TRAVIS COUNTY, TX — The number of coronvirus cases grew by 54 on Saturday, bringing the total to 744 in the past 24-hour period, health officials reported.
The updated numbers were posted on a dashboard with continually updated information on the Austin Public Health website. To date, nine people from Travis County have died of the respiratory illness caused by the COVID-19 virus.
According to the dashboard, 89 patients were being treated on an in-patient basis. Another 49 patients were in intensive care units. Another 31 patients are on ventiators, according to the Austin Public Health portal.
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In neighboring Williamson County, the number of cases grew to 113 on Saturday after three more cases were positively diagnosed. The city with the highest rate of illness in Williamson County is Round Rock with 42 patients — 37 percent of the county total.
On Friday, the rate of coronavirus across Travis County grew by 48 in the course of the last 24 hours for a total of 690 and two additional deaths. The number represents an exponential increase from the 430 cases reported last Friday, April 3.
In now-regular missive to constituents, Austin Mayor Steve Adler sent an emailed message on Friday designed to both update and encourage residents amid the growing threat. The subject line: Taking care of one another.
The mayor wrote:
"Austin, this weekend, we are still under STAY HOME WORK SAFE. With many members of our community observing holidays, we urge you to stay home and maintain social distancing. No matter how you practice your faith, I hope you are able to do so joyfully, peacefully, and with loved ones (perhaps virtually).
"We are all asked to protect ourselves and each other. The unity of our community and efforts to keep each other safe inspire me. We must keep going, and in some areas, we must do better.
"The number of confirmed cases in Austin/Travis County is now at 690, up from the 430 cases we had as of last Friday. Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority, Mark Escott, shared a plan for possible surge scenarios earlier this week. ' "We hope that this surge plan is not necessary, but we are preparing for the worst," said Dr. Escott. 'We must continue to stay home and practice physical distancing. The future of our healthcare system is up to our daily individual behavior, and it is going to take all of us to fight this virus.' "
"The newest guidelines from the CDC suggest that anyone out in public wear a face covering. In this short video, I demonstrate how to make a face covering at home with household supplies. While this precaution is encouraged, it does not replace physical distancing, hand washing, or disinfecting commonly used surfaces. It is still vital that we continue to stay home unless it is absolutely essential.
"City of Austin parks and trails are closed this weekend, which began Thursday, April 9, 2020, at sundown, and will last through Monday, April 13th at sunrise. This closure is to ensure we stay home and maintain physical distancing, especially at a time when we would otherwise very much want to physically be with family and friends.
"On Thursday, the Austin City Council passed additional measures to support our community, including a $15M Emergency Relief Fund. Learn more about what passed here.
"To stay informed on COVID-19, visit http://www.austintexas.gov/COVID19. You can also call Austin 3-1-1, (512) 974-2000, for questions not answered on the website."
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