AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest updates on Friday, check out this article.
KVUE is keeping you updated with the latest coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, news in the Austin area.
Scroll down for the top headlines and latest updates in KVUE's March 26 live blog.
- Austin City Council approves 60-day rent grace period amid coronavirus outbreak
- Travis, Williamson counties issue stay-at-home order
- Austin coronavirus cases reach 137
- Dozens of Austin swimmers spotted near Barton Springs Pool amid social distancing, 'stay-at-home' order
- List: Here's what's open during the order to stay home
- LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county
- Gov. Greg Abbott: Statewide shelter in place 'not appropriate' at this time
- Local law enforcement agencies hoping to use education, not citations to enforce shelter-in-place orders
6:50 p.m. – Bastrop ISD has extended its school closures through April 19, according to a letter sent on Thursday.
5:25 p.m. – The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Austin is now 137, according to the City.
5 p.m. – Hays County has confirmed two more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total cases in the county to 13, the Hays County Local Health Department said on Thursday. All 13 cases are adults, including one resident of Dripping Springs and one resident of Kyle.
The health department said it has received 131 negative test results and 21 test results are pending.
A resident of Kyle who tested positive has recovered and is out of quarantine.
5 p.m. – In an effort to ease the burden on Austinites struggling to pay rent during the coronavirus pandemic, the Austin City Council voted on an emergency ordinance, allowing for a 60-day grace period for rent payments.
The Anti-Eviction ordinance voted on Thursday protects those unable to pay April or May rent from being evicted. The Council announced it would consider extending the ordinance to future months if needed.
4:40 p.m. – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against Auctions Unlimited LLC for alleged price gouging. Paxton said in a press release that the company pushed listing for crucial N95 facemasks as high as $180 for a package of 16 masks. The full lawsuit can be found online.
3:50 p.m. – San Marcos CISD schools are closed through April 13 in response to the stay-at-home orders issued by Hays County.
The school district said it will be adjusting its meal distribution program beginning on Monday. It will begin distributing breakfast and lunch from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the following locations: Mendez ES, Travis ES, San Marcos HS, Redwood Baptist Church, Allen Woods Home at 1201 Thorpe Lane and CM Allen Homes at 820 Sturgeon.
3:30 p.m. – The Central Texas Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program has expanded the approved foods list to help reduce barriers while clients are shopping for WIC foods amid recent grocery store shortages.
2:15 p.m. – The YMCA of Austin is offering childcare for children of essential workers such as healthcare workers and first responders.
Childcare will be offered at two locations – the Southwest Family YMCA at 6219 Oakclaire Drive, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the East Communities YMCA at 5315 Ed Bluestein Blvd., Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The cost at either location is $50 per day. Care is available for children ages 3-12 and children must bring a sack lunch.
2:12 p.m. - At a press briefing Thursday, March 26, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order, mandating that those traveling by air from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut or those traveling by air from the city of New Orleans self-quarantine for 14 days.
Failure to abide by this order is considered a criminal offense and violators could see a $1,000 fine or 180 days in jail, or both.
2:10 p.m. – Many Fingerprint Applicant Services of Texas (FAST) locations remain open and continue to take appointments, except for those housed in facilities that have been closed by local authorities, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) said on Thursday. The FAST location at 108 Denson Drive in Austin has transitioned to appointments only, DPS said.
DPS said regulatory services are operating as usual for anyone applying for a License to Carry permit or Private Security License, but some of the required components for the licenses come from the private sector.
2 p.m. – Austin Health center Tejas Health Care will receive a federal grant of $58,000 to help fight the spread of coronavirus, Sen. John Cornyn said on Thursday. The funding will be available through the Department of Health and Human Services.
1:03 p.m. - The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has submitted a request that would grant Texas flexibility in administering Medicaid as the state responds to COVID-19, the governor's office announced.
12:45 p.m. - Hays CISD announced it is extending closures past April 5 until further notice. The district has not said what day schools will be back open but added it will provide curbside meals and at-home instruction classes through the end of the school year if necessary.
12 p.m. - Confirmed Williamson County coronavirus cases grow by five, bringing total to 27.
9:27 a.m. - Taylor Independent School District is extending the closure of offices and schools through April 13. The district said, "We will continue to provide meals for anyone 18 years or younger. We will continue to remain 'Closed, Instructing.'"
9:15 a.m. - Gov. Greg Abbott announced he's requesting access to interest-free federal loans to pay unemployment claims and the release of funds from the Texas account of the federal Unemployment Trust Fund. This allows states to receive loans from the federal government to help cover unemployment benefit payments.
"As job loss and other economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic grow, we are committed to drawing upon all available resources to help Texas hardest hit by the crisis,” said Gov. Abbott. “With claims on the rise, our current balance of unemployment funds is projected to run out by the end of next month, so we must accelerate the delivery of necessary dollars.”
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:
- Wall Street futures down Thursday despite Senate passage of rescue package
- Senate passes $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue plan; House still to vote
- Former NASA astronaut shares isolation advice for coronavirus quarantine
- Coronavirus: Williamson County reporting 22 confirmed cases
- Hays County issues shelter-at-home order, curfew
- Medical supply shortage hits Texas health care workers
- Austin 30-year-old shares his experience with coronavirus