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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis County now reporting 642 COVID-19 cases, with 128 recovered

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Thursday, April 9.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. To get the latest news, 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 9 live blog.

Top Headlines:

Updates:

8:55 p.m. - The Cedar Park City Council has approved a $200,000 program to provide assistance to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To qualify for the program, the business must meet the following requirements set by the City:

  • Must be located within the corporate limits of Cedar Park
  • Must not be a home-based business or sole proprietor, and cannot be a non-profit organization
  • Must have been in business for at least 12 months
  • Must employ fewer than 25 full-time or full-time equivalent employees
  • Has endured a 25 percent or greater reduction in sales after COVID-19 pandemic
  • Has applied for a Small Business Administration (“SBA”) loan or other type of loan from a certified financial institution

More information, and the application, can be found on the Cedar Park Chamber of Commerce's website.

7 p.m. – Austin-Travis County now has 642 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 128 recovered. There are still seven deaths from the virus. 

More details on the cases, including a breakdown of ages, can be found on the City's online dashboard.

5:30 p.m. - Hays County is now reporting 79 total positive cases. Fifty-five of those remain active.

4:45 p.m. – Austin ISD said it will close its facilities and open spaces, including tennis courts, tracks, football fields, basketball courts and playfields, effective 7 p.m. on Thursday. The school district said the move was in line with the City of Austin and Travis County's stay-home order.

4:10 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott said the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has adopted an emergency rule to temporarily allow more nurse aides to serve residents in long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 response.

The rule will allow nursing facilities to hire people to provide nurse aide services without having to complete a full certification program in their first four months of employment, Abbott said.

2:22 p.m. - Gov. Greg Abbott has temporarily waived regulations to lift certain telehealth restrictions and expand telehealth options as Texas responds to COVID-19. The waivers mean that speech-language pathologists and audiologists, behavior analysts, hearing instrument fitters and dispensers, and dyslexia therapists and practitioners can use smart phone or any audio-visual, real-time, or two-way interactive communication system to qualify as a telecommunications technology that can be used to provide certain telehealth services. 

2:17 p.m. - An Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the City of Austin. According to the City of Austin, the employee told ARR about the positive test results earlier this week. The City said they are working to support the employee during their recovery and ARR is "working with Austin Public Health (APH) to track and trace potential contacts and has or will reach out to any contact determined to have a high-risk exposure from our employee. "

2 p.m. - At a city council meeting Thursday afternoon, Austin councilmembers approved $15 million in relief funding to the community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, councilmembers approved $45 million to help reduce Austin Energy and Austin Water bills.

12:35 p.m. - Beginning Tuesday, April 14, the City of San Marcos Municipal Court will use virtual courtrooms for all arraignments, pretrial hearings, attorney dockets, show cause dockets, plea dockets and most hearings involving a judge. Jury trials scheduled to take place in July, however, will be postponed until it's safe to meet in large groups again, the city said in a press release.

12:25 p.m. - Catholic Charities of Central Texas announced it's offering two free teletherapy counseling sessions for people experiencing anxiety or job loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can take a look at the group's additional services here.

12:15 p.m. - Williamson County announces six new positive cases, bringing total to 103. Forty-nine people have recovered and fourth deaths have been reported.

11:40 a.m. - Domino's announced it is donating 12,800 pizzas within Austin communities. More than 60 Domino's stores in the Austin area will each donate 200 pizzas as part of this national effort. The pizzas will be given to hospitals and medical centers, schoolkids and their families, health departments, grocery store workers and others in need.

“We realize that there is a great deal of hardship and uncertainty at this time,” said Sher Senior, an Austin-area Domino’s franchisee. “Domino’s wants to do whatever it can to help, and that means spreading a little bit of joy through pizza.”

11 a.m. - Austin ISD has temporarily updated district policy regarding grading and graduation.

All students will now receive either a grade of Pass or Incomplete. Their teachers will provide feedback on student performance and will continue to monitor progress. 

A grade of Incomplete will not affect a student's ability to advance to the next grade or graduate. Instead, it will identify students who need extra support in the summer or the following year.

More information can be found on the Austin ISD website

10 a.m. - The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Diocesan Council of Austin says it will be open this Saturday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to help provide meals for Easter.

8:53 a.m. - The Wounded Warriors Project announced it is committing $10 million to warriors who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more or to donate, click here.

WATCH: Gov. Greg Abbott gives update on COVID-19

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE: