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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: UT Austin updates mask guidance

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Wednesday, May 19.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest COVID-19 updates, click here.

KVUE is keeping you updated with the latest coronavirus and COVID-19 news in the Austin area. 

Scroll down for the top headlines and latest updates in KVUE's May 19 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 2.5 million cases have been reported in the state, and more than 49,900 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: At least 83,457 cases have been reported and at least 866 people have died. At least 82,078 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: At least 18,775 confirmed cases have been reported and at least 245 people have died. At least 18,265 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: At least 39,570 cases have been reported in the county and at least 474 people have died.

For a look at COVID-19 data across all of the state's counties, click here.

Updates

6 p.m. – The first 500 people to get a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday at the Delco Activity Center will receive a free Torchy's gift card, Austin Public Health said.

The clinic runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to walk-ups without appointments for individuals 18 and older.

5:55 p.m. – Travis County reported 54 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total to 83,457 cases and 866 deaths since the start of the pandemic. At least 82,078 people have recovered from the virus.

Travis County currently has 91 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with 28 in the ICU and 14 on ventilators.

5:10 p.m. – The University of Texas has updated its mask guidance, making them optional inside university buildings and outdoors. Masks will not be required for the upcoming commencement.

5 p.m. – Hays County reported 44 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday along with no new hospitalizations and two new hospital discharges. There are 74 additional people considered recovered.

4:17 p.m. – Here's a closer look at state and local vaccine and case data:

  • 40% of eligible Texans are fully vaccinated
  • Travis and Williamson County still lead our area at more than 45%
  • Texas cases are still low; the lowest 7-day average (1,367/day) since June 1 of last year
  • The statewide death toll is now at 49,999
  • Local cases are still low; the lowest 7-day average (103/day) since Sept. 8 of last year

1:52 p.m. – On Tuesday, the Lockhart City Council voted to rescind Mayor Lew White's prior local disaster declaration requiring masks in public – in compliance with Gov. Abbott's latest executive order.

“It’s been a long haul,” Mayor White said. “But I’m proud of the community for all it has done to help.”

RELATED: Gov. Abbott issues executive order prohibiting government entities from mandating masks

Masking and physical distancing requirements in Lockhart city facilities have also been lifted.

“Masks may no longer be required, but we still urge you to observe the CDC’s guidance,” the mayor added. “If you’re not fully vaccinated, keep masking up.”

1 p.m. – Austin Diagnostic Clinic at St. David's North Austin Medical Center announced it would offer vaccines to those 12 and up. To make an appointment, call 512-901-4486 and leave a message. The clinic will call back and schedule an appointment for the first dose. Walk-ins are accepted from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.

7 a.m. – Austin Public Health (APH) staff and volunteers have surpassed 400,000 total vaccines administered as of Monday, May 17.

“I want to thank our staff and volunteers for their dedication to this community,” Interim APH Director Adrienne Sturrup said. “Not only have we been able to come together to reach a remarkable goal for vaccinations, but we have worked for many months in the COVID-19 emergency response to protect our friends, family and neighbors from the severe impacts of the virus.”

Travis County as a whole recently reached another milestone in the vaccine rollout. According to State data, more than 60% of Travis County residents who are 12 years of age and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

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