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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis, Hays, Fayette and Caldwell counties report rising numbers

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Monday, April 6.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This live blog is no longer active. For the latest updates Tuesday, check out our new 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 6 live blog.

Top Headlines:

Updates:

9:45 p.m. – Lockhart ISD announces the district will obtain seven network towers to provide wireless internet to all LISD students and staff throughout Caldwell County.

In a recent survey of parents regarding internet access, results revealed 60% of LISD students have internet access, leaving the other students unable to participate in online learning, even with school-provided Chromebooks.

LISD said the internet service will be managed to ensure service for instructional programming only, restricting access to non-educational websites. The first phase of students to benefit will begin access in April, with the entire county covered by the end of July. 

7 p.m. – Round Rock ISD confirms one of its food services employees has tested positive for COVID-19. Read more.

5:50 p.m. – Austin-Travis County is reporting 502 cases of COVID-19. There have been six coronavirus-related deaths in the county to date. For an age breakdown of those 502 cases, see the Austin-Travis County online dashboard.

5:15 p.m. – Williamson County is now urging citizens to wear face masks in public. This comes three days after the CDC made similar recommendations.

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4:45 p.m. – The Hays County Local Health Department confirms there are 43 active lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. Five more lab-confirmed cases were reported since the day prior.

Since Hays County first started providing numbers, a total of 59 lab-confirmed cases have been reported. 

Meanwhile, Fayette County has reached 16 cases. Caldwell County has reached five.

4 p.m. – Amazon announces it has hired more than 80,000 employees, including more than 4,600 new employees in Texas.

The new hires in Texas fill a range of roles, including picking, packing and shipping customer orders and delivering packages from delivery stations.

2:20 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott gave an update on how the State of Texas is combating the coronavirus. He said that as of April 6, 7,319 Texans have tested positive and of those patients, 1,153 have been hospitalized. One-hundred-and-forty people have died as a result of COVID-19 in Texas.

Abbott said an official told him, "It is clear from the data that mitigation efforts are working," Abbott said. The governor said the official told him "we are getting close to bending the curve," and if we let up now, all that progress will have been for nothing.

He also announced that on April 5, the Department of Public Safety began increasing enforcement by establishing checkpoints for those driving from Louisiana into the State of Texas.

You can watch the governor's full press conference on KVUE's YouTube channel:

1:40 p.m. – Austin ISD announced that a food service employee of 10 years died after testing positive for COVID-19. The school district could not confirm that she died as a result of the virus.

1:20 p.m. –  Texas Health and Human Services announces the Texas WIC, the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children, is increasing the number of food items eligible to buy through the program. It is also updating its MyTexasWIC app to ensure Texans who need access to nutritious food items will be able to find it in their local stores.

Starting now, there are more options for particular food items WIC participants can buy. These include more options for milk, bread, rice, pasta and eggs. Also, Texas WIC is permanently adding canned fruits and vegetables to the food package. Items at the grocery store with a pink sticker that says “WIC Approved” are eligible in this program.

WIC participants can find detailed information on the Texas WIC website. WIC participants can also download the latest version of the MyTexasWIC shopping app on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, which informs families what the allowable food items are on their benefit package.

Llano County Attorney Becky Lange and Llano Sheriff Bill Blackburn have implemented a Llano County COVID-19 Education and Enforcement Task Force. The Task Force has been created to review calls and respond as needed to violations of the Llano County Stay Home-Stay Safe Order. Its mission is not to penalize citizens or businesses for violations of the order but really to encourage compliance and maintain social distancing standards throughout Llano County until the virus is no longer a threat.  

1:15 p.m. – Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell announced the county has approximately 1,000 test kits and more are being ordered. Judge Gravell said they are able to test first responders for COVID-19. According to Judge Gravell, the tests cost the county $70 each.

Judge Gravell also said a wing is being up in a Round Rock nursing home to isolate residents who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Judge Gravell asked those able to sew to help create face masks to help continue preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Regarding the latest death in the county, Judge Gravell said he is mourning alongside the community and asked everyone to come together to help out those in need.

Additionally, Gravell said the County is asking manufacturers, if able to, to transition their production to items that are in need, such as face shields.

12:05 p.m. –  Williamson County health officials announced the third death related to COVID-19 in the county. Officials said the woman was in her 60s.

Additionally, Williamson County officials announced four new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 81 cases.

12 p.m. – The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is closing access to all municipal golf courses beginning on April 6. Gates for each facility will remain closed and walking is prohibited. 

The closure will restrict golf, walking/running, bicycling or any other course use. The change will eliminate golf walking only and any other activity. Golf staff will continue to maintain and monitor the courses. 

For a complete list of Austin Parks and Recreation Department closures, visit http://austintexas.gov/parkclosures.  

11:30 a.m. – ATX Television Festival announced it would be "going virtual." The virtual festival would be from June 5 to June 7, according to officials. More details would be announced at atxfestival.com.

According to officials, it is not yet known if the man had underlying health conditions.

10:45 a.m. – Blanco County has issued a stay at home order requiring people to not leave their homes except for essential activities. The order also banned public and private gatherings of more than 6 people outside of residences.

The order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Monday,  April 6 and will continue until the Blanco County Judge lifts it.

9:15 a.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Care.com is increasing in-home child care access for frontline workers responding to the COVID-19 emergency. As part of this initiative, Care.com is offering 90 days of free, premium access to their services, along with specific portals for frontline workers and caregivers in Texas. Frontline workers looking for child care as well as prospective caregivers can both enroll at https://texasfrontline.care.com/.

Hays County offices will be closed Friday, April 10, to observe Good Friday, city officials said. County employees involved in COVID-19 prevention and response will continue to staff the virtual Emergency Operations Center and perform other functions critical to preventing and responding to the viral outbreak. Good Friday is not a City of San Marcos holiday, and the Municipal Court located in the Hays County Government Center will have employees available to answer phone calls and emails. COVID-19 hotline operators will continue to answer calls from residents who have questions about prevention, symptoms, and the need for testing. The hotline number is 512-393-5525.

9 a.m. – Grande Communications announced it will offer free internet and WiFi for 60 days to all qualifying low-income households who do not already subscribe to their internet service and who enroll in the Internet First program. The Internet First program is affordable internet designed to help families and students in low-income households to have reliable access to the internet. Additionally, Grande said it will not terminate service to any residential or business customer of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 and will also be waiving late fees.  

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

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