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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis County reports another death from COVID-19, 53 new cases

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Wednesday, May 13.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active.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 13 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 41,000 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 1,100 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The department estimates more than 22,000 people have recovered from the virus.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: More than 2,200 cases have been reported and at least 72 people have died. More than 780 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 390 cases have been reported and at least 16 people have died. More than 220 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: There have been more than 210 cases reported in the county and at least three people have died. Around 140 people have recovered from the virus.

Top headlines:

Updates:

11:15 p.m. – UT Health Austin and Dell Medical School looking for volunteers interested in helping with COVID-19 contact tracing. Read more.

10:50 p.m.  The Texas Travel Alliance is calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to recognize the importance of travel and look ahead to what reopening Texas means for the industry.

10:45 p.m. – Austin grandmother writes children's book to explain to kids why they can't see their grandparents right now. Read more.

10:30 p.m.  Experts from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Houston put together "playbook" for rebuilding Texas after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

10 p.m. – As the world awaits a vaccine for COVID-19, we wanted to take a look at how vaccinations are made.

9 p.m.  The Bastrop Economic Development Corporation is handing out an additional $215,000 in grants to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is on top of the $400,000 in grants handed out over the month of April. 

A total of 104 businesses will receive these new grants, which will be distributed within the next two weeks.

RELATED: Bastrop's Economic Development Corporation is offering emergency grants to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic

8:30 p.m. – Starting on Thursday, you'll need reservations to get into the Emma Long, Commons Ford or Walter E. Long parks. The reservations are required Thursday through Sunday.

8:15 p.m.  As businesses begin to reopen, SouthWest Water Company wants to help owners get ready to open their doors by reminding them to flush the pipes. The company said if the water in a building goes unused for a long period of time, that can lead to low water quality.

To prevent that from happening, flush the toilets at least twice, run faucets and showers for at least two minutes and flush all appliances.

6:15 p.m. – Travis County reported another death from COVID-19 on Wednesday, along with 53 new confirmed cases. There has been a total of 2,288 cases in the county and 72 deaths. At least 782 people have recovered from the virus.

5:15 p.m.  The Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department will honor the city's seniors on Friday by lighting the historic water tower in the colors of Round Rock ISD high schools. The tower will be lit starting at 8 p.m.

5:10 p.m. – On May 13, Hays County has had 217 lab-confirmed cases. Of those, 70 remain active, with 144 recoveries now reported.

The county has had three COVID-19 deaths, the first was a woman in her 80s who had been living with a relative in Buda. The second death was announced on May 8, a Wimberley resident in their 90s. The third death was a San Marcos resident in their 60s (officials did not release the person's gender).

As of May 13, the Hays County Local Health Department has received 2,066 negative test results.

Hays County officials announced on March 31 it had launched an online dashboard online which keeps track of the county's COVID-19 numbers. The online tool, along with other important information about the response to the COVID-19 crisis, is available here: www.sanmarcostx.gov/covid19info. County residents may visit https://hayscountytx.com/covid-19-information-for-hays-county-residents/.

For more information on the previously reported Hays County cases, click here.

5 p.m. – Here are the latest Texas coronavirus data from the Department of State Health Services.

Numbers in Texas showed that daily new cases jumped back up to the highest number since more than a month ago. But note, Texas is testing more people now than it was in April. Hospitalizations and positivity rate both ticked back down.

4:45 p.m. – Austin Public Health (APH) has published a color-coded chart to help residents of Austin-Travis County understand the stages of risk and provide recommendations on what people should do to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit: Austin Public Health
Credit: Austin Public Health

The new risk-based guidelines set out five distinct stages of risk, from the lowest threat, Stage 1, through the most serious, Stage 5, along with recommended behaviors for each stage.

4 p.m. – As of Wednesday, May 13, Texas HHSC has received reports of 294 nursing facilities and 105 assisted living facilities in Texas with one or more COVID-19 confirmed positive residents and/or facility staff. HHSC had received reports of 447 resident deaths related to COVID-19 in nursing facilities and 95 resident deaths related to COVID-19 in assisted living facilities located in Texas.

3:50 p.m. – Texas Gas Service is encouraging people impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic to take advantage of $900 million the federal government released to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help pay utility bills. In Texas those funds are distributed through the Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP).

Anyone wishing to apply for assistance can call 211 or visit www.211Texas.org or www.TexasGasService.com/LIHEAP.

12:30 p.m. – The Texas National Guard has launched a disinfection program for nursing facilities, with six teams already mobilized to facilities across the state, with more to come.

The Facilities Disinfection Teams are made up of Guardsmen from Joint Task Force 176. Each team is equipped with PPE, ionized sprayers and vital oxide – a virus-killing disinfectant.

"The Texas National Guard plays a crucial role in our ongoing response to COVID-19, and I am grateful for their work to address the unique challenges our nursing homes face during this pandemic," said Gov. Greg Abbott. "The training these Guardsmen have received will equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to provide this crucial assistance to these facilities." 

"The Texas National Guard readily accepts this newest mission assignment," said Major General Tracy Norris. "We take our charge of protecting all Texans, especially our most vulnerable populations, extremely seriously. Our service members have proactively trained for this mission alongside the Health and Human Services Commission and other partner agencies. We stand ready to continue to serve both here at home and abroad in the war fight."

RELATED: How the Texas Army National Guard is helping you stay safe during COVID-19 pandemic

11:40 a.m. –  A new study estimated that nearly 1.6 million Texans lost their employer-sponsored health insurance in the last two months due to job losses associated with COVID-19. The study was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas was already last in the nation for insurance coverage. At the start of the year, Texas had 5 million uninsured residents and an uninsured rate of 18%, the worst in the nation.

The study found that if Texas does not expand Medicaid by January 2021, as many as 382,000 additional Texans could be left without an option for affordable health insurance.

11:30 a.m. – The Texas Transportation Department (TxDOT) was awarded a federal grant of almost $75 million to improve transportation infrastructure in rural areas to help transit providers continue to operate throughout the novel coronavirus outbreak. The funding, which was appropriated by Congress last month as part of the CARES Act, comes through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). You can read more about these grants here.

11:15 a.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott announced he has waived license renewal late fees that accrued between March 13 and June 15 for occupational licenses issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). This waiver applies to licenses associated with a variety of occupations such as barbers, cosmetologists, electricians, speech-language pathologists, and dyslexia therapists.

"This waiver removes financial barriers that could prevent Texans from getting back to work as we safely and strategically open the economy," said Governor Abbott. "The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges for the Texas workforce, and we are committed to restoring these hardworking Texans' livelihoods while protecting public health."

10:10 a.m. – Starting Wednesday, May 13, Williamson County and Family Emergency Room will allow individuals who wish to be tested for COVID-19, but are not experiencing symptoms, to be tested, according to county officials. Family Emergency Room is conducting COVID-19 tests by appointment free of charge at its facilities in Cedar Park and Round Rock. Residents must go to www.wilco.org/coronavirus to fill out the form first. Schedulers contact patients Monday through Friday; however, appointments are available seven days a week. 

Check back on this live blog for the latest updates Wednesday.

WATCH: Health officials issue dire warnings about reopening early during COVID-19

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE: 

House rescue package includes $25 billion for Postal Service

Sidelined CDC documents stress plans for more coronavirus flareups

COVID-19 testing rates in Central Texas are lower than the state average

Austin-Travis County coronavirus cases reach 2,235, 71 deaths