We’ll be updating this story throughout the day Monday with the latest local news on the coronavirus pandemic. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.
Update at 12:17 p.m. – Cap Metro to continue free service next month
Capital Metro rides will continue to be free in May. The agency started offering free service this month to keep riders and staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cap Metro says fare-free service helps the community practice social distancing, speeds up boarding and reduces crowding as people board.
After the latest stay-at-home order went into effect April 13, Cap Metro has been passing out masks to passengers who do not have their own face coverings. Passengers have been boarding buses through the rear door and are asked to keep a safe distance between themselves and others.
Update at 8:31 a.m. — Governor’s update scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will be giving an update on the state’s COVID-19 response at 2:30 p.m. at the State Capitol.
Abbott is expected to discuss the next steps in his plan for the gradual reopening of the state’s economy. Some previously-closed stores began offering retail-to-go on Friday, as part of the governor’s loosened restrictions for businesses.
Watch the governor’s update on KUT.org at 12:30 p.m.
Update at 5:30 a.m. — Williamson County debuts online assessment tool, new testing site
An online COVID-19 assessment tool for Williamson County residents is launching Monday.
The assessment will determine if someone is eligible for a COVID-19 test based on screening criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eligible people will be given an appointment time and be sent to a new public testing location run by Williamson County and the Williamson County and Cities Health District.
The tests are free of charge and are available via drive-thru. People cannot drive up and fill out the assessment; tests are by appointment only.
“We are offering this new testing option for our county residents who do not have the ability to visit with their personal doctor or go to another testing site to be tested,” County Judge Bill Gravell said in a statement.
The online screening will be available here. The first tests will be conducted Thursday, according to the county, and test results take a few days to be determined. Appointments will be available between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Here’s what happened over the weekend
COVID-19 cluster emerges at Williamson County nursing home
Williamson County and Cities Health district identified a COVID-19 cluster in a nursing home facility, the county announced Saturday. There were 46 confirmed cases among staff and residents.
WCCHD is working with the facility to mitigate the spread, according to a press release. This is the county’s first COVID-19 cluster in a nursing home.
“Our top priority, from the beginning, has been to protect our most vulnerable residents,” said County Judge Bill Gravell in the release. “We are putting all of the resources we have available into isolating this cluster so that no others will be infected.”
WCCHD issued updated control orders April 23 for 65 facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities. The orders state that if there is a confirmed case in a facility, all patients, staff and next of kin must be notified. If a cluster does occur at a location, meaning two or more patients are infected, the facility is restricted from receiving new patients, it must make all staff available for testing and additional personnel and equipment may be sent to the facility until the outbreak is controlled.
Other local coronavirus news from the weekend:
After experiencing large numbers of visitors, Travis County Parks closed two parks for the day Sunday – Pace Bend and Milton Reimers Ranch Park — to protect the safety of visitors and staff.
What’s happening statewide? Check out special coverage from KERA for North Texas, Houston Public Media, Texas Public Radio in San Antonio and Marfa Public Radio.
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