A Travis County correctional officer has returned to work after recovering from COVID-19, officials said Monday.
The officer tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus in mid-March after experiencing symptoms upon returning from a trip to Europe, said Kristen Dark of the Travis County Sheriff's Office.
The officer, who is not being identified for privacy reasons, was later cleared by a physician and returned to work on Friday, she said.
Even before taking the test, Dark said, the officer self-quarantined and did not return to the Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle until after follow-up tests showed a negative result.
As a result, no one at the sheriff's office or jail was exposed, she said.
"TCSO commends this officer for taking early symptoms and international travel seriously," Dark said.
The news comes as Travis County jail officials grapple with a new recommendation, issued over the weekend by local health officials, that everyone covers their faces when they're out in public.
Austin Public Health stopped short of making it a requirement, but jail officials want to follow the recommendations if possible, Dark said.
Supply and security concerns must be addressed before deciding on a mask policy for the 1,635 inmates and nearly 1,000 workers, she said.
"What we allow our employees to do, we also want to keep in mind that the inmates have the right to that type of health security as well," she said. "That's a lot of people."
It's the most recent move in the vigorous effort by prosecutors, jail officials, and judges to keep the highly contagious virus out of the Travis County jail system.
As of Monday, no county inmates had tested positive for the illness, although 19 remained in quarantine and 162 in isolation as a precaution, Dark said.
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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