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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: APH releases additional vaccine appointments Wednesday evening

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Wednesday, March 3.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest COVID-19 updates, click 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 March 3 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 2.2 million cases have been reported in the state, and more than 43,200 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: At least 76,274 cases have been reported and at least 754 people have died. At least 73,802 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: At least 16,435 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 224 people have died. At least 15,619 people have recovered from the virus. 
    • Williamson County: At least 35,738 cases have been reported in the county and at least 406 people have died. 

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

Updates:

6:25 p.m. – Travis County reported five more deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday along with 186 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 76,274 cases and 754 deaths since the start of the pandemic. At least 73,802 people have recovered from the virus.

Travis County currently has 242 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with 74 in the ICU and 53 on ventilators. There are 34 people being treated at the alternative care site at the Austin Convention Center.

4:50 p.m. – Texas reported 4,781 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to more than 2.3 million. The seven-day average is at 4,535 new cases per day, which is up from the winter storm lull a week ago and down 69% from a month ago. Texas reported 297 new COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total to 43,563. There are currently 5,508 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, the fewest since Oct. 25 and down 18% from a week ago. The state's positivity rate average is at 8.65%.

The seven-day average for the Austin metro area is at 434 new COVID-19 cases per day, while the metro's positivity rate average is at 6.23%. There have been 1,926 COVID-19 deaths in the Central Texas 12-county KVUE viewing area since the start of the pandemic.

4:15 p.m. – Hays County reported another three deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday, a Driftwood man in his 60s, a Kyle man in his 50s and a San Marcos man in his 80s. Health officials also reported 36 new confirmed cases along with one new hospitalization and five new hospital discharges. There are no new people considered recovered.

4:05 p.m. – In a joint statement, Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White and St. David's HealthCare said they have no intentions of changing current COVID-19 policies and practices following Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to lift a statewide mask mandate.

"Each health care system will continue with existing safety protocols, including mask requirements for everyone who enters our facilities, continuing to practice social distancing at each of our sites of care and continuing with COVID-19 screenings. We believe these evidence-based practices are in the best interest of the community, and we will continue to take every precaution to protect all of those we are committed to serve, including our frontline workers, our patients and our community. With more COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, there is hope around the corner. In the meantime, we must remain vigilant in order to prevent the transmission of new COVID-19 variants that are quickly spreading across our service areas."

2:25 p.m. – Similar to its Monday appointment release, Austin Public Health has an excess of first-dose appointments available for tomorrow, March 4, causing the need to release appointments outside of the Tuesday/Thursday schedule. Those who have pre-registered through APH and are Phase 1A or 1B eligible, can log-in to covid19.austintexas.gov this evening, March 3, to be added to the queue to schedule an appointment.

RELATED: Austin Public Health updates COVID-19 vaccine appointment system, adds employees to call center

2:15 p.m. – The Texas DSHS confirms that after a federal directive, certain child care personnel are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

RELATED: Texas teachers and child-care workers now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, DSHS says

9:21 a.m. – At a press briefing on March 3, Austin leaders urged Austinites to keep masking despite the governor's announcement on the statewide mask mandate. Leaders said the governor's action is an attempt to distract from his handling of the statewide power outages. 

A doctor at the briefing said this brings the risk of more COVID-19 cases, and a higher chance we’ll deal with more variants in city.

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