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COVID in Austin Update (June 18)

Masks are the name of the game today. After yesterday’s busy day with Bexar County’s order and the Govenor giving in, other jurisdictions are jumping onto the bandwagon requiring businesses to require masks, with fines up to $1,000 for businesses not in compliance under the state law imposing that for failure to heed a disaster order:

  • Bexar County (San Antonio)
  • Cameron County (Brownsville)
  • Hidalgo County (McAllen)
  • Travis County (Austin)
  • Hays County (San Marcos)
  • El Paso County (El Paso)
  • Harris County (Houston, added June 19th)

I haven’t seen anything from the DFW or Houston areas about any jurisdictions following suit (yet).

In terms of the numbers, same story. On the statewide level, 3,516 new cases today (new record). We’ll hit 100,000 cases in Texas tomorrow. 43 dead in the last day, which is inching higher, but we’ve seen higher a few other times (sadly). The record high is 58 deaths on May 14th. New record for hospitalizations today too with 2,947 across the state.

Locally, while I’m really focusing in on Travis County, it’s impossible not to be keeping pulse on Hays County right now.

According to Austin’s ABC affiliate, KVUE, Hays County is seeing a 532% increase in new cases per day from two weeks ago as of yesterday.

Sadly, today’s numbers out of Hays County are bonkers with 210 new cases today. Looking at their data, the majority of the cases are in the San Marcos area which is the home to Texas State University. Texas State will be holding in-person classes on campus starting with their Summer II session beginning on July 9th.

Williamson County—the county containing the northern bits of Austin, Round Rock, and Georgetown—is seeing an increase, though not nearly as steep as Hays.

In Austin, we don’t know.

Wait, what?

I presume we’re at over 5,000 total cases in Austin today, but the data dashboard greeted me with this notice that they’re offline until tomorrow.

Per the Mayor, the number of new hospitalizations was 29, kissing Saturday’s record of 30. Our 7-day average notched up to 25. Mayor Adler also said that we had 153 in the hospital which is great news given that yesterday we had 176.

UPDATE June 19th: Mayor Adler misspoke. The correct number of new hospitalizations was 36, a new record by far.

The other local virus news is that Governor Abbott told lawmakers that kids would be back in the classroom in the fall, without masks or tests. Austin ISD already published a statement supporting their existing plan to explore blended (in-person and remote) approaches. I’m waiting for the Texas Education Agency’s guidance being released next week before diving into it.

That’s it for now. Wear a mask or stay home.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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