choose whether to continue learning from home or return to campus for in-person learning for the 2020-2021 school year, based on each family’s unique needs. Families can also switch between the two as local COVID-19 conditions or family situations change. 

“The best choice for Harmony in 2020-2021 is the choice that’s best for your family,” Harmony CEO Fatih Ay said. “While this flexible plan may be an uncommon approach, we firmly believe it is the right approach for families during these uncommon times.” 

RELATED: Texas students will return to school campuses this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott tells lawmakers

12:40 p.m. – RTX, a series of annual gaming and internet conventions created by Austin-based Rooster Teeth, announces it has canceled its 2020 events. The group says a virtual event is in the works to take place later this year. Badges will be refunded to those who do not wish to have theirs postponed to the 2021 event from July 9-11. This year's event was scheduled for Sept. 5-7.

12:30 p.m. – Austin ISD has partnered with local restaurants to provide meals to students and their caregivers through Austin Ed Fund and City of Austin funding. As of today, Henbit, Easy Tiger and Good Work Austin restaurants (L'Oca d'Oro, Colleen's Kitchen and Contigo) have provided nearly 150,000 meals with plans for the program to continue throughout the month of August, or until funds are depleted.

11:32 a.m. – Hundreds of staff at Austin Independent School District are being asked to quarantine after less than 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been confirmed among employees. Twenty-eight school sites have been forced to close.

11:20 a.m. – The TSA reports two additional screening officers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport have tested positive for COVID-19. The first case was confirmed last week. The last day at work for the new cases was June 20.

11:05 a.m. –  Hundreds of Texas physicians have signed a letter asking State of Texas officials to let Texas counties manage the spread of coronavirus as they see fit. The physicians said, "not all counties in Texas are affected by COVID-19 to the same magnitude."

10:35 a.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott announced Texas is temporarily pausing any further phases to reopen the state due to the recent increase in positive coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. Businesses that were allowed to reopen during the previous phases can continue to operate at the designated occupancy, Abbott said.

9:15 a.m. – As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in Texas, Gov. Abbott announced an order suspending elective surgeries at hospitals in Bexar, Dallas, Harris and Travis counties. Under this order, all hospitals in these counties are directed to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not "immediately, medically necessary to correct a serious medical condition or to preserve the life of a patient who without the immediate performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death, as determined by the patient’s physician."

WATCH: Texas positivity rate up as of June 24 


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