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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Austin ISD gets COVID-19 vaccine doses, will start with campus-based staff 65 and older

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Friday, Jan 1.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer being updated. Click here for Saturday's blog.

KVUE is keeping you updated with the latest coronavirus and COVID-19 news in the Austin area.

Scroll down for the top headlines and latest updates in KVUE's Jan. 1 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 1.5 million cases have been reported in the state, and more than 27,000 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: At least 50,194 cases have been reported and at least 548 people have died. At least 44,917 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: At least 10,635 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 126 people have died. At least 8,873 people have recovered from the virus. 
    • Williamson County: At least 20,411 cases have been reported in the county and at least 203 people have died. At least 18,905 people have recovered from the virus.

For a look at COVID-19 data across all of the state's counties, click here.

Updates:

6:38 p.m. – Austin ISD, in partnership with Ascension Seton, has begun outreach to Austin ISD staff eligible to receive the first round of limited COVID-19 vaccines. Austin ISD announced that Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde secured doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Beginning Saturday, Jan. 2, through Tuesday, Jan. 5, campus-based staff who are 65 and older will be invited to take the vaccine, AISD officials said. Then, based on availability, staff with a qualifying condition under Group 1B will follow. 

"Because of the importance and very short timeline, AISD central office staff are notifying eligible individuals via a personal phone call and email to share the process for registering for the vaccine," the district said in a statement. "Austin ISD cares deeply about its staff and we are proud to partner with Ascension Seton to provide the vaccine to our employees. We will continue advocating for all of our teachers and staff to be prioritized as the vaccines become more widely available."

4:20 p.m. – Texas currently has 12,481 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide, the most since the pandemic began.

In the Austin area, there are 24 available ICU beds left – 10 fewer than on Thursday.

2:10 p.m. – The monthly average of available ICU beds in the Austin area shows December was the month with the fewest available beds since the pandemic began.

  • May – 116
  • June – 105
  • July – 62
  • Aug. – 86
  • Sept. – 93
  • Oct. – 78
  • Nov. – 76
  • Dec. – 48
Credit: KVUE

10:30 a.m. – On Thursday night, crowds were ringing in the new year in a sight that looked almost pre-pandemic. A curfew was imposed for the holiday weekend to stop Austin bars and restaurants serving patrons for dine-in from 10:30 p.m. to 6 a.m., through Jan. 3.

But on Sixth Street throughout the night, there were long lines to get into the bars downtown, and many people weren't wearing masks. Inside, crowds could be seen dancing and hugging. A KVUE photographer reported in one bar, none of the bartenders had a mask on.

Now, those bars could face a fine of up to $1,000.

On Thursday, a Travis County district judge sided with the City of Austin to keep the new year holiday weekend restrictions on dine-in services at Austin-Travis County bars and restaurants.

RELATED: Crowds ring in new year in Downtown Austin despite weekend dine-in curfew

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