AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This live blog is no longer updating. To get the latest coronavirus updates in Central Texas, check out Saturday's live blog.
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 April 17 live blog.
- Texas House Democrats call on Gov. Abbott to take action before reopening businesses
- What reopening Texas businesses could look like in Austin
- Texas Public Health Coalition backs Gov. Abbott's gradual approach to reopen economy
- Travis County extends stay-at-home order through May 8, adds facial covering requirement
- LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county
- Here’s what you need to know about requesting your unemployment payment
6:50 p.m. – Travis County now reporting 1,074 confirmed cases, 21 deaths and 244 recoveries.
6:20 p.m. – A second person in Bastrop County has died from COVID-19. Officials said the individual was a 56-year-old man from an unincorporated area of Bastrop County. There have been 44 confirmed cases in the county.
5:15 p.m. – A Travis County Correctional Complex corrections officer has tested positive for COVID-19, TCSO officials said. TCSO said that the officer followed agency guidelines by wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing. The officer also had very limited interaction with staff and inmates.There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the inmate population, according to TCSO. As of April 17, there are 10 inmates in quarantine and 183 in isolation.
4:20 p.m. – Hays County is reporting four new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 121, with 67 active cases.
4:10 p.m. – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said state parks will reopen on Monday for day use only, with overnight camping to be allowed at a later date. People will not be able to pay fees at the park – visitors must make advance reservations and pay online at www.texasstateparks.org.
3:45 p.m. – City of Kyle childcare facilities will reopen on Monday under restricted guidelines, to serve the children of essential workers. Educational childcare center The Learning Experience sent its mascot, Bubbles the Elephant, to City Hall on Friday to thank Mayor Travis Mitchell for allowing the reopening.
"We recognize this effort will need to balance public health considerations while restarting economic activity in a phased and gradual approach that guards against subsequent spikes in infections," said Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce CEO Laura Huffman. "While each of our communities is different, we recognize that businesses play a vital role in enacting specific measures to keep their workforce safe and thereby protecting the entire community. We are encouraged by the governor’s willingness to work collaboratively with the business community."
1:30 p.m. – Congressman Roger Williams from Burnet, Texas, announced a $30,000 grant that will be awarded to Burnet Municipal Airport to help maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1:25 p.m. – New models from the University of Texas estimates several states will see a peak in COVID-19 deaths by the end of April, including New York, Louisiana, New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Nevada and Massachusetts.
12:15 p.m. – The Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) announced six new positive COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total to 146. So far, 83 people have recovered in Williamson County, officials said.
12 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference to announce a plan that details the gradual reopening of businesses across Texas.
On April 9, St. David’s Foundation launched a $10 million COVID-19 Recovery Fund to support nonprofits impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Applications for funding are now open to all 501(c)3 organizations in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties. St. David’s Foundation is eager to assist and encourages the Central Texas community to apply for emergency support. For more information about the St. David’s Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Fund, please visit the St. David’s Foundation website for an overview of grant criteria and review processes, to apply for funding or to consult the fund FAQs.
11:17 a.m. - An administrative staffer with Capital Metro has tested positive for COVID-19. That person’s last day at the office was March 30, the agency said. This is the ninth CapMetro employee to test positive.
8:43 a.m. - At 9:30 a.m., Dr. Mark Escott, along with other health officials, gave an update on Austin and Travis County's COVID-19 public testing enrollment form.
Over the next week, Austin residents will be able to complete an online assessment for testing that will roll out over the next week. With this new form, a healthcare provider will no longer be needed to refer someone for a test.
“The launch of the Public Testing Enrollment Form will be a pivotal point in the testing capability for our community,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority. “As we gather more data through more testing, we will be provided a more complete picture of the impact of COVID-19 in Austin-Travis County.”
The drive-thru tests will be by appointment only and scheduled through the online portal. Tests will not cost anything, the City said.
Watch the full press conference on KVUE's YouTube page:
6:37 a.m. - Ahead of Gov. Abbott’s announcement, Mayor Steve Adler reveals more of the city’s discussion to reopen. He acknowledged "we can’t do this indefinitely" but said officials will look at multiple factors, including:
- Is more testing available?
- Are more "rapid" tests available?
- Can the city do more tracing to find out how people are getting sick?
- Are people wearing face covers?
He also said officials are looking at opening some retail/restaurants with fewer people than normal.
5 a.m. - Gov. Greg Abbott is holding a press conference at noon, where he is expected to announce a plan to gradually reopen businesses across Texas. The video of the stream will appear at the top of this article.
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