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As COVID-19 spikes in Austin and around the country, there is new concern about breakthrough cases. (Shutterstock)

A sixth fully vaccinated Texas House Democrat, State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, tested positive for COVID-19 in Washington D.C. earlier this week, spurring concerns about so-called "breakthrough" cases.

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Austin elected officials and public health leaders are concerned about a sharp uptick in new COVID cases and related hospitalizations amid confirmation of the highly contagious Delta variant in Travis County. (Tom Wolf/CC)

Here we go again.

Local elected officials and public health leaders are concerned about a spike in new COVID cases and related hospitalizations as four cases of the more contagious Delta variant were confirmed in Travis County on Wednesday and amid continued vaccine hesitancy.

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Austin is seeing an uptick in new COVID cases and related hospitalizations as the more contagious delta variant spreads across the U.S. (Jordan Vonderhaar)

COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise in Austin, likely fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant and overwhelmingly affecting unvaccinated individuals.

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The forthcoming Google tower and other developments are reason to feel optimistic about downtown's future, according to a report issued by the Downtown Austin Alliance on Wednesday. (Rendering by Trammel Crow Company)

Fourteen months into the pandemic, downtown Austin is still reeling from its impact: pedestrian traffic declined as much as 74%, hotel occupancy rates plummeted, at least 10 music and event venues closed permanently, as many as 25% of downtown storefronts are vacant and an estimated 3,000 jobs have yet to be recovered, according to the Downtown Austin Alliance.

But a new report issued by the local nonprofit on Wednesday maps out a road to recovery, aided by major developments such as the Waterloo Greenway urban park system, Project Connect and the South Central Waterfront, just south of Lady Bird Lake; small and local business reopenings; and a plan to house the city's unsheltered homeless residents, many of whom reside in tents along Cesar Chavez Street.

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