Austin and other towns across Texas are putting proactive measures in place to quell the spread of COVID-19. Disruptions to school, work, and major public gatherings are already manifesting and it’s important to stay up to date on what’s happening in the Austin, TX community.
Stay up to date and informed with our resources: Breaking public health news, information on your local Texas hospitals and healthcare facilities, information from the Texas Public Health Department, and Twitter updates from Texas government officials. Continue to visit our website for the latest updates.
Texas COVID-19 Cases
Texas Total Coronavirus Cases: 6,020,457
Texas New Coronavirus Deaths: 66
Texas Total Coronavirus Deaths: 78,557
U.S. Total Coronavirus Cases: 72,958,690
U.S. New Coronavirus Deaths: 1,193
U.S. Total Coronavirus Deaths: 891,595
Coronavirus News for Austin
It appears the case numbers from the omicron variant in Central Texas have finally appeared to hit their ceiling. More info »FOX 7 Austin KTBC - 01/25/2022 01:24pm
Rodney Rohde, chair of Texas State University’s clinical laboratory science program, said this is a problem not just for labs that process COVID tests, but hospitals that process cancer ... More info »KXAN - 01/25/2022 01:21pm
The COVID-19 modeling group released new projections for the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area. Here's what the report shows. More info »KVUE - 01/25/2022 12:32pm
The rolling seven-day average of new daily hospital admissions in Austin was 117 — a decrease from 125 reported last week. More info »USA Today - 01/24/2022 06:05am
Texas’ policies on supplying nurses has flipped recently, even as a lack of staffing became far more critical than at any other point in the pandemic. More info »YAHOO!News - 01/25/2022 03:45am
5 Tips for Easing Anxiety During the Coronavirus Pandemic
How much information is too much? While it's essential that American citizens stay up to date on the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic situation unfolding in Texas, the country, and across the globe, it can also be a great source of anxiety.
You never know when a positive case is going to be reported in TX, or more concerning, right in your Austin backyard.
Feelings and reactions of worry, anxiety, and panic are completely normal in the face of crisis, but finding healthy coping mechanisms are essential for keeping our minds' healthy.
Here are some good ways to combat coronavirus anxieties:
- Get accurate information - The Internet inundates us all with so much information every day. Now's a good time to practice becoming an expert researcher and fact checker. Don't immediately trust all of the sources that pop up on your social media or community forum. There are a lot of rumors and inaccurate information swirling around. The best thing you can do is sign up to get emails from your state government as well as Austin officials and stay up to date with the information put out by the Centers for Disease Control.
- FaceTime with friends and loved ones - While you're self-isolating and limiting contact with others, it's important to stay in touch digitally. Set up a FaceTime schedule with your friends and loved ones to stay connected.
- Stick to your routine - You're working from home, the kids aren't in school, your gym is closed, and the grocery stores are a madhouse. Daily routines are all over the place for everybody right now. Regardless, it's important to do your best to stick to a routine. Get up at the same time every day, get dressed for work even though you'll be at home, do some at-home workouts, and keep your space tidy.
- Get fresh air - There's nothing like the great outdoors to help you ease your mind. Head to a local Texas hiking trail to get some exercise and unplug. Hit the bike trail. Go for a jog. Do some yard work. Don't stay cooped up in the house.
- Eat well, hydrate, and take care of yourself - If you have a busy and hectic work life, eating right and hydrating well isn't always easy to fit into your schedule. Now, there's no excuse! It's time to hone your cooking skills by making healthy meals at home. And don't forget: Drink PLENTY of water. Staying hydrated is key.
How do you feel your community is responding to the coronavirus crisis:
5 Ways to (Safely) Help Your Neighbors During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Social distancing. It's quickly becoming the most-heard phrase of 2020—and for good reason. Experts across the globe report the practice of social distancing as one of the best ways to "flatten the curve"—to spread out the cases of COVID-19 across a longer period of time so that sick individuals do not overwhelm the healthcare system all at once.
It's important to take these measures seriously but that raises the question—how do I continue to help my Austin community? How can I help the most vulnerable population of Texas?
There are a number of ways you can do your part and serve your community without putting lives at risk. Here are a few ways you can help out:
- Help your at-risk friends, family, and neighbors - Whether it is an immunocompromised friend or a grandparent, we all have at least one person in our life that would be significantly impacted if they became infected with COVID-19. Ask these friends, family members, and community members if there is any way you can make their life safer and easier during this time. Pick up their medication, help them with groceries, do anything you can without coming into direct contact with them.
- Check in with your loved ones regularly - Send a text to your coworker. FaceTime your family members. Give your best friend a call. Staying connected with each other is how we stay sane. A simple conversation can really brighten someone's day.
- Donate to food banks - Rather than donating unused non-perishables, consider donating any extra money you might have to your local Texas food banks. As food banks see an increase in demand, the extra financial support can help ease the strain.
- Stock up but do not overbuy - Don't be that guy. You know, the person buying enough toilet paper to last a year? Stock up on essential supplies at the store, but do not buy more than your household needs. When you overbuy, another individual or family is suffering. And if you can, now is the time to opt for an at-home delivery service for your groceries. If you must go to the grocery story, limit the number of trips you have to make.
- Limit Contact - The rule to follow. Limit your contact with people as much as possible, even those who are close to you. If you are quarantined in your house with a significant other, family members, or a roommate, those are the only people you should be contacting for the next several weeks. It's time to hunker down.
Grocery Store Safety
In order to keep your household well-stocked during the coronavirus outbreak, trips to a local Austin grocery store are inevitable. Next time you have to visit a store, follow these safety precautions:
- Keep your distance from others – Remember, the most important measure to take to avoid contracting the virus is to keep your distance from people. While you're shopping, do your best to maintain a six-foot distance from others.
- Wipe down surfaces customers commonly touch – Shopping cart handles, shopping basket, etc.
- Senior hours – If you are senior, pregnant, immunocompromised or have any other underlying health conditions, it is probably a safe idea to utilize senior hours if your local Austin grocery stores have them. This way, you can avoid larger groups of people such as young, asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
- Protective gear – You might see people in the grocery store wearing a surgical mask and gloves. While initially experts stated that wearing these weren't helpful, some other opinions have entered into the discussion. Experts now believe a large number of people could be asymptomatic, which would make a surgical mask (to avoid spreading the virus) not such a bad idea. Just remember: If you wear a surgical mask and disposable gloves you still must be conscious of touching your face. If you touch contaminated surfaces around the store and then touch your face or phone, those gloves aren't protecting you from anything.
- Choose self-checkout – To further limit your contact with others, it's best to avoid exchanging money and credit cards with a cashier. Self- checkout is a better option as it reduces the amount of contact with others.
- Worry more about washing hands than wiping down containers – Reports on how long the virus survives on certain surfaces are mixed. Many variables come into play in determining how long a virus will survive on a specific surface (surface material, environmental factors such as sunlight and temperature, etc.) Because of this, it is best to avoid touching container surfaces and then touching your face. Wash your hands right away after handling your groceries. If you purchase raw fruits and vegetables, simply wash them off with water as you normally would.
Major US retailers announce temporary closures
As COVID-19 precautions continue to be enacted, retailers across Texas and the country continue to close. Please consult the following retailers' website to read about the details of their closures-including whether or not they are closing fully. We will be updating the list as more retailers close:
- Abercrombie & Fitch
- American Eagle Outfitters
- Ancient Greek Sandals
- Ann Taylor
- Ashley Stewart
- Banana Republic
- Bath & Body Works
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Best Buy (offers curbside pickup)
- Buck Mason
- Calvin Klein
- Canada Goose
- Columbia Sportswear
- Crate & Barrel
- Dick's Sporting Goods
- Domino's Pizza, Inc.
- DXL Big and Tall
- Five Below
- Foot Locker
- Forever 21
- Free People
- GameStop (offers curbside pickup)
- Gilly Hicks
- Gold's Gym
- Guess?, Inc.
- Half Price Books
- HomeGoods and Homesense
- J. Crew
- J.C. Penney
- Kate Spade
- L Brands
- L.L. Bean
- LA Fitness
- Lands' End
- Levi Strauss
- MAC Cosmetics
- Mark & Graham
- Neiman Marcus
- New Balance
- Nordstrom, Inc.
- Old Navy
- Open Ceremony
- Outdoor Voices
- Panera Brand
- Party City
- Phillip Lim
- Pier 1
- Pottery Barn
- Ralph Lauren
- Rent the Runway
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Shoe Carnival
- Speedo USA
- Stuart Weitzman
- T.J. Maxx
- Tailored Brands
- Tapestry, Inc.
- Tiffany & Co.
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Tory Burch
- Ulta Beauty
- Under Armour
- Urban Outfitters
- Van Heusen
- VF Corp.
- Victoria's Secret
- Vineyard Vines
- Warby Parker
- West Elm
- White House Black Market
- WW/Weight Watchers
- Yum! Brands
How to Make Your Own Face Mask
While initially healthy people were advised against using face masks to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now changing their stance.
In recent studies, the CDC has discovered that a significant number of people spreading COVID-19 lack the typical symptoms of the virus. Additionally, those who do eventually develop symptoms may still be spreading the virus before they become symptomatic. As a result of this, the CDC is now recommending wearing cloth face coverings in public settings such as grocery stores, pharmacies, or any other space where social distancing (6 feet) is more difficult to maintain.
It is important to note that the CDC is recommending cloth face coverings fashioned out of household items or other common materials as surgical masks and N-95 respirators are in short supply. Those life-saving materials should be saved for healthcare workers.
Crafting your own face mask at home is quite simple. Now is a great time for you and other members of your household to make them. Here are two easy ways to make your own face mask:
Using a bandana (no sewing machine):
- Bandana (or cotton cloth, 20 x 20 inches)
- Coffee filter
- Rubber bands (or hair ties)
- Scissors (if needed)
- Cut the bottom part of coffee filter funnel (where the grounds would sit)
- Fold your bandana or fabric in half
- Fold the coffee filter in the center of the folded bandana by folding the top of the bandana down and bottom part up
- Put rubber bands or hair ties about six inches apart around each end of the bandana fabric
- Fold the outer sides of the bandana toward the middle and tuck one end into the pocket of the other
- Adjust and fit to face
Using fabric and a sewing machine:
- Two 10 x 6-inch rectangles of cotton fabric – The fabric should be tightly woven cotton such as sheets or quilter's cotton but T-shirt fabric will work as well.
- Two 6-inch pieces of elastic (rubber band, string, cloth strips, hair ties will work)
- Needle and thread (bobby pin will work too)
- Sewing Machine
- Stack the two rectangles of fabric on top of each other.
- Fold over the longer sides of the fabric 1/4 inch and hem.
- Fold the double layer of fabric over 1/2 inch along the short sidesand stitch down.
- Using a needle or bobbly pin, run a 6-inch-long piece of 1/8-inch wide elastic through the hem on each side of the mask. These will serve as ear loops. Knot off each end tightly. You can follow these same steps with elastic bands or hair ties.
- Tuck the knots inside the hem.
- Gather each side of the mask and adjust to fit your face.
- After fitting, stitch the elastic in place so it does not move.