Texas coronavirus

From Texas Standard:

Lubbock saw the same summer spike in COVID-19 cases as much of Texas. And, like much of the state, those cases decreased for a while after. But they jumped back up again in recent weeks, says Covenant Health Regional Chief Medical Officer Dr. Craig Rhyne.

If a COVID-19 vaccine is ready next month, Texas health officials predict it won’t be widely available to Texans until at least July.

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From Texas Standard:

On March 26, the Texas Public Utilities Commission, or PUC, took a rare step, temporarily suspending cutoffs for all the electric companies it regulates. The measure was a response to economic displacement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The PUC doesn’t regulate all utilities, but many of them do fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.

After several miscarriages over the last few years, Joy Tucker is finally pregnant with her third child at the age of 37.

A statewide rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations suggests another surge may be on the way in Texas.

Coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas plateaued in early September at slightly around 3,000, then began climbing again on Sept. 20.

More than 4,200 Texans are now in the hospital with COVID-19.

Texas Health Department spokesman Chris Van Deusen says the state is closely tracking these numbers and — by request — is sending extra health care workers to El Paso, Amarillo and Lubbock, where cases have spiked in recent weeks.

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Jarymar Arana grips a backpack outside an apartment complex in Pflugerville just after 8 a.m. on a recent Sunday. Arana doesn’t live here, but hundreds of people do, and nearly two dozen of them have had evictions filed against them during the pandemic.

From Texas Standard:

A Texas prison housing inmates believed to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 won't have to provide enhanced coronavirus protection measures. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals this week stayed an order that would have gone into effect Wednesday, aimed at preventing spread of the coronavirus at the Wallace Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas.

From Texas Standard:

In 2018, Texas state health officials were preparing for the possibility of a future pandemic. But by the time COVID-19 reached Texas last spring, not much more had been done. As a result, the state was caught flat-footed like much of the rest of the country as the pandemic worsened.

Almost 16,000 Texans have died so far from COVID-19, and a recent investigation by the Houston Chronicle found that Texas failed to prepare for a major outbreak when it had the chance.

A number of pharmaceutical companies have entered the home stretch in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine: human trials.

One of those trials is being conducted at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, and Ashley Agura is the perfect candidate. As a Physician Assistant, she spends 12 hours a day taking care of COVID-19 patients. A typical day for Agura starts around 7 a.m.

From Texas Standard:

Around the end of March, Chris Swenson thought he had a problem with his website.

Swenson is the head of Swenson ranches, a cattle operation in Elgin and Stamford that’s been in his family since 1882. It was started by his great-great-grandfather Svante Magnus Swenson, Texas’ first immigrant from Sweden.

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke at a webinar Thursday hosted by the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce where he discussed the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on the Latinx community and other people of color.

The U.S. death toll exceeded 200,000 deaths this week.

From Texas Standard:

Of the more than 1.1 million public school students estimated to have returned to some form of on-campus school activity in Texas, just under 4,000 have tested positive for COVID-19. That's far less than many teachers and administrators feared. But are those numbers accurate?

As Texas Restaurants Expand Service, Struggling Bar Owners Say They’re Being Ignored

Sep 24, 2020

As Texas expanded its occupancy rules for restaurants amid the COVID-19 pandemic, bar owners say they’re still feeling the pinch — and some have accused the governor of picking winners and losers in the reopening process.

Gov. Greg Abbott last week announced restaurants, retail, offices and other businesses could now allow up to 75% capacity, starting Monday.

But most bars and nightclubs remain closed in Texas, leaving struggling bar owners frustrated.

In Texas — as around the country — college towns are emerging as new hot spots for the coronavirus, with cases surging among student populations and administrators scrambling to keep infections from reaching the broader population.

Texas long-term care facilities — even those with active COVID-19 cases — can allow visitors beginning Sept. 24, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Thursday.

Eligible facilities include nursing homes and intermediate care centers that serve residents without COVID-19, but that also have an isolation wing reserved for those who test positive for the virus. Visitation will also be allowed at state supported living centers, which house residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

More than 2,300 of Texas public school students who have returned to school in person since the beginning of this academic year — about 0.21% — have reported testing positive for COVID-19, according to a dashboard the state released Thursday in a first effort to publicly track the way the pandemic is impacting public schools.

In the spring, as public health officials were beginning to see the novel coronavirus spreading in Texas, Danny Updike had bad news and good news for health care workers in the San Angelo region where he works in emergency response.

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Retail stores, restaurants, gyms, office buildings, museums and libraries in regions where COVID-19 hospitalizations are under control can open at 75% capacity starting Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference Thursday. Hospitals in these areas can resume elective surgeries immediately, he said.

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Thursday, Sept. 17. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

Texas DHS Changes How It Reports COVID-19 Positivity Rate

Sep 16, 2020

Texas health officials announced Monday that they are changing the way the state reports a key metric used to evaluate the extent of coronavirus infection, a move that conceded that the state’s previous method of calculating the “positivity rate” muddied the extent of viral transmission by mixing old data with new.

Jessica and her five children haven’t seen Hilder Lainez-Alvarez — their husband and father — in several months. He’s being detained at the Port Isabel Detention Center in the Rio Grande Valley.

A group of faculty at Texas Christian University wants the school to take stricter measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff — including a possible return to online-only classes.

The number of cases at TCU spiked shortly after students returned in August, according to the school’s self-reported COVID-19 data. At the beginning of September, there were more than 400 active cases.

From Texas Standard:

COVID-19 cases at Texas' public universities are spiking. University and local health officials anticipated that might happen, as colleges and universities try to return to some semblance of a normal fall semester.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Since March, Melissa and her husband have gutted their savings, spending more than $5,000 caring for their three children. Most of the money has gone to child care and speech therapy for their daughter Nora. Two weeks ago, the couple put their house up for sale.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

Starting Sept. 8, Texas will require school districts to file weekly reports on new COVID-19 cases among students, teachers or staff, state education officials announced Thursday.

As families, educators and students adjust to remote instruction, teachers say that in these initial days, they’re spending more time than ever checking in on students and their families, dealing with connectivity issues and answering questions about virtual learning technology.

Several teachers said they’re working longer hours than usual as they constantly seek new ways to engage students. Attention spans already waned during pre-pandemic schooling, and being behind a screen doesn’t make it any easier.

When Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act at the end of March, part of the goal was to help keep people in their homes as the nation battled a pandemic by trying to get people to stay home. A number of housing experts say that legislation, bolstered by state and local government measures, helped drive down evictions throughout the spring and summer as the nation’s economy saw record job losses.

Now, with the bulk of those protections mostly expired or reduced, 1 in 10 Texans are vulnerable to eviction in the coming months.

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The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission passed rules Tuesday aimed at making it easier for bars to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paying for her tuition at the University of North Texas was already going to be a challenge this fall for Aimee Tambwe. Just recently, her dad — who helps pay for her education — lost his job because of pandemic-related layoffs.

So Tambwe, who is taking most of her classes remotely this semester, was dumbfounded to see her tuition bill increase by $315 because of “distance education” fees for five courses she’s signed up to take.

From The Texas Tribune:

Texas State Health Services is spending over $6 million to partner with social media influencers and enhance awareness of COVID-19.