AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. To get 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 April 27 live blog.
- Gov. Abbott reveals a tiered approach to re-open Texas economy
- Timeline: Gov. Greg Abbott's new economic plan to reopen Texas businesses
- LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county
- Austin-Travis County coronavirus cases reach 1,412, 39 deaths
- LIST: Austin businesses close permanently during COVID-19 pandemic
6:50 p.m. – Austin ISD will allow access to all its tracks, fields and courts – including tennis courts, football fields, basketball courts and play fields – starting at 7 p.m. Playgrounds will remain closed. Social distancing is required.
6:30 p.m. – Alamo Drafthouse says it will not be reopening its theaters this weekend, following the governor's order that theaters can reopen at 25% capacity starting Friday.
6 p.m. – As of April 27, Austin-Travis County is reporting 1,464 cases of COVID-19, with 42 deaths. A total of 399 have recovered.
These cases have risen steadily since March 13, when the first two cases were reported. Since then, multiple drive-thru testing sites have opened in the area.
For an age breakdown of those cases, see the Austin-Travis County online dashboard.
4:45 p.m. – The Hays County Local Health Department reported six new COVID-19 lab-confirmed positive cases.Hays County's total is now 155, with 77 of those affected already recovered and out of quarantine and 77 current active cases. The number of total hospitalizations has risen to 15, with five people actively hospitalized on April 27. Thirty-eight additional negative lab tests were received bringing that total to 1,539.
4:30 p.m. – Bastrop County is now reporting 62 cases, Caldwell County is reporting 11 and Fayette County is reporting 15, with seven active.
4:15 p.m. – The Texas Medical Association's president released the following statement in response to Gov. Abbott’s announcement that Texas hospitals now need to reserve only 15% of their capacity for COVID-19 patients:
"This is a prudent and careful move by Governor Abbott. Our hospitals were prepared for a large surge of COVID-19 patients. Thanks to most Texans abiding by social distancing requirements, we were able to avoid that surge. However, we must expand significantly our testing capacity, our ability to monitor new cases of COVID-19, and our ability to trace their contacts to prevent a rapid resurgence of this epidemic in Texas."
4 p.m. – Austin ISD said it will begin mailing packets of learning materials April 27 for pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students. To reduce the number of people at curbside food distribution sites, learning packets will no longer be available at food sites. Food distribution will continue as usual, according to AISD. Students of families who qualify for free and reduced lunch will automatically receive these mailed packets, AISD said.
2:30 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott announced the "stay home" executive order, which is scheduled to expire on April 30, would not be extended.
"That executive order has done it's job to slow the growth of COVID-19 and I will let it expire as scheduled," Abbott said. "Now, it's time to set a new course. A course that responsibly opens business in Texas. We will open in a way that uses safe standards."
Abbott also revealed his plan to reopen the Texas economy, which would be done in phases. For more information on Texas reopening, click here.
Governor Abbott also relaxed certain restrictions related to health care professionals and issued amended requirements related to hospital capacity. Under an Executive Order (GA-19) issued April 27:
- All licensed health care professionals shall be limited in their practice by, and must comply with, any emergency rules promulgated by their respective licensing agencies dictating minimum standards for safe practice during the COVID-19 disaster.
- Every hospital licensed under Chapter 241 of the Texas Health & Safety Code shall reserve at least 15% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVID-19 patients, as determined by HHSC.
Additionally, the governor issued an Executive Order (GA-20) to eliminate the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for individuals traveling from Louisiana. Under GA-20, the mandated 14-day quarantine for travelers from the following areas remains in place: California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan, and Miami, Florida.
11:30 a.m. – Capital Metro will continue to provide free fares for all customers throughout May. Riders are asked to only use the services for essential travel.
11 a.m. – Texas State University expands its tuition-free "Bobcat Promise" program, allowing students with a family adjusted gross income of less than $50,000 to get free tuition.
The program used to have a cut-off of $35,000. It is limited to new freshmen who have submitted their FAFSA. The university estimates the expansion will help about 5,600 students in the fall.
10:46 a.m. – The Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) announced 25 new positive COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total to 287. There are eight people hospitalized. So far, 144 people have recovered in Williamson County.
10 a.m. - There will be a food and book distribution happening in Austin at Navarro Early College High School. The weekly distribution will be hosted by Austin Voices for Education and Youth (AVEY) and will be held Monday afternoon from 3:00 to 5 pm.
9:30 a.m. – Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin announced it is teaming up with Austin Public Health, CommUnityCare Health Centers and the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) to provide a safe place for people experiencing homelessness to self-quarantine and receive health care. According to UT, the emergency fundraising initiative was launched by a gift from Austin entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria and his wife, Eloise, who are matching the first $250,000 in donations. DeJoria co-founded tequila maker Patrón Spirits Co. and the John Paul Mitchell hair care company. The gift is through JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, created by the DeJoria family to invest in charities that share the core values of the family’s companies — social responsibility and sustainability. The initiative will also serve as a pilot for a long-term project to provide temporary shelter and care when people experiencing homelessness have other medical conditions, according to UT. People who are released from the hospital to the streets without having a safe place to recover are at greater risk for rehospitalization, UT officials said.
6 a.m. - Gov. Abbott is expected to tell us more about his plan to reopen Texas at 2:30 p.m.
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE: