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Central Texas Local News | kcentv.com

Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Travis County now reporting 977 cases, 17 deaths

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Wednesday, April 15.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This live blog is no longer updating. For the latest coronavirus news in Central Texas, keep up with KVUE's April 16 live blog.

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 15 live blog.

Top Headlines:

Updates:

9:20 p.m. – Bastrop County is now reporting 38 confirmed cases of COVID-19, four more than on Tuesday. The county said six have recovered from the virus, while there has been one death.

9:15 p.m. – The City of Austin's coronavirus online dashboard has been updated to include demographics on COVID-19 positive cases as well as deaths.

6:50 p.m. The City of Austin announces that social services agencies can now apply for Relief In a State of Emergency (RISE) funds. Social services providers can now visit the City's website to apply for a cut of the $15 million allocated by the city council earlier this month.

Organizations must be a registered vendor with the City of Austin and submit applications through PartnerGrants to be considered. 

Austin Public Health anticipates awarding multiple agreements with a minimum request of $250,000 and a maximum request of up to $2 million. Smaller amounts may be considered for smaller organizations with a deep community connection.

6 p.m. – Confirmed cases of coronavirus in Travis County increase by 77, bringing the total to 977. Deaths have increased by three, with 17 now reported.

5 p.m. – Central Health-funded CommUnityCare Health Centers announced it is re-opening some temporarily closed clinics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is also opening drive-up testing sites in Eastern Travis County.

CommUnityCare’s Hornsby Bend Health Center re-opened Wednesday, April 15, and will resume regular clinic hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. CommUnityCare's Del Valle Health Center will open April 20 with modified hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. CommUnityCare said it plans to re-open health centers in Manor and Community First! Village next.

4:45 p.m. – H-E-B confirmed to KVUE it had updated its policy to require employees to wear masks while working. Here is a statement KVUE received from H-E-B: 

"H-E-B strongly encourages our customers to wear masks while in our stores. Out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of public safety, we updated our mask guidelines and require all Partners in customer-facing roles to wear masks at work. Some cities have passed laws requiring the use of face coverings while in public and H-E-B will follow those regulations. Our Partners as well as customers must wear a proper face covering to enter our stores in cities where the law requires people to wear masks while in public.

And anecdotally, we’re seeing almost perfect compliance today in our Austin stores and we are very grateful and proud of our customers. It really means to the world to us to see them choose to care for each other by wearing face coverings."

4:30 p.m. – Hays County is reporting six new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the number to 65 active cases, with 109 total confirmed cases in the county. There has been one fatality.

In Hays County, 43 people have recovered from the virus and there have been 10 hospitalizations for COVID-19. Negative test results have been received for 642 people in the county.

4:20 p.m.  The Texas Workforce Commission says it received 14 million calls last week. TWC said prior to the pandemic, they would receive an average of 13,000 calls per day. 

TWC now has more than 1,500 staff members helping support unemployment insurance services. To handle the influx of calls, 100 emergency staff members have been hired to work in call centers, 450 employees were transported from other departments to help take claims, two call centers were added in the last week and two more will open soon. TWC has also extended its call center hours.

3:40 p.m.  Austin ISD is postponing graduation ceremonies originally scheduled for May 26 through May 28 until August 10 through August 13. The district said the new dates are subject to change depending on conditions at that time.

AISD also said the High School Officem – in collaboration with a committee of parents, students and principals – is working on a virtual graduation ceremony plan and virtual graduations would likely occur on or around June 15.

AISD families can view the tentative August graduation schedule here.

3:15 p.m. – An eighth Capital Metro employee has tested positive for COVID-19. This follows two more cases that were announced yesterday. Seven are bus drivers and one was a mechanic.

2:45 p.m – The Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is offering a variety of online recreation and cultural experiences for residents sheltering in place. The programs include enriching learning experiences, exercise classes, and family activities. To help slow the spread of COVID-19, PARD has altered its operations, including closing facilities, museums, recreation, cultural, and senior centers, and amenities such as tennis and basketball courts. However, the Department is providing diverse programs and experiences online. The current lineup of programming includes exercise videos for kids and adults, virtual exhibits, arts and crafts, and programs for seniors. PARD will regularly release new programs while residents are required to stay home.

2:42 p.m. – The launch of the Meals 4-One and All feed the hungry community initiative exceeded all expectations, generating more than 1,000 meals for needy families throughout the Hays County area in just one week’s time. The program kicked off with 14 restaurants in Kyle and San Marcos donating one meal for every four purchased. Donated meals, in the form of vouchers, will be distributed between The Hays County Food Bank, Hays CISD Hope2Go program and San Marcos Youth Council. These charities, like so many nationwide, are facing increased demands and decreased resources.

1:10 p.m. -  St. Edward's University has discontinued six athletic programs due to constraints from COVID-19. The programs affected include its men's soccer, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis and cheerleading programs.

Student-athletes impacted by the cuts will have their athletic scholarships honored for the entirety of their undergraduate enrollment at the university.

RELATED: St. Edward's discontinues six athletic programs

12:15 p.m. - Williamson County announces four new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing total to 128. So far, 75 people have recovered and four have died.

RELATED: LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county

12 p.m. - Gov. Abbott's Public Safety Office announces $38 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program is on its way to local government units in Texas.

These jurisdictions are allowed to use this funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Allowable projects and purchases include things like overtime, equipment, supplies, training, travel expenses and addressing the medical needs of inmates in local and tribal jails and detention centers

10:15 a.m. - On Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will announce a plan to eventually reopen the Texas economy, the governor's office confirmed to KVUE's Bryce Newberry. Abbott previously told KVUE the state is working with the White House on the process and any reopening would have to be gradual. 

The expected executive order will discuss "how we're going to go about this process of opening up businesses, and that must include the appropriate medical strategies to make sure that we are not going to be increasing the spread of the coronavirus," Abbott told KVUE.

9:45 a.m. - The University of Texas at Austin has confirmed that 53 students who went to Cabo for spring break have tested positive or are presumed positive for COVID-19. That's up from 49 spring breakers who were confirmed on April 3. There is now a total of 83 UT students who have tested positive for COVID-19.

In response to the economic impact COVID-19 has had on the economy of Greater Austin, and specifically those who’ve lost jobs and income, the Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN) announced today the launch of its COVID-19 Relief Fund. The purpose of the fund is to raise support for individuals and families in need of emergency funds to cover costs associated with food and gas as well as other essential items as additional funds are raised.

9 a.m. - From 9 a.m. to noon, the Central Texas Food Bank will distribute boxes of food to those in need at the LBJ Early College High School. Each household will be limited to one box, which will contain about 28 pounds of shelf-stable items such as peanut butter, rice, canned chicken and canned fruit. The boxes will also contain items such as baby whites, shampoo and toothpaste.

Volunteers will place boxes in the cars that drive up.

WATCH: Mayor Adler gives updates after extending stay-at-home order

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