For the first time since the start of the winter break, Travis County has fewer than 200 people hospitalized for COVID-19. There are currently 180 people in the hospital. That’s 22 less than this time on Friday morning. 63 people are in the intensive care unit. That number is also much lower than it has been recently. Of the 77,485 confirmed cases, 1,190 cases are active and 75,516 have recovered.
In light of these numbers, Austin / Travis County have now entered tier three on the COVID risk map. According to the local health authority, this means a relaxation of the restrictions. Companies are advised to have between 50 and 75% capacity, as opposed to 25 to 50% in the previous fourth tier. Austin Mayor Steve Adler says the moving average of seven hospital stays in seven days is going in the right direction.
“We have to push that down further. We have to go below 10. If we can bring this number below 10, we are in the blue zone, ”says Adler.
He continues to ask people to keep up with masking and other mitigation efforts.
Local mask order
The city of Austin won a court victory after a district judge refused to grant the state of Texas an injunction over the city’s local mask ordinance. The verdict says that Austin’s order can remain in effect for at least two weeks, but further arguments are awaited and the judge’s verdict is not final and could certainly reverse course here. At the moment, however, this means that the city can enforce mask mandates until the spring break
Phase 1c vaccinations
Vaccination Phase 1C begins today in Texas, meaning people between the ages of 50 and 60 are now eligible. But this group will likely wait a while to get a vaccine in central Texas. Andy Brown, a Travis County judge, says the ability to dose much more is there, but limited inventory is still an issue
“As before, the common denominator is that we hope we get more vaccines across the board for the region,” says Brown.
Tens of thousands of people in Phase 1A and 1B remain on waiting lists in all counties in Central Texas, but people in 1C can now sign up for an appointment.
Dell Diamond injection site
Dell Diamond continues to be used as a massive vaccination site in Williamson County. Over the weekend, 2,000 shots were fired at the site every day starting Friday, and many people who showed up say they see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“We will be able to see our extended family a little more. Can’t wait for the students we work with to have all of these kids sort of normal. “
Williamson County says the baseball field is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but appointments are required and Phases 1A and 1B are prioritized.
Rent relief program
Austin’s revamped Emergency Relief Program kicks off today with federal funding of $ 25 million. The city will grant randomly selected applicants a grant of up to 15 months to offset the rental costs. Previous programs took three or six months to complete. The application portal will remain open until December or until the funds are used up
One year after being canceled due to COVID, SXSW starts this week with a focus on digital performances. Hugh Forrest, chief programming officer, told CBS Austin that he was confident this could create a whole new audience for the future.
“People who could never go to Austin, people who might not have been able to afford to go to Austin are now involved in the event,” says Forrest.
The 100% online event will take place from tomorrow through March 20th, but next year there are plans to switch back to 100% in person. The 2019 festival brought in more than $ 350 million in sales.
Educators protest for funding
The Texan educators and unions gather around a caravan around the governor’s villa and put pressure on the heads of state to support education and health in the current legislative period. Ken Zarifis heads the Education Austin group.
“We want to make sure HB funding continues so that the state doesn’t invest in the federal dollars allocated to independent school districts for public education,” says Zarifis.
He says Texas is getting more than $ 27 billion from the US rescue plan and school districts should be prioritized.
Poisonous algae in Lake Travis
There are a growing number of places in Lake Travis where it is considered unsafe for your dog to swim. A test near Hudson Bend recently revealed the presence of toxic algae. At least 10 locations along Lake Travis have now tested positive, according to LCRA.