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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: City of Taylor adopts phased reopening plan

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Tuesday, Sept. 8.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest updates, check out our new blog here.

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 Sept. 8 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 640,300 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 13,400 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: Over 27,000 cases have been reported and at least 399 people have died. At least 25,980 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: More than 5,500 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 51 people have died. At least 3,487 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 8,000 cases have been reported in the county and at least 128 people have died. More than 7,700 people have recovered from the virus.

Updates:

6:30 p.m. – As of Tuesday evening, the City of Taylor is now operating in Phase 3 (yellow) of its newly adopted four-phase reopening plan.

The plan ranges in severity from Uncontrolled Community Spread (Phase 1, red) to Minimal Community Transmission (Phase 4, green). Each phase lessens restrictions in regard to social gatherings, municipal building reopenings, public meetings and indoor/outdoor events.

According to the City, Taylor would have been in Phase 2 (orange) for the past several months. It moved to Phase 3 as of today, which allows for a modified opening of the Public Library, social gatherings of up to 25 people, and the opening of several park facilities that had previously been closed. In addition, Phase 3 allows for events at city facilities with limited capacity if event organizers submit a safety plan acceptable to the City and follow UIL rules where applicable. 

6:15 p.m. – The new cases weekly average for the Austin metro area is down 27% from a week ago. Today's average matches June 10.

The positivity rate average for the Austin metro area is at 6.82%.

The 12-county KVUE viewing area has had a total of 712 deaths from COVID-19.

5:55 p.m. – Travis County reported another four deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday along with 86 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 27,124 cases and 399 deaths. At least 25,980 people have recovered from the virus.

Travis County currently has 122 people hospitalized from COVID-19, with 42 in the ICU and 26 on ventilators.

5:20 p.m. – Hays County reported another death from COVID-19 on Tuesday, a San Marcos woman in her 60s. The county also reported 55 new confirmed cases along with five new hospitalizations, three hospital discharges and 53 additional recoveries.

5:15 p.m. – Texas reported 1,416 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the fewest for a single day since June 15. The weekly average is down 22% from a week ago and is the lowest since June 21.

The state reported 61 new deaths on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 13,553.

There were 3,701 new hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Texas on Tuesday, with the weekly average down 11% from a week ago.

The state's positive test rate average is at 8.41%.

4 p.m. – Funding from the third tranche of the CARES Act's Community Development Block Grant will bring more than $3.1 million to Central Texas communities, Rep. John Carter said on Tuesday.

The block grants are appropriated as follows: 

  • City of Killeen: $726,841
  • City of Temple: $409,099
  • City of Round Rock: $668,787
  • Williamson County $1,343,984

The money will be used to help localities prevent, prepare and respond to the coronavirus.

1:30 p.m. – The Travis County Sheriff's Office reports two more positive cases among its inmate population. Both inmates were held in quarantine when tested.

A total of 44 inmates have now tested positive. Currently, 19 inmates are in quarantine and 250 are in isolation. Additionally, a total of 69 staff members have also tested positive.

There are currently zero inmates housed in the Quarantine-Confirmed Positive unit. They’ve all either been cleared by medical staff or have been released from custody via bond or sentence completion.

12:35 p.m. – Travis County Parks announces that Hamilton Pool Preserve will reopen starting today. Reservations are required, though fewer than normal will be permitted each day.

Swimming in the pool will not be allowed. Visitors will still be able to hike to the pool and waterfall, but the trail to the Pedernales River will be closed. No guided hikes or educational programs will be taking place.

Visitors are asked to wear face masks, practice social distancing and bring their own hand sanitizer.

11:20 a.m. – The City of Austin announces it is offering $10 million in Relief in a State of Emergency (RISE) 2.0 funds to citizens of Austin and Travis County. Click here for more information.

WATCH: COVID-19 hits Texas universities in small towns

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