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(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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Alamo Drafthouse in S. Austin offers private, sanitized screenings

Beloved movie chain, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has filed for bankruptcy after a tough year for the film industry as theaters remained closed for months.

The filing comes as part of an asset purchase agreement with Altamon Capitol Partners and Fortress Investment Group, which is the financial backer of Gannett, the parent company of the Austin American Statesman.

The locally headquartered theater has said that operations will remain normal, however, some locations are closing down including Austin's Ritz location Downtown.

(AUSTIN, TEXAS) Austonia has hired Claire Partain as a reporter covering Austin FC, the MLS expansion team that will be Austin's first major league sports franchise.

Partain is a former sports editor for the The University Star, Texas State University's daily newspaper. She edited, covered sports, produced podcasts, and hosted a pre-game TXST football tailgate live series. Partain has been freelancing with the company since January, prior to accepting a staff position.

A native of Fairfield, Texas, Partain grew up playing youth soccer. In her high school years, she played alongside her mother in what was then called the Freestone County Hispanic Women's Soccer League.

Claire's coverage philosophy: "I like to bring out the humanity of sports, and I want to make this the most accessible sports coverage possible."

She notes that soccer is the predominant sport for young people. "It's a global sport, and we're more connected to the world than older generations."

That approach fits the team's already visible presence in Austin, says Austonia CEO Mark Dewey. "Austin FC has established itself as a leading Austin brand, one that stands for a more unified Austin community, a bigger global presence for Austin and fun. Austonia shares those values."

Partain's soccer coverage begins immediately, with her free, hosted text service—Austonia FC. For updates, special access and inside info, all moderated by Claire, sign up below.

Austonia is the city's independent, free, locally-owned and all-digital source for Austin news, information and entertainment.

Connect with Austonia through its daily email newsletter and text updates, @austonianews Instagram feed, @austonianews and @austinist Twitter feeds, @austonianews Facebook page and its website austonia.com.

Two days shy of the one-year anniversary of Texas' first confirmed case of COVID-19, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he will rescind statewide pandemic restrictions, including business capacity limits and mask mandates, next week. Although businesses—especially those tied to the hospitality industry—have suffered financially over the last year, many Austin establishments are rejecting Abbott's order.

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