AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer updating. Follow KVUE's March 23 live blog for Central Texas updates on the coronavirus.
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 22 live blog.
Top headlines for March 22:
- Italy resident shares reality of coronavirus pandemic killing thousands of people
- Austin teens stuck in Honduras after border closes amid coronavirus pandemic
- New City of Austin order requires grocery stores, pharmacies to enforce social distancing
- Need a job? These Austin-area stores, other businesses are hiring right now
- Coronavirus: Williamson County reaches 9 confirmed cases
- Bastrop County reports first presumptive positive COVID-19 case
- Austin coronavirus cases reach 79
7:15 p.m. – In an Emergency City Council Meeting held March 22, 2020 at 5 p.m., Cedar Park City Council unanimously voted for Cedar Park Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale to continue the Mayor’s Declaration of Local State of Disaster Regarding the COVID-19 epidemic until the Travis County, Williamson County or the State of Texas terminate their Declarations of Disaster – whichever comes first. It also allows for Cedar Park City Council to consider the local declaration at every regular-scheduled City Council Meeting.
7 p.m. – Austin-Travis County updated its confirmed coronavirus numbers Sunday evening to 79 cases.
3:30 p.m. – Out of 334 confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas, six people are dead, Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed at a press conference March 22.
He also announced that he is issuing two orders that he hopes will free up “countless hospital beds” across the state of Texas. He is ordering medical professionals to postpone procedures and surgeries that are not necessary in order to increase the capacity of hospital rooms available. He is also urging hospitals to allow more than one patient per hospital room.
Gov. Abbott also announced that National Guard troops will assist at Texas hospitals and drive-thru testing facilities.
When asked whether he plans on issuing a shelter-in-place currently, Abbott said he will not because there are more than 200 counties out of a total of 254 Texas counties that have no confirmed cases at the moment. He said local officials have the authority to order shelters in place.
Texas Department of State Health Services said at the press conference “it is very clear … that we are in the beginning of community spread of COVID-19.”
Watch the full press conference on KVUE's YouTube channel:
1:45 p.m. – As of Monday, all Austin Pets Alive! Thrift stores will be closed to the public. Shoppers can continue to support the shelter by shopping online.
Reminder: Austin Pets Alive! shelters are now closed to walk-in traffic and has moved to an appointment-based schedule only.
12:50 p.m. – The City of Pflugerville closes all parks, pavilions, playscapes and court areas, effective immediately and until further notice.
City, local homeowner association parks and Pflugerville Independent School District parks, pavilions and playgrounds are included, as are dog parks and the skate spot. City trails will remain open for active use within the current permitted constraints, up to 10 people.
12:40 p.m. – Hays County reports its positive seventh case. According to local officials, the adult patient had contact with someone who had already tested positive. The person was on the San Marcos High School campus on March 12 and was not displaying symptoms at the time, but later developed fever symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19.
San Marcos CISD has notified employees and student families. Hays County's epidemiologist said the risk of transmission is low for those on campus but recommends that all staff and students on campus monitor themselves for symptoms until March 26. Read more.
12:30 p.m. – Virtually all Texas A&M University-Central Texas courses have been converted to online and resume Monday. Students who don't have computer resources will be allowed to utilize the University Library and other computer labs on a limited basis and the university's website will have continuously updated information regarding COVID-19's impact.
The campus remains open, but many staff members are working remotely and are accessible via email and phone. Click here for the latest university updates related to coronavirus.
10:30 a.m. – Fayette County confirms its first positive coronavirus case. Additionally, the Fayette County judge has ordered that all county and City offices be closed to the general public and that all district and county court proceedings will be canceled through April 3. Read more.
9:50 a.m. – CommUnityCare to temporarily close seven of its 25 clinics in Travis County starting Monday to conserve protective equipment and expand telehealth services.
Saturday, 9:30 p.m. – Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White and St. David's HealthCare have implemented a new no-visitor policy, effective starting on Sunday.
Exceptions will be made for laboring and post-partum patients; patients with disabilities or impairments or who are elderly; patients in the neonatal ICU and pediatric units; patients requiring surgery or other medical procedures; and patients requiring end-of-life care, a spokesperson said. Those visitors must pass a health screening prior to entry.
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