AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. To get the latest information, check out our new live blog for Thursday 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 March 25 live blog.
- Travis, Williamson counties issue stay-at-home order
- List: Here's what's open during the order to stay home
- Austin coronavirus cases reach 98
- LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county
- Gov. Greg Abbott: Statewide shelter in place 'not appropriate' at this time
- Local law enforcement agencies hoping to use education, not citations to enforce shelter-in-place orders
8:30 p.m. – Round Rock ISD announces it will be donating 6,500 facemasks and 6,000 pairs of gloves to assist Williamson County and medical providers. The donation dropoff will take place Thursday morning at the Georgetown Emergency Operations Center.
7:20 p.m. – Hays County adds curfew to stay-at-home order. The order is effective beginning at 11 p.m. March 26 through 4 a.m. April 10. A curfew from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. is in effect during that timeframe, exempting essential workers.
7:10 p.m. – City of Austin confirms 119 positive coronavirus cases in Austin-Travis County.
6:30 p.m. – Boys and Girls Club of Georgetown announces it will provide child care for the city's essential workers in the form of day camps.
Starting on Monday, March 30, BGCGT will operate essential family support day-camps for kids ages 5-12 at 1200 W. 17th Street in Georgetown. Only 50 slots are available at this time, but more could become available at a later date.
Day Camps will provide the following:
- a safe place, positive adult supervision
- exposure to traditional Boys & Girls Clubs youth development programs – centered on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and good character & citizenship
- a minimum of two meals and a snack per day
The camps will adhere to local, state, and federal 10+ gathering restrictions and follow CDC guidelines extended to child development agencies. BGCGT will practice rigid safety measures associated with disinfection, health screenings for participants, and proper health care modeling.
The organization will partner with GISD to support food program provision for participants, regular sanitation of facilities, medical screening, and continued learning requirements for youth.
No more than eight children per staff member will be allowed in a classroom. Day camp enrollment will be extended to families in the following priority order:
- Youth of mission-essential families who support the COVID-19 response infrastructure of medical and government entities in Georgetown – City and County staff, first responders, Texas National Guard, hospital workers and healthcare workers.
- Youth of families employed by “essential businesses” – as defined by the Department of Homeland Security – critical to supporting the region’s COVID-19 economic infrastructure.
The Club will institute a $50 weekly fee per child for day camp participation. Club leaders are seeking agreements with eligible mission-essential agencies and firms to establish partnerships that reserve camp slots for a partner’s employment base and provide financial support for program participation. Eligible agencies interested in partnership opportunities can contact Daniel Hall at email@example.com
Families interested in day camp services must enroll eligible youth online at www.bgctx.org/supportDayCamps or the Georgetown Club site, and submit proof of residency and mission-essential employment status prior to day camp participation.
The camps will operate Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. until further notice. Expansion of the program is possible.
Austin Community College announces campuses will remain closed until April 13. Spring classes resume online on March 30.
Round Rock ISD also extends closures through April 13.
6 p.m. – Hays County officially issues its stay-at-home order. This comes after the county judge said earlier in the day that the order was coming.
5:30 p.m. – Hays County confirms its 11th case of coronavirus, an adult who lives in Dripping Springs. This is the county's second confirmed case of the day.
5 p.m. – Amazon announces its "Future Engineer" program, which is providing free access to sponsored computer science courses in the US, which is for independent learners grades 6-12, and teachers who are remotely teaching this age group. Parents can also access this curriculum. You can sign up for this program here and check out more free computer science programming being added by the Amazon Future Engineer team.
4:40 p.m. – Del Valle ISD announces its schools will remain closed until May 1. The closure includes cancellation of all extracurricular activities, athletics, after school programs, and events. During the closure of schools, Del Valle ISD will follow an Alternate Learning Plan, district officials said. For the remainder of the week, DVISD said all students will continue to use paper lessons that were provided on the Friday before spring break and delivered on meal bus routes this week. DVISD said E-learning through Google Classroom will begin on Monday, March 30 for third graders through high school seniors. Students in pre-kindergarten through second grade will not be required to use Chromebooks, officials said. Instruction for primary students will be delivered mostly through paper materials, which will be available on the meal bus routes and pickup locations. Meal pickup and bus delivery information is available here.
4:30 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott waives certain regulations from the Texas Board of Nursing regarding licensing renewal and fees for Texas nurses. The waiver authorizes a six-month grace period for nurses with expired licenses. This period will allow nurses who are otherwise in good standing to continue practicing and will give them additional time to renew their licenses without added fees and penalties.
4 p.m. – Central Texas Food Bank announces it will remain open under the "Stay Home, Work Safe" order Residents needing assistance can visit the Central Texas Food Bank’s website to find an interactive map of food distribution locations. Just click “Find Food Now” or call 2-1-1 to be connected with services. Volunteers can sign up at the same website.
3:45 p.m. – Regional non-profit organization AGE of Central Texas has created an online library of activities, videos links, self-care resources, and virtual tours and webcams from around the globe – all in an effort to help older adults and family caregivers remain connected and active while they “Stay Home, Stay Safe” during the coronavirus pandemic. The online library will be updated with new content daily, Juba said, and can be access for free at http://www.TinyURL.com/AGE-at-home-activities. For more information on the programs and resources provided by AGE of Central Texas, visit www.AGEofCentralTX.org or call (512) 451-4611.
Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan, the Greater Round Rock Community Foundation, the Round Rock Chamber and Dell announced a new collaboration to assist small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The City of Round Rock and these partners have combined to establish the Round Rock Cares fund with $100,000 and invite the public to make their own personal donations.
3 p.m. – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issues a letter explaining that political subdivisions may not restrict the ability of state agencies, agents and contractors from providing governmental services, including travel to and from their places of employment. As declared in Executive Order GA-08, which holds the full force and effect of the law, “all critical infrastructure will remain operational, and government entities and businesses will continue providing essential services.”
2:15 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott announces he has temporarily waived certain hospital licensing rules and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has adopted an emergency rule to meet Texas’ need for additional hospital capacity while the state responds to COVID-19. Additionally, Gov. Abbott has directed HHSC to waive certain regulatory requirements regarding facility license renewals. These waivers will allow general, special and psychiatric hospitals, free-standing emergency medical facilities, and end-stage renal facilities to renew their license without submitting a fire marshal's report.
2 p.m. – President Trump approves Gov. Abbott's request for a disaster declaration for Texas and has ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local COVID-19 recovery efforts. The president’s action makes federal funding available for crisis counseling for affected individuals in all areas in Texas.
1:45 p.m. – A medic with Austin-Travis County EMS has tested positive for COVID-19, KVUE's Tony Plohetski confirms.
Austin leaders discussed that case, as well as Austin's efforts to combat coronavirus in general, at 2 p.m. You can watch on KVUE's YouTube page:
1:30 p.m. – The University of Texas at Austin officially postpones May 21-23 commencement and graduation ceremonies.
UT Austin said Wednesday that a virtual commencement will be planned for that week. Details about that are forthcoming. UT also said the future plan includes bringing everyone back to campus later this year for a full array of graduation and commencement ceremonies.
1:20 p.m. – On March 25, Llano County confirms its second case of COVID-19.
One Llano County patient is a man in his 60s who lives in the Horseshoe Bay area. His case is said to be travel-related and he self-quarantined immediately upon returning from his trip. A relative of that man was also diagnosed with COVID-19 and went on the same trip with him.
Both remain in quarantine at this time.
12:40 p.m. – Texas Search and Rescue (TEXSAR) and We Are Blood will host a public blood drive at The Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, Texas, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, March 26. To ensure safety, donors must sign up for an appointment here.
12:30 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture seeking permission to allow SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients to use their benefits at take-out and drive-thru restaurants. If approved, the governor's office said it would open up another food source to 3.2 million Texans.
12:25 p.m. – Hays County reports new case of COVID-19, bringing the county's total to 10. All 10 positive Hays County cases are adults and the 10th case is a Buda resident.
The breakdown of Hays County cases by city as of 12 p.m. March 25 is:
- Austin (some Hays County addresses are Austin): 1
- Buda: 3
- Dripping Springs: 1
- Kyle: 3
- San Marcos: 2
12:08 p.m. – Williamson County reports three new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county's total up to 22.
11:50 a.m. – Texas Workforce Commission announces it will be answering unemployment questions during a Facebook Live at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
11:45 a.m. – Life Time Fitness announces it will be hosting free online workouts.
11:11 a.m. – Bastrop County confirms reports of a second "presumptive positive" case in the county. The County said the patient is a 33-year-old female and it appears as though the exposure is travel related rather than community spread.
10:30 a.m. – The City of Hutto confirms to KVUE it has laid off 48 employees due to the impact of COVID-19. The City released the following statement:
"Our City is being challenged during this pandemic and the City is facing a significant impact on the financial health of the City. The leadership team has diligently worked to make the best decisions for the City, citizens, and our staff. During a time of crisis, business slows and therefore, revenue slows. We have evaluated the current and future impact of the crisis on City staff, operations and finances as we must continue to provide core services to citizens. During this time, our businesses and citizens are being impacted financially. The unfortunate decision to have layoffs was a difficult one, but in order for the City to stay fiscally responsible and provide the City’s core services we were forced to eliminate non-essential programs and services and reduce staffing."
9:30 a.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott announces that Texas has received a $16.2 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Community Living (ACL) to help communities provide meals for older adults. The grant was part of a $250 million outlay authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed into law by President Trump on March 18, 2020, according to Abbott's office.
9:15 a.m. – Austin Humane Society (AHS) says, as of March 25, it remains open by appointment only for adoptions. AHS said its team will continue to be onsite, though in limited numbers, to care for the animals. ASH has suspended all spay/neuter surgeries and are handling all adoptions virtually with FaceTime visits and extensive counseling over the phone.
Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN) is still collecting protective gear from the public on behalf of the City of Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) and Austin Public Health (APH), donations are now only being accepted at the following three locations:
- ADRN Headquarters/HOPE Family Thrift Store
- 1122 East 51st Street, Austin 78723, through March 28th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Celebration Church (North)
- 601 Westinghouse Rd – Georgetown, Texas, 78626
- Life Austin (Southwest)
- 8901 W Hwy 71 – Austin, Texas, 78736
As of March 25, 2020, ADRN is no longer accepting donations at the following locations:
- Greater Mt. Zion (East)
- 4301 Tannehill Ln – Austin, Texas, 78721
- Expression Church (Northwest)
- 3502 Hatch Rd – Austin, Texas, 78613
- Shoreline – South Campus
- 2008 Brandt Rd – Austin, TX 78744
8:40 a.m. – The City of Georgetown announces it is closing several parks and amenities that don't allow for social distancing until further notice.
Here's what is closed:
- Exercise equipment
- Drinking fountains
- Skate park
- Gatehouse at Garey Park
- Play Ranch at Garey Park
Here's what is opened:
- Garey Park
- Bark Park
- Open spaces
- Dog Ranch at Garey Park
- Equine amenities at Garey Park
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