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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis County announces 4 new deaths

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Tuesday, Aug. 11.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active.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 Aug. 11 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 490,000 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 8,400 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: Over 22,900 cases have been reported and at least 303 people have died. At least 21,500 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: More than 5,000 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 35 people have died. At least 2,295 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 6,800 cases have been reported in the county and at least 93 people have died. More than 5,500 people have recovered from the virus.

Updates:

7 p.m. – Austin ISD reveals its latest guidelines for reopening schools. In them, the district said that although the first four weeks of school are set to be online, students without the technology necessary for at-home learning will still be allowed on campus for instruction.

RELATED: In latest guidelines, Austin ISD says students without technology can remain on campus at start of year

6 p.m. – Travis County reports four more deaths, bringing total to 307. A total of 23,249 cases and 21,871 recoveries have now been reported.

5:35 p.m. – Williamson County reports two more deaths, bringing the total to 95. A total of 7,011 cases have now been confirmed along with 5,637 recoveries.

5:10 p.m. – According to an update on hospital capacity for Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health and St. David's HealthCare, the 2,473 staffed beds within all three health care systems are 73% occupied, and the 483 ICU beds are 81% occupied.

4:40 p.m. – Hays County reported 16 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, along with one hospital discharge and 67 additional individuals now considered recovered.

RELATED: Hays County reports 2,736 active COVID-19 cases, 35 deaths

2:45 p.m. –  After giving briefing from Beaumont, Gov. Greg Abbott held a coronavirus briefing in Victoria, Texas. You can watch the governor's comments on KVUE's YouTube page here

During the meeting, Gov. Abbott and local leaders discussed the decline in positive cases in Victoria, attributed to community members doing their part in mitigating the spread of the virus. They also discussed current needs in the community, as well as anticipated needs for the school year and PPE distribution.

"Texans understand that COVID-19 is dangerous, and they have remained vigilant during the pandemic to protect their health and the health of those around them," said Gov. Abbott. "I encourage Texans in Victoria and across the state to continue practicing common-sense strategies that mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and help us overcome this challenge."

The governor has secured a variety of resources for Victoria County, including over 210,00 piece of PPE. Of those, 185,362 have been distributed to local school districts.

Meanwhile, the Texas Division of Emergency Management has distributed 183,650 masks to local school districts and 1,712 gallons of hand sanitizer. The Texas Department of State Health Services has distributed several cases of remdesivir to hospitals in Victoria County.

Gov. Abbott also facilitated testing for residents and staff members at five local nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities, and provided resources to help meet health care staffing needs in the area.

1:30 p.m. – Local air travel at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in June has shown some improvement, only down 81.9%, compared to 91.5% in May and 96.6% in April. Total passenger traffic for the month was 291,578. June enplanements totaled 150,195, down 81.6%. 

Air cargo for the month totaled 17,467,748 pounds, which is up 22.6% compared to June 2019. However, international air cargo totaled 21,565 pounds, which is down 98.7%.

Air services transferred 359,079 pounds of mail, which is down 52.6%; and 285,715 pounds of belly freight, down 84.4%. 

General Aviation operations totaled 3,042, down 3.9%. Combined operations (including commercial and military) totaled 8,565, down 51%.

12:30 p.m. – Austin Public Health releases a statement on return to work guidance:

We have been informed that many employers are asking employees that have tested positive for COVID-19 to provide proof of multiple negative tests before allowing those employees to return to work. This practice is not currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor Austin Public Health (APH) since individuals with mild or moderate COVID-19 remain infectious no longer than 10 days after symptom onset. Requiring re-testing places unnecessary financial burden on the employee. 

APH echoes recommendations from the CDC on guidance for individuals who have had COVID-19 on returning to work. Current health guidelines require individuals stay home at least 10 days following the onset of COVID-19 symptoms and at least one day following the resolution of fever with improvement of other symptoms. 

The focus of the free tests provided by APH and partner organizations is to identify new infections and limit the spread of the disease, not to re-test individuals who have had the virus and recovered. It is resource-intensive and inefficient to re-test individuals who have already tested positive. 

We understand that employees and their employers want their workplaces to be safe and do not want to risk transmission by asymptomatic individuals. Following the CDC/APH guidelines will allow everyone to work in a safe environment while also ensuring that COVID-19 tests are still available for those who need it most. 

Additional guidance for employers and employees related to COVID-19 can be found in these letters, which are available in both English and Spanish. 

RELATED: Governor Abbott in Beaumont Tuesday to give update on COVID-19 in Texas

11:30 a.m. – Gov. Abbott will hold two press conferences to give COVID-19 updates for the state. One will be at noon in Beaumont and the other will be at 2:45 p.m. in Victoria.

WATCH: The best and worst face covering options

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