10 Cases of COVID-19 Now Reported in Travis County, and the Rest of the Day's Developments

We round up the latest closures, take-out options, and more

photo by David Brendan Hall

It’s been another fast-moving day of developments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The White House issued new guidelines today encouraging Americans to work or school remotely when possible; avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people; and to stay at home and away from other people if you are sick, immunocompromised, or an older person.

Locally, the number of cases of COVID-19 infection increased to 10, according to information released by Austin Public Health at 7pm this evening.

Here’s a roundup of some of the stories we ran today:

With federal leadership still halting at best, state and local officials have doubled down in the last few days to try to head off what may be a looming healthcare crisis in Central Texas and across the country. Here are some of the measures local medical providers have adopted to respond to the COVID019 outbreak.
Meanwhile Central Texas hospitals could face blood shortages as early as next week if donations don’t ramp up this week, Nick Canedo, vice president of community engagement at We are Blood, told the Chronicle. – Margaret Nicklas

City of Austin officials announced Sunday that all public library branches, golf courses, athletic programs, recreation and cultural centers, and the Austin Animal Center will be closed to the public March 16-30. Additionally, all non-essential Municipal Court dockets within that date range will also be rescheduled. There are no announced changes to essential city services including trash, recycling, and compost pickup; public safety, Austin Water service; Austin Energy service; and transportation services. – Austin Sanders

The Austin Independent School District, which today began its scheduled spring break, announced it has canceled classes from March 23 through April 3, and is making plans for a distance learning environment. Outgoing Superintendent Paul Cruz also confirmed that AISD Food Services will prepare and provide meals for students Monday through Friday starting March 23. Each student will receive a meal pack containing both breakfast and lunch, which they can pick up curbside from one of 14 sites. – Beth Sullivan

Advocates from a large group of local social justice and advocacy organizations are calling on city and county leaders to step up and help those most marginalized in the community amid the escalating coronavirus outbreak. In a letter addressed to Austin Mayor Steve Adler and the City Council, the Travis County Commissioners Court, and other officials, the groups offer a comprehensive list of demands that target public education, welfare, housing, worker, immigrant, and disability rights, medical services, childcare, elder care, law enforcement, courts, and jails. – Mary Tuma

Cinemas just saw their worst weekend for ticket sales in 20 years as audiences question whether they want to be in public spaces. Now local theatres and nationwide chains are all trying to find sensible responses that will allow them to stay open and safe for audiences. – Richard Whittaker

Austin restaurants are adapting by expanding take-out, drive-through, and delivery options. We’re constantly updating this list of what restaurants have to offer, and which ones are temporarily closing.

Looking for ways to help your neighbors out? Here are some donation and volunteer opportunities.

To Keep You Entertained...

Persistence of Vision podcast hosts L.B. Deyo (left) and Lance "Fever" Myers

Wayne Alan Brenner profiles the Austin-based Persistence of Vision podcast with its “recommendations and exhortations and discussions of literature that’s popular and obscure and thoughtful and thrilling.”

Community Listings & Special Screenings Editor Kat McNevins rounds up creative ways to combat cabin fever with activities for families and children including art contests and virtual library info.

Austin retail stores like BookPeople and Waterloo Records are embracing curbside delivery.

Crowdfunding site Patreon is holding a three-hour streaming telethon on Wednesday – they're calling it a "weird stream-a-thon" to help support affected artists.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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