Last week, the Texas Department of State Health Services provided the first glimpse at county-level COVID-19 testing data.
As of April 8, Travis County had tested 6,221 people for the coronavirus, per the state data. Test results are not immediately available, so it's unclear what the exact rate of positive results is. On that same day, local officials reported 597 cases—just under 10% of the total number of county residents tested.
The Dallas Morning News calculated the per-capita test rate of the 10 most populous Texas counties. Travis leads the pack, with 49 tests per 10,000 residents, ahead of Dallas, with 36 tests per capita, and Harris, with 27. The overall state rate is 33 tests per 10,000 residents.
Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott told Travis County commissioners this morning that he expects local testing access to improve as labs increase their processing capacity and rapid testing is rolled out at hospitals.
"As we continue on through April and into May, we're going to see more testing available and faster results," Dr. Escott said.
Antibody blood tests are also coming, but Dr. Escott said people should not look to these results to confirm if they are contagious.
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The University of Texas-Austin continued its march toward a new normal on Friday, as university President Gregory Fenves marked his last day of leadership after five years in office—the final two months of it dominated by sweeping pandemic-era changes on campus.
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Protests over police killings planned for Austin this weekend following widespread demonstrations across U.S.
At least two protests are planned in Austin this weekend over the recent killings of black men by police: Mike Ramos, who was fatally shot by an Austin Police Department officer on April 24 in Southeast Austin, and George Floyd, who died in police custody on Monday after a Minneapolis Police Department officer knelt on his neck. Both events were filmed.
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As Texas navigates reopening restaurants and bars safely, al fresco spots provide the perfect place for long-quarantined Austin residents. Some of these favorites are open only on the patio, others are allowing customers to eat to-go orders in the space, and a few are full service—the details are subject to change. This is not an all-inclusive list, but here they are, in no particular order:
Upscale seafood fare is served under striped umbrellas on the tree-lined porch, with dogs allowed and an unfettered view of South Congress foot traffic.
Address: 1400 S. Congress Ave.
- Reopening today: the zoo (masks required), water parks (advanced tickets required), driver's license offices (appointments required).
- As protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis spread to cities around the county, a demonstration drawing attention to both Floyd and Mike Ramos is planned for Austin this weekend.
- With local businesses concerned they can't make a profit at limited capacity, the city council may soon allow the use of sidewalks and parking lots to increase it, CBS Austin reports.
- KUT notes that, ultimately, it's up to voters to decide who votes by mail.
- Aaron Franklin will be inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame, writes Daniel Vaughn at Texas Monthly, just as his restaurant faces its biggest challenge yet.
'This has dwarfed anything else we've seen': Nonprofits adapt to soaring need, fewer volunteers and a fundraising slump
Since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Austin, the Central Texas Food Bank has seen a tenfold increase in food costs.
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