Texas coronavirus

From Texas Standard:

While some families in quarantine are spending more time together than ever before, those in the Child Protective Services, or CPS system must deal with even stricter physical separation. Since the beginning of lockdown this spring, courts across Texas have required video visitation between biological parents and children in foster care.

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Friday, Aug. 7. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

When Crystal Rivas woke up on a Saturday morning in late June, her body felt off. All night, she was going in and out of chills and hot flashes. So out of an abundance of caution, she removed all her kids laptops and video games from her bedroom.

Caitlin Boehne wasn't too happy that she had to vote in person during a recent primary runoff in Austin, Texas.

Boehne is under 65 and isn't disabled, so voting by mail wasn't available to her under current Texas law. She says it was a frustrating situation.

"The workers, the voters — everybody has to risk their health in order to participate in the democratic process," she says. "It's astounding."


Five of the Texas Legislature’s most conservative members are suing Gov. Greg Abbott and state health officials, claiming Texas leaders overstepped their bounds when they awarded a major contract for tracking Texas’ coronavirus outbreak to a little-known technology firm.

Texas Asians Seeing More Verbal Harassment

Aug 5, 2020

From Texas Standard:

Since the new coronavirus first surfaced in China late last year, the number of reports of racist verbal threats and harassment targeting Asians in the United States has been on the rise, and both public health officials and police are starting to track it.

Gov. Greg Abbott is setting the record straight as to who has the final say on when schools can reopen this fall. The power will lie in the hands of local school officials, not public health authorities.


From Texas Standard:

On Aug. 3, Texas reported 5,839 new COVID-19 cases. But that doesn't mean all positive cases are reflected in the state's tally.

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Local election officials in Texas are scrambling to find enough polling sites willing to host voters in the upcoming presidential election.


Gov. Greg Abbott will skip the Republican National Convention later this month in North Carolina as he continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic in Texas, and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will instead chair the state's delegation to the scaled-down gathering.

As of late July, there were more than 9,500 patients with COVID-19 in Texas hospitals — and more than 6,000 had died. Medical teams from the Army and Navy have deployed to help hospitals under stress. 


In a statement Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said local health authorities can shut down schools if there’s evidence of an outbreak after students have already returned to campus — but cannot shut them down weeks before schools open.

His statement backs a legal opinion released by the Texas attorney general issued on Tuesday.

Local health officials do not have the authority to shut down all schools in their vicinity while COVID-19 cases rise, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in nonbinding guidance Tuesday that contradicts what the Texas Education Agency has told school officials.

From Texas Standard:

Ever since medical experts determined that COVID-19 is a pulmonary disease that affects the heart and other organs, the state of Texas has begun counting deaths from the disease differently. Doing so increased the state's COVID-19 death toll by 12% – to 5,700 lives lost so far. But at the same time, the rate of increase in new COVID-19 cases appears to have reached a plateau.

Facing growing backlash from teachers, parents and health officials, Texas education officials Friday relaxed a previous order that would have given public schools just three weeks from the start of the fall semester to reopen their classrooms for in-person instruction.

The next two weeks are a critical time for North Texas hospitals. Facilities may have to implement surge plans to increase the number of available beds, said Stephen Love, president and CEO of the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.

With reported coronavirus cases in Texas child care facilities rising quickly, parents face terrifying uncertainty as they try to decide whether to entrust their children to child care centers.

From Texas Standard:

Less than three weeks ago, Texas was set to unveil its public-school reopening plan for the fall. That announcement was stalled after coronavirus cases and hospitalizations started to soar in the state.

But on Tuesday, the Texas Education Agency finally released its back-to-school guidelines, which included recommendations for preventing the spread of the coronavirus on campuses.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped the Trump administration’s push for a border wall in South Texas. But it also didn’t stop residents of Webb and Zapata counties from protesting against the efforts.


Masks for students and teachers will be mandatory in counties with more than 20 reported COVID-19 cases when public schools resume in-person classes this fall, under new public health guidelines released by Texas state education officials Tuesday.

Sarah Ramos has spent her summer anxiously awaiting a fall return to Texas A&M’s campus at College Station. She is hoping for some normalcy after she and her classmates were abruptly forced off campus last semester and into Zoom-based classes for the remainder of the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The supersized cowboy Big Tex won't be saying "howdy" this year. The State Fair of Texas announced Tuesday that it's canceling the 2020 fair because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This post has been updated. It was originally published on Sunday, July 5, at 2:55 p.m.

A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has until mid-July to release migrant children in family detention centers, citing COVID-19 concerns at these facilities.

More than 46,000 Texans who lost their jobs in recent months are having portions of their unemployment benefits clawed back after the Texas Workforce Commission found that they were initially overpaid.

Lee esta historia en español. 

From Texas Standard:

Aubrey Matson, a 19-year-old college student, doesn't consider herself "anti-vaccine." But the pandemic hasn’t made her 100% in favor of them, either. She’s concerned that a fast-tracked COVID-19 vaccine could be dangerous.

From Texas Standard:

Though quickly communicating positive COVID-19 test results can be an important way to limit the spread of the virus, Texans and their doctors don't always learn results within the recommended three-to-four days.

Houston Public Media Senior Producer Davis Land found himself at the center of such a story. He recently got tested before visiting some friends.

In the last two weeks, some Texas counties implemented new face mask orders and Gov. Greg Abbott ordered all bars to shut down — before eventually issuing his own statewide mask order.

Those actions might have been too little, too late. They might not be enough to flatten the rapidly rising curve.  


The state Republican Party Thursday night voted to hold an in-person convention in Houston, despite concerns over COVID-19.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a nearly statewide mask mandate Thursday as Texas scrambles to get its coronavirus surge under control.

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