The University of Texas at Austin reported three COVID-19 clusters in West Campus with approximately 100 total cases on Thursday morning. The university declined to include specific location details in their announcement, citing federal and state privacy laws.
Local health officials define a cluster as three or more confirmed cases in one location.
"The individuals in these clusters are currently isolating and receiving necessary medical attention," per the announcement. Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin are working with the university's contact tracing team to identify other individuals who may have been exposed to the disease.
Since the fall semester began on Aug. 26, UT Austin has reported 318 confirmed COVID cases among students on its public dashboard.
A UT spokesperson said the university does not share hospitalization information.
The Texas Longhorns will play their first at-home game this Saturday. Although the university has restricted the capacity of the 100,000-person Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, local health officials are concerned that the event could accelerate spread of the disease.
"Ultimately you're going to have 25,000 people in one spot and it's going to be difficult to prevent all of those interactions from happening," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said during a media call on Wednesday.
Based on the current rate of transmission in Travis County, Escott estimates that up to 50 people could arrive at the stadium with COVID.
The university announced in early August that it aimed to test up to 5,000 asymptomatic members of its campus community each week. Since the all semester began, the university has tested fewer than 2,000 people each week, according to the dashboard.
In an Aug. 21 email sent to the campus community, UT Austin Interim President Jay Hartzell said the administration will consider a number of metrics in deciding whether to move more classes online or close buildings on campus due to the pandemic.
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Vaccine week 13: Travis County to receive more than 75K doses of vaccine thanks to Johnson & Johnson bump
Eighty-seven providers in Travis County will receive a total of 75,540 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for the week of March 8 as part of the 13th weekly allocation, a nearly 62% increase compared to last week's. The significant increase is largely due to inclusion of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which received an emergency use authorization from the FDA last weekend.
The bulk will go to hub providers Austin Public Health and UT Health Austin, the clinical wing of Dell Medical School, as well as to Seton Medical Center, which will receive the largest share of this week's shipment. These three providers will either receive doses from Moderna or Pfizer.
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‘A nightmare job’: Manley's retirement means Austin is thrown in the national ring for hiring a new police chief, but will a progressive agenda hinder the search?
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley received intense criticism for the police killing of Michael Ramos, an unarmed Black and Latino man, last April and his department's response to mass protests over the summer. When he announced his retirement Feb. 12, he said the criticism did not factor into his decision. But it will undoubtedly shape the nationwide search for his successor.
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