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Coronavirus in Texas: Gov. Abbott says Texas is ready to enter phase two of reopening state

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Monday, May 18.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest updates, check out our new live 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 May 18 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 47,000 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 1,300 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The department estimates more than 27,000 people have recovered from the virus.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: More than 2,400 cases have been reported and at least 77 people have died. More than 890 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 480 cases have been reported and at least 19 people have died. More than 260 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: There have been at least 221 cases reported in the county and at least three people have died. Around 145 people have recovered from the virus.

Top headlines:

Updates:

6 p.m. – Travis County coronavirus cases increase by 78, while deaths increase by two. As of May 18, 2,537 cases have been confirmed, 79 deaths have been reported, and 892 people have recovered.

5:30 p.m. – The Travis County Sheriff's Office has provided updates on its jail testing data:

Inmates

  • 82 tested with 73 negative results and nine pending

Employees:

  • Law enforcement - 23 tested with 22 negative results and one pending
  • Corrections - 31 tested with 25 negative results, five positive and one pending
  • Administration and support - 14 tested with 13 negative results and one positive

The jail's population is currently 1,759. Twenty-two inmates are currently in quarantine and 212 are in isolation.

5:05 p.m. – As of May 18, the Hays County Local Health Department confirms there are 80 active lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Since Hays County first started providing numbers, a total of 235 lab-confirmed cases have been reported, including three deaths, a woman in her 80s who had been living in Buda with a relative, a Wimberley resident in their 90s and a San Marcos resident in their 60s.

As of May 18, the Hays County Local Health Department has received 2,185 negative test results.

4 p.m.  Zero new deaths were reported in the 12-county Austin area for the second straight day, holding steady at 103. New cases statewide were under 1,000 again after a big fall off from Saturday. And hospitalizations rose slightly, but the seven-day positivity rate average continues to sit below 5% and is at a new low at 4.47%.

2 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update regarding his plan to reopen Texas. Abbott said he is prepared to move Texas into Phase 2 of opening the state for business. Click here for more details on the announcement

RELATED: Texas ready to enter phase two of reopening state, Gov. Abbott says

WATCH HERE: Coronavirus in Texas: Gov. Abbott gives update on reopening state 

RELATED: 

1:09 p.m. –  Williamson County has 486 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 199 of those cases currently active. A total of 268 people have recovered in the county so far, and 17 people are hospitalized as of May 18.

12:30 p.m. – Capital Metro confirms another employee, who works at the 2910 E. Fifth St. facility, has tested positive for COVID-19. So far, at least 12 employees, including nine bus drivers, have tested positive. One death has been reported.

RELATED: 12th Capital Metro employee tests positive for COVID-19

11:20 p.m. – The Austin Emergency Supply Foundation (AESF) announces that it has now donated 320,000 three-ply medical masks to the Austin City Council, the Austin Police Department, the Austin Fire Department, Austin Public Health and Capital Metro.

On Monday, the foundation contributed 100,000 face masks. The masks were distributed by Mayor Steve Adler, the Consul General of Mexico, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Diocesan Council fo Austin, Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza, City Council Member Greg Casar, City Council Member Pio Renteria and AESF to the U.S. Hispanic Contractor Association and the Austin Carpenters Local 1266 Union.

“Workers at Austin worksites were among the last to pause work and the first asked to return, putting themselves on the front lines and taking risks as our economic first responders. Workers should have the tools to maintain a safe workplace,” said Mayor Steve Adler. "Thank you to Jonathan Coon, the Austin Emergency Supply Foundation, the Consul General, and The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Diocesan Council of Austin for helping to get more face coverings to workers on construction sites.” 

10:30 a.m. – The YMCA of Austin will give away 20-pound boxes of fresh produce for free every week, as part of a partnership with Brighter Bites and DiMare Fresh.

The program starts Tuesday and will happen every Tuesday through August. The drive-through or walk-up pickup begins at 9 a.m. at the North Austin YMCA on Rundberg Lane and at 10 a.m. in East Austin on Ed Bluestein Drive. The events will continue while supplies last.

9:20 a.m. – Some Austin City Council members are calling on Gov. Abbott to do more to help Texas Latinos during the pandemic. Councilmembers Greg Casar, Natasha Harper-Madison, Sabino Renteria and Mayor Pro-Tem Delia Garza sent a letter to the governor saying Latinos make up 64% of the COVID-19 hospitalizations in Austin, despite only making up 35% of the overall population.

They also say some state laws keep Latinos from seeking care, so they want the governor to do things like expand Medicaid, let cities adopt paid sick leave policies and get rid of immigration check laws so people can get medical help. Abbott hasn't responded to the letter, which you can read below:

(512) 974-2200, Fax (512) 974-2833 Hon. Governor Greg AbbottOffice of the GovernorP.O. Box 12428Austin, Texas 78711-2428 Gov. Abbott: The large majority of Austinites who have been hospitalized by COVID-19 are Latinos. In Austin, data shows that 64% ofCOVID hospitalizations were Latinos earlier this month, despite being only 35% of Austin's population.

6 a.m. – Gov. Abbott will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. to give an update on reopening Texas.

WATCH: What's your VUE? Answering your COVID-19 questions

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