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Travis County sees largest ever daily spike in COVID-19 cases as thousands seek free testing
(Emma Freer/Austonia)

Protestors gathered at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin on Sunday.

Travis County reported 118 new COVID-19 cases last night—its largest day-to-day spike so far—bringing the local caseload total to 3,815.


Amid the spike in cases, thousands of residents have also flocked to the city's free testing sites. Between Saturday and Monday morning, 3,187 people were tested through Austin Public Health. This represents nearly 20% of those tested since the city's public service debuted on April 24.

Despite the sharp uptick in testing—which followed mass protests against police violence—the overall positive rate hasn't changed much. Since APH began offering free testing, on April 24, 5.83% of tests have returned a positive result. Of those tests conducted since June 4, the positive rate is nearly the same—5.26%—but not all results are in yet.

APH data shows an uptick in COVID-19 testing enrollment following recent police protests.

On Friday, ahead of Austin's second weekend of protests, APH opened its free service to asymptomatic residents. While the enrollment form asks if residents have any symptoms of COVID-19, 5,563 users have responded that they do not have any.

Tens of thousands of people gathered at Huston-Tillotson University and marched to the Capitol on Sunday. While nearly everyone was wearing a mask, social distancing was impossible.

APH declined to comment for this story, but in a media call last week, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said he is concerned that protests, in conjunction with the state's reopening plan, will lead to an increase in cases.

Health officials continue to encourage residents who have attended the protests—or are otherwise unable to practice social distancing—to get tested as a precaution.

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