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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis County now reporting 1,312 cases, 31 deaths

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Thursday, April 23.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active.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 April 23 live blog.

Top Headlines:

Updates:

10:50 p.m. – The City of Cedar Park's Office of Economic Development with the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce issued 63 grants totaling $200,000 to small businesses in Cedar Park.

The grants are part of the City's Small Business Assistance Program in response to the pandemic.

6:10 p.m. –  Travis County is now reporting 1,312 confirmed cases, 31 deaths and 368 recoveries.

RELATED: LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county

4:55 p.m. – Hays County is reporting four new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total to 147, with 75 current active cases and 71 total recoveries.

There are 14 total hospitalizations in the county and four current hospitalizations. The county has had one COVID-19 death, a woman in her 80s who had been living with a relative in Buda.

4:40 p.m. – A new tool that allows Austin residents to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms without having to see a doctor is now live at AustinTexas.gov/COVID19. The tool uses an algorithm-based assessment to determine whether to refer an individual to a free testing site.

Austin Public Health said it will continue to prioritize health care workers and first responders, as well as people at higher risk of developing severe symptoms.

3:50 p.m. – Texas State University announced on Thursday it will provide $30 million in funds to students as part of its Bobcat Cares program, which includes more than $15 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the CARES Act.

The program will provide funds for currently enrolled and eligible students with COVID-19 related expenses, emergency grants to all students enrolled in summer courses, pro-rated refunds of certain spring semester charges and a new scholarship to cover fee and tuition costs for the fall 2020 semester. 

3:40 p.m. – The Austin City Council on Thursday voted to provide economic assistance to local musicians, providing $1.5 million to create and Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund. The fund will help musicians struggling with the impact of the cancellation of South By Southwest, as well as the closure of Austin music venues.

The ordinance is in response to a resolution passed to provide financial assistance to musicians through the Live Music Assistance Fund and other available resources, and explore the possibility of creating a digital live music portal, the City said.

The City of Austin Music Commission last month asked the city council to create the disaster fund.

“I’m proud to represent Downtown Austin and its many vibrant music venues, and I was honored to bring forward this recommendation from the Music Commission to provide financial assistance to musicians,” said Councilmember Kathie Tovo. “I appreciate the thoughtful discussion and collaboration that contributed to passage of this initiative, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Music Commission and others in the music community to identify additional ways to support our local musicians.”

3:20 p.m. - Fayette County reports its first COVID-19 death. A total of 16 cases have been reported, with 10 recoveries and five still active.

3 p.m. - The People’s Community Clinic in Austin has been awarded a federal grant of $1,085,312 to improve its facilities amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding comes through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“As Texans continue to reckon with the spread of COVID-19, it’s vital that our health centers are equipped to tackle everyday health issues that may arise as well,” said Sen. John Cornyn. “I’m grateful to the Trump Administration for continuing to make health centers in Austin an important priority.”

12:30 p.m. - Williamson County announced it confirmed 15 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the counties total to 182. So far 115 people are recovered in the county.

11:37 a.m. - So far, two offenders and two jail employees across Texas are believed to have died from the coronavirus, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. TDCJ is investigating six other offender deaths possibly related to COVID-19, pending preliminary autopsy results.

9:16 a.m. - The Texas Health and Human Services Commission will receive nearly $54 million in federal funding to support older Texans and those with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced in a statement. Those funds will go toward 28 agencies across Texas that deliver meals, help with household chores, assist with groceries and provide care and other services to family caregivers.

9 a.m. - Officials announced a task force that will focus on safely reopening the Austin-area economy. You can watch the full press conference on KVUE's YouTube page:

Williamson County updates its guidelines for nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care facilities. Read more.

8:28 a.m. - At 9 a.m., Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt, along with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, are announcing a task force that will focus on how to safely reopen the regional economy.

WATCH: Texas is 49th among states for testing per capita, study says

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