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Austin is tracking 36 COVID-19 clusters in the general population—more than half among construction workers
(Austin Public Health) (Graph by Emma Freer/Flourish)


Austin Public Health is tracking 36 non-institutional clusters of COVID-19, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott told the City Council earlier today. Of those clusters, 19 are among construction workers, four are at food service or grocery locations, and three are among building cleaning and maintenance services.


Testing conducted at two construction sites earlier this month revealed that COVID-19 exposure is greater among construction workers than the general population. According to Dr. Escott's presentation, nearly 8% of workers tested were positive, compared to a positive rate of around 3.4% for those tested through APH's public enrollment system.

In addition to these clusters, Dr. Escott said workers may be resistant to being tested—either on-site or at community clinics—due to fear of criminal repercussions related to immigration status or a positive result leading to the loss of a paycheck. "This is a significant barrier," he added.

Dr. Escott said another concern is varying positive test rates—which correlate with higher hospitalization and fatality rates—among different racial and ethnic groups. For example, Hispanic and Latino residents who have been tested through the public enrollment system have a positive rate of around 8.6%, more than double that of the overall population. White residents, on the other hand, have a positive rate of around 1%.

Dr. Escott attributed this variability to long-standing disparities in healthcare access and other social services.

Local officials are working to engage construction companies and other employers in partnerships to encourage employee testing, Dr. Escott said, but he didn't provide any additional information about these efforts.

City Council will also take up a resolution Thursday that would direct the city manager to establish a strategy for high-risk workers to prevent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.

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1923 Lake Austin mansion demolition request pitting preservationists and some neighbors against owner and city preservation office
Austin Monitor

By Jonathan Lee

The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.

The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'

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Freaky Floats and other Austin food & drink news
Austin Motel

What's new in Austin food & drink this week:

  • Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
  • Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
  • Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
  • Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
  • Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
  • Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
  • The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
  • Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
  • P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.