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Coronavirus updates in Central Texas: Austin PARD announces changes to summer programming

Here are the latest COVID-19 updates, closures and postponements in Central Texas for Friday, May 22.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: This blog is no longer active. For the latest updates, check out our new live 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 May 22 live blog.

COVID-19 numbers:

  • Texas: More than 52,000 cases have been reported in the state, and more than 1,400 people in Texas have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The department estimates more than 31,200 people have recovered from the virus.
  • Central Texas counties: 
    • Travis County: More than 2,700 cases have been reported and at least 83 people have died. More than 930 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Williamson County: More than 520 cases have been reported and at least 24 people have died. More than 290 people have recovered from the virus.
    • Hays County: There have been at least 250 cases reported in the county and at least three people have died. Around 158 people have recovered from the virus.

Top headlines:

Updates:

6:20 p.m. – Austin-Travis County health officials are now reporting 2,761 cases of COVID-19 in the county, up by 49 cases from the previous day. Additionally, officials are reporting 948 recoveries.

5:40 p.m. – On May 21, the Austin City Council approved two resolutions directing the City Manager to evaluate strategies for supporting the economic recovery and sustainability of Austin’s live music and creative ecosystem, including in the Red River Cultural District. Resolution 20200521-096 directs the City Manager to complete the ongoing work of creating an economic development entity that could advance various community benefits during the coronavirus pandemic and recovery, including potentially acquiring venue space to prevent the displacement of Red River Cultural District businesses. The resolution also directs staff to consider strategies such as adjusting fees and permitting requirements for music venues and considering using the Live Music Fund for payroll assistance. Resolution 20200521-095 directs City Manager Spencer Cronk to ensure the long-term sustainability of Austin’s creative culture – including the arts and music industries. Options could include an economic development corporation, making city-owned buildings available as creative space and asking the Music Commission to revisit the Live Music Fund for long-term sustainability.

5 p.m. – The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is working to re-establish summer operations and programming for its 2020 season, and to make sure all recreational activities are offered in a healthy and safe manner.

The department has developed a multi-level approach to its youth summer programs based on current health recommendations, research, staffing and safety.

Here are the latest developments:

  • The department will cancel and refund all paid summer camps for the entire summer.
  • Modified summer program operations will be delayed until July 6.
    • This four-week postponement serves to ready facilities, train staff regarding modified standard operating procedures to combat COVID-19 spread and is consistent with the current community risk rating.
  • PARD intends to offer free, modified summer camp programs at approximately 20 locations for City of Austin community members.
    • Locations will be prioritized for east Austin communities;
    • Flexible sessions will be offered to maximize availability;
    • Programs will adhere to the current CDC and industry guidelines, capacity is limited to 16 to 24 campers per camp day (depending upon facility size);
    • Registration processes will be announced in June.
  • The department is working to secure summer meal options for the campsites.
  • The department anticipates modified pool operations in June. Details will be announced in the coming weeks.

4:50 p.m. –  Hays County announces eight new cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 105. For the latest data, click here.

4:30 p.m. – Here are the latest Texas COVID-19 data from the State dashboard. There were two new deaths in the Greater Austin area – one in Travis County and one in Williamson County – bringing the death toll for our 12-county area to 111. DSHS reported 40 new deaths statewide and 1,181 new cases statewide. Hospitalizations are continuing a downward trend for a couple days, but the positivity rate ticked up a little ... between 5% and 6%.

3:45 p.m. – On Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order suspending in-person visits to all county and municipal jails across Texas to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The governor said the restriction does not apply to visitations from an attorney meeting with a client or from religious leaders or members of the clergy.

Friday’s order comes on top of the governor’s previous directive as part of his COVID-19 disaster declaration to restrict visitation at state prisons, jails and juvenile justice facilities.

According to the governor, this order will add “another layer of defense to contain COVID-19 hot spots, prevent community spread and protect staff and inmates.”

RELATED: Coronavirus in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott suspends in-person visitations at county, municipal jails

12:07 p.m. – Williamson County officials announced the 21st person to die from COVID-19, a man in his 90s. There are a total of 528 confirmed cases in the county. Currently, 11 people in the county are hospitalized with the virus. A total of 294 recoveries have been reported. At least 213 cases are still active.

12:00 p.m. – In an ongoing effort to support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, IDEA Public Schools said it will continue to serve curbside meals at all of their campuses throughout Texas and Louisiana during the summer. Beginning Monday, May 25, and through the summer, all IDEA schools in Texas will offer breakfast, lunch and supper available for curbside pick-up from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Monday through Friday. Weekend bundled meals are also available on Fridays. All meals are provided via drive-thru only. All children in the community 18 years and under are eligible for meal service at any school location. Due to new regulations by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), if a child is not present in the car, parents must be able to show proof of child identity in order to receive meals. Families seeking more information on school closure, meal service and the distance learning program, may visit: https://ideapublicschools.org/parents/network-updates/.

11:50 a.m. – On Friday, May 22, the Hays County Task Force responsible for testing County nursing facilities will complete testing for all residents and employees across six facilities in Hays County, officials announced. Overall, more than 1,000 employees and residents will be tested in these facilities with test results expected within 72 hours of the submissions. The daily task force consisted of 18 testing personnel and eight support personnel who administered a system that allowed them to test up to 100 people per hour at facilities in Dripping Springs, Wimberley, Kyle and San Marcos.

11:42 a.m. - The unemployment rate in Texas for the month of April hit 12.8% – Texas' worst monthly tally on record. In the Austin area, the unemployment rate increased from 3.8% in March to 12.2% in April. This represented more than 138,000 residents in Austin and Round Rock who sought unemployment benefits.

11:30 a.m. – Gov. Greg Abbott released a public service announcement (PSA) entitled "Be A Good Neighbor. Be a Texan." As the Lone Star State begins to open up, the governor encourages all Texans to do their part to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 by following best practices like social distancing in public, wearing a face covering and washing hands regularly. 

6:15 a.m. - More businesses in Texas can reopen Friday as part of Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to gradually reopen the state. Here's a list of businesses that can reopen:

  • Bars
  • Bingo halls
  • Bingo alleys
  • Strip Clubs
  • Simulcast racing 
  • Skating rinks 
  • Wine tasting rooms
  • Breweries
  • Rodeo and equestrian events 
  • Aquariums and natural caverns

Check back on this live blog for the latest updates Friday.

WATCH: More Austinites talk about what good news they have to share

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