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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis County reports 9 more deaths, 1,108 new cases

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Thursday, Jan. 14.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active.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 and COVID-19 news in the Austin area.

Scroll down for the top headlines and latest updates in KVUE's Jan. 14 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 1.7 million cases have been reported in the state, and more than 30,200 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: At least 59,394 cases have been reported and at least 591 people have died. At least 52,439 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: At least 12,809 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 148 people have died. At least 10,329 people have recovered from the virus. 
    • Williamson County: At least 24,908 cases have been reported in the county and at least 237 people have died. At least 22,716 people have recovered from the virus.

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

Updates:

9:15 p.m. – Del Valle ISD is extending temporary 100% remote instruction through Friday, Jan. 22.

6:40 p.m. – Travis County reported nine more deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday along with 1,108 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 59,394 cases and 591 deaths since the start of the pandemic. At least 52,439 people have recovered from the virus.

Travis County currently has 601 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with 186 in the ICU and 107 on ventilators.

5:20 p.m. – Seventeen Central Texas ISDs and school systems, including Austin ISD, have signed on to a letter asking Austin Public Health for three recommendations for the allocation of COVID-19 vaccines for educators and school-based staff.

The recommendations include:

  1. Coordinate with providers to offer vaccine sites and appointments specifically for Phase 1B-eligible educators, in collaboration with local school districts.
  2. Urging the Texas Department of Health and Human Services to include all educators and school-based staff, regardless of school setting, in Phase 1C.
  3. Before vaccination of 1C and 2 begins, coordinate with local districts and providers to plan for an “educator priority week” and offer sites for easy, efficient educator vaccination.

5 p.m. – Austin ISD is asking parents to continue to have their children learn remotely for the week of Jan. 19-22. In a letter to the Austin ISD community on Thursday, Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said:

"This week as our community is in Stage 5 of the COVID-19 pandemic, we encouraged you to have your children engage in remote instruction, if possible. As I mentioned in my communication yesterday, preliminary results have shown that this was successful in limiting attendance and allowing for extensive social distancing by those who are needing to be served on campus.

"We are providing this weekly update with guidance for the week to come and have determined: For the week of Jan. 19-22, if you are able to do so, please continue to have your children learn in a remote off-campus setting.

"We will continue to support you and we will welcome any student who needs to be at our campus, regardless of the reason with open arms."

4:40 p.m. – Austin Public Health released a statement after residents waiting to get vaccinated experienced long lines and schedule changes on Thursday.

"Vaccinations are still by appointment only," a spokesperson said. "Due to a scheduling error with the program, one time slot was overscheduled today, so we are encouraging people to come when they are available to minimize wait times for everyone."

4:35 p.m. – Hays County reported another death from COVID-19 on Thursday, a San Marcos woman in her 70s. The health department also reported 186 new confirmed cases along with seven new hospitalizations and six new hospital discharges. There are 42 additional people now considered recovered from the virus.

4:30 p.m. – Texas reported 20,047 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 1,794,545 since the pandemic began. The seven-day average is at 18,126 cases per day over the past week – up 13% from a week ago and up 63% from a month ago.

There were 426 new COVID-19 deaths reported statewide on Thursday – a new single-day record – bringing the state's death toll to 31,050.

There are 14,052 COVID-19 patients currently in Texas hospitals – up 48% from a month ago. The state's positivity rate average is at 17.73%.

4 p.m. – Austin Public Health said while Austin-area ICUs have not yet hit capacity, the situation remains dire.

"While it is good that we have not yet hit 200 ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, we are still seeing far too many individuals who are getting sick and who need to go to the hospital," a spokesperson said on Thursday. "The situation is still incredibly dire; we have our alternate care site open. We are asking individuals to keep wearing a mask, social distancing, washing their hands and avoiding gatherings. We have the ability to control the surge in our community, but it takes effort from everyone to reduce our cases and hospitalizations."

3:45 p.m. – Austin Public Health (APH) said it has distributed 3,996 doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of Wednesday night after receiving 12,000 doses on Monday from the State. APH plans to administer all doses it received this week and make improvements to the process if needed to be prepared to distribute future allocations.

The first three days of distribution have been through closed clinics servicing Phase 1A and 1B patients from community partners that serve uninsured or underinsured populations.

RELATED: Austin Public Health to receive 12,000 COVID-19 vaccines next week

1:55 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of State Health Services announce that Texas has become the first state to administer more than 1 million doses.

“Texas is leading the way for our nation once again,” said Gov. Abbott. “This is the biggest vaccination effort we have ever undertaken, and it would not be possible without the dedication and tireless efforts of our healthcare workers. We still have a long road ahead of us, but Texans continue to prove that we are up to this challenge.”

1:09 p.m. Although Austin-area ICUs were projected to run out of capacity on Thursday, Jan. 14, as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in Travis County, projections from the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium are now showing a different date – Jan. 21.

9:55 a.m. – The alternate care site (ACS) at the Austin Convention Center is now open and accepting patients. As of 9:47 a.m. on Thursday, three patients were transported to the site and an unspecified number of other patients' charts were being reviewed for admittance.

The facility will take specific patients who need a "lower acuity of care" to help relieve stress on local hospitals, which would still care for patients needing a higher level of intensive care, according to the City. The facility has a capacity of 25 beds and can expand to 250 more beds if needed.

7:21 a.m. – Starting Thursday, staff and students at Austin ISD will be able to get a free, drive-thru COVID-19 test from the district. The school district's mass testing events will be via drive-thru Thursday and Friday. Both events will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and distributed at the following locations:

  • Northeast Early College High School located at 7105 Berkman Drive
  • Austin ISD Central Office located at 4000 S. Interstate Highway 35

WATCH: Austin doctors discuss hospital capacity, field hospital at convention center

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