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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis County reports 4 more deaths from COVID-19, 508 new cases

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Monday, June 29.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest updates, 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 June 29 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 143,000 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 2,300 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. More than 5,500 people are hospitalized across the state. An estimated 78,248 people have recovered.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: Over 8,900 cases have been reported and at least 121 people have died. At least 6,117 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: Over 2,400 confirmed cases have been reported and at least six people have died. At least 418 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 2,000 cases have been reported in the county and at least 35 people have died. More than 830 people have recovered from the virus.

Top headlines:

Latest updates:

8:30 p.m. – Leander Mayor Troy Hill issued a new disaster declaration on Monday, as well as a new order on social distancing effective Wednesday, July 1, that requires customers and employees of local businesses to either keep a distance of at least 6 feet or wear appropriate face coverings.

6:50 p.m. – Cedar Park Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale issues an emergency order requiring all commercial entities and nonprofits (other than churches and places of worship) to require face coverings. The order requires every person over age 10 (both employees and visitors) inside these facilities or buildings to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when within six feet of another person. The order goes into effect on July 1.

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department provided the following updates:

  • Two youth at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center, in Edinburg, tested positive for COVID-19 today. These are the first youth to test positive at that facility.  
  • Two youth at one of TJJD’s halfway houses tested positive for COVID-19 today. Two additional youth are awaiting testing. These are the first youth to test positive at a halfway house.  
  • Two Youth Development Coaches at the Evins Regional Juvenile Center tested positive for COVID-19 today.  
  • The youth who have tested positive for COVID-19 all remain on campus for treatment.  
  • As of today, TJJD has administered a total of 242 COVID-19 tests to youth.  

Since the start of the pandemic, 25 staff members at the agency’s secure facilities have tested positive for COVID-19:    

  • Evins Regional Juvenile Center: 13  
  • Gainesville State School: 3  
  • Giddings State School: 8  
  • McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility: 0  
  • Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex: 1    

Since the start of the pandemic, 16 youth at the agency’s secure facilities have tested positive for COVID-19:    

  • Evins Regional Juvenile Center: 2  
  • Gainesville State School: 8  
  • Giddings State School: 6  
  • McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility: 0  
  • Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex: 0  

6:30 p.m. – Travis County reported another four deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the death toll to 121. The county also reported another 508 confirmed cases, bringing the total to 8,969. At least 6,117 people have recovered from the virus.

In Travis County, 368 people are currently hospitalized from the coronavirus, with 121 people in the ICU and 65 people on ventilators.

6:15 p.m. – The City of Austin announces it will be closing a number of parks, pools and other facilities from July 3 through July 5.

This includes all City parks, as well as recreational facilities (e.g. golf courses, tennis courts, boat ramps, recreation/cultural centers, museums, Austin Nature & Science Center, Zilker Botanical Garden, preserves, etc). All pre-paid park admission passes will be credited to customer accounts or refunded.

Starting June 30, Austin Public Health has recommended the closure of Barton Springs Pool and Deep Eddy Pool until further notice. Existing pool reservations will be canceled. Chlorinated pool facilities will continue to operate according to their posted schedules.

A full listing of City of Austin park closures can be found here.

5:15 p.m. – Hays County reports 75 new cases of COVID-19. As of today, there have been 2,661 lab-confirmed cases, 422 recoveries, six fatalities and 62 hospitalizations. Currently, 19 people remain hospitalized and 2,233 cases remain active.

4:52 p.m. – Williamson County officials announced two more COVID-19 deaths in the county, bringing the death toll to 37. The two deaths were a man in his 40s and a man in his 80s. 

As of June 29, Williamson County has 1,165 active cases of coronavirus. In total, the county is reporting 863 recoveries. A total of 2,100 cases have been confirmed according to the county's dashboard on June 29. At least 82 people are hospitalized.

4:42 p.m. – The Georgetown mayor has issued a new order requiring businesses to enforce that customers and employees wear facemasks. The order goes into effect on Friday, July 3.

According to the order, at minimum, businesses must require visitors ages 10 and older to wear a face-covering over their nose and mouth when maintaining a 6-foot distance is not possible.

The following situations are exempt from the order:

  • When exercising or engaging in physical activity outside
  • While driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
  • When wearing a mask poses a mental or physical health, safety or security risk
  • While pumping gas or operating outdoor equipment
  • While in a building or activity that requires security surveillance or screening, like banks
  • When consuming food or drink

4:20 p.m – Williamson County officials say they have seen an increased interest in COVID-19 testing and are working with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to announce walk-up test sites next week. The sites will be free, with no appointment required, and people don't have have to be showing symptoms to get tested. County Judge Bill Gravell plans to release more information on those sites tomorrow. 

4:15 p.m. – Starting on Wednesday, the City of Taylor will require all businesses and commercial entities to require employees and visitors to wear face coverings whenever separation of six feet or more isn't feasible. Businesses have until midnight Wednesday to develop their health and safety policy including this mandate and have it implemented when enforcement begins.

The mayor of Hutto has also announced a local disaster declaration, activating the City's emergency management plan. As part of the declaration, all Hutto businesses must implement a health and safety policy that includes mandatory face coverings.

4:10 p.m.  The Travis County Sheriff's Office (TCSO) is reporting two new COVID-19 cases among the inmate population. Of those cases, one was quarantined with symptoms and the other was in isolation. Both were relocated to the "Quarantine – Confirmed Positive" unit. One inmate has been cleared by medical professionals to be released from that unit.

In addition to the two new inmate cases, TCSO is reporting 16 new cases among employees. Overall, 34 TCSO employees and 11 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.

TCSO said as of Monday, there are 30 inmates in quarantine, meaning they are experiencing virus-like symptoms. Four inmates are in the Quarantine – Confirmed Positive unit. And 215 newly booked, healthy inmates are being held in single-occupancy cells for 10 to 14 days.

3:45 p.m.  U.S. Sen. John Cornyn announces that the Austin nonprofit Common Threads has been awarded a $100,000 federal grant to increase the amount of local food served in child nutrition programs and to teach kids about food and agriculture. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm to School grants program.

"During these uncertain times, more families depend on our public school system to ensure their children receive a balanced, healthy meal," Cornyn said. "I applaud the Trump Administration for making nutrition in Austin an important priority."

3:30 p.m. – Sarah Eckhardt, special assistant to Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, confirmed to KVUE the Austin Convention Center is currently being stocked for a 1,500-bed field hospital for COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization but are milder cases than those who require serious care.

RELATED: Austin-Travis County nears 70% hospital capacity, judge says in letter to Gov. Abbott

3 p.m. – The Park at The Domain has received a 30-day alcohol permit suspension from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for refusing to cease operations. On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order stating that all businesses that received more than 51% of their revenue from alcohol sales must close.

2:45 p.m. – An order in Marble Falls now requires businesses to enforce facial coverings among customers and employees due to COVID-19. It is effective beginning today.

Face coverings must be worn at all times by people over the age of two years old and who can medically tolerate them when in public spaces within the city of Marble Falls.

2:25 p.m. – UT head football coach Tom Herman released a new public service announcement on Monday, titled, "The Power of Teamwork." The PSA asks Texans to work together to stop the spread of the coronavirus by social distancing, wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly and staying home when possible.

1:50 p.m. – More than a dozen business and public education organizations in Texas have written to state leaders, urging them to mobilize experts in public education, public health and technology as schools reopen in the fall.

The 19 organizations are asking for a statewide task force to provide the necessary tools and guidance for schools and districts navigating the challenges of the pandemic.

Among the requests, the letter asks for funding and sufficient resources to deal with reopening.

1:06 p.m. – In order to reduce the spread of coronavirus, Travis County is closing all parks during the July 4 holiday weekend from July 2 at 8 p.m. through July 7 at 8 a.m. Travis County parks may remain closed beyond this date upon further evaluation, Travis County Parks said in a press release.

RELATED: Travis County to close all parks over holiday weekend

1 p.m. – Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe has sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott, asking that the state do the following in regard to the coronavirus pandemic and spike in cases:

  • Enforce mandatory masking as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention; and
  • Enforce a prohibition on social gatherings of more than 10 people not of the same household and not engaged in or seeking essential services.
  • Roll back to 25% occupancy statewide as was included in your Phase I Order GA 21
  • Allow the major metropolitan areas to roll all the way back to Stay Home orders based on worsening circumstances.

12:48 p.m. – The Round Rock City Council has made face masks mandatory in a new order that goes into effect Tuesday, June 30. There are certain situations where masks are not necessary.

12:29 p.m. – In its final plans for the 2020 fall semester, UT Austin has announced a shortened semester and extended class days. Other details from the plan can be found online.

12:26 p.m. – Plasma donations are helping hospitalized coronavirus patients, and We Are Blood along with the Dell Medical School are asking for recovered COVID-19 patients to donate as Texas sees a spike in cases. If you qualify, find out how you can donate.

11:45 p.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott announces that the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is extending the application deadline for the federal Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program to July 31. This extension will help make sure eligible families have time to apply for this one-time food benefit of $285 per eligible child.

The program can be used the same way as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food benefits to pay for groceries. Eligible families include those with children who lost access to free or reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program due to school closures.

"The extension of the P-EBT deadline helps ensure that Texans have time to apply for this program and provide nutritious food to their families as the state continues to combat COVID-19," said Gov. Abbott. "Ensuring access to healthy food in our communities is an important part of our response to this pandemic."

WATCH: Austin and Texas COVID-19 cases continue to rise


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