Wolfabilene Updates

No new COVID-19 cases in Taylor County, total remains 241

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene and the Taylor-County Public Health District report no new positive cases of COVID-19. The total remains 241 with 25 active cases.

 

Most of those patients, 211, have recovered. However, 25 patients are currently in self-isolation, and one patient is hospitalized. Five patients in Taylor County have died.

 

Statistics show that most patients are white and under the age of 50, and most have contracted the virus by coming into contact with a confirmed positive case.

 

Sixty-six cases have been labeled as ‘community spread’, and only 8 cases are related to travel.

 

Common symptoms of COVID-19 locally include fever and cough. These ailments have been presenting in at least two-thirds of the positive cases.

 

Latest COVID-19 testing numbers as of June 2, 2020

 

Expanded statistics for COVID-19 cases as of June 2, 2020

 

 

 

By: 

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


City of Abilene extends COVID-19 disaster declaration

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene has extended their COVID-19 disaster declaration.

 

During a special-called city council meeting Monday morning, council members voted almost unanimously to extend the current declaration.

 

Councilman Weldon Hurt was the only member against the extension.

 

According to Mayor Anthony Williams, the declaration will allow the city to receive funds from FEMA if available.

 

The declaration was accepted following the Governor’s Executive Order GA-23, which supersedes any conflicting order issued by local officials in response to the COVID-19 disaster.

 

A local order may not restrict essential services or reopened services allowed by the Governor’s orders, it may not allow gatherings prohibited by the Governor’s orders, and it may not expand the list of essential services or the list or scope of reopened services as set forth in the Governor’s orders.

 

 

By: Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Texas will extend early voting period this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott says

 

Gov. Greg Abbott said he will extend the early voting period for an unspecified amount of time during the November election as concerns continue to persist around in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Abbott has already doubled the time period for the primary runoff election July 14, calling it necessary so that "election officials can implement appropriate social distancing and safe hygiene practices."

 

In a TV interview Thursday afternoon, Abbott was asked if he believes Texas voters will be able to cast their ballots safely not only this summer but also in the fall.

 

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a strike force in charge of laying steps to reopen the Texas economy at a press conference last month.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced a strike force in charge of laying steps to reopen the Texas economy at a press conference last month. (Photo: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)

 

"We do, and for this reason, and that is ... Texas has always had early voting, and what I did for the July time period and what we will do again for the November time period is we will extend the early voting period," Abbott said in the interview with KCBD in Lubbock. "And what that does — it allows more people to go vote early in settings that are not highly congregated. As a result, you can go vote without having to worry about a whole bunch of people being around you that you could contract COVID-19 from. That makes voting a lot safer [of a] setting than it would otherwise be with the shortened early voting time period."

 

Abbott did not elaborate on how much time he would add to the early voting period for the November election. For the July runoffs, he moved up the beginning of the early voting period from July 6 to June 29. The last day remains July 10.

 

Early voting for the Nov. 3 election is set to start Oct. 19 and end Oct. 30.

 

Texas is battling lawsuits at the state and federal levels seeking to expand voting by mail as a result of the pandemic. The Texas Supreme Court ruled against such efforts Wednesday, the latest development in a quick-moving legal saga that is likely headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

"Texas will extend early voting period this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott says" was first published at https://www.texastribune.org/2020/05/28/texas-2020-early-voting-greg-abbott-coronavirus/ by The Texas Tribune. The Texas Tribune is proud to celebrate 10 years of exceptional journalism for an exceptional state.

 

 

By: Patrick Svitek

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


American virus deaths at 100,000: What does a number mean?

 

FILE – In this May 22, 2020, file photo, a raindrop falls from an American flag at half-staff at the Washington Monument, in Washington. President Donald Trump ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff for a three day period in remembrance of Americans who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

 

(AP) – The fraught, freighted number of this particular American moment is a round one brimming with zeroes: 100,000. A hundred thousands. A thousand hundreds. Five thousand score. More than 8,000 dozen. All dead.

 

On Wednesday, the United States’ official reported coronavirus death toll reached six digits. One hundred thousand lives wiped out by a disease unknown to science a half a year ago.

 

And as the unwanted figure arrives — nearly a third of the global death toll in the first five months of a very trying year — what can looking at that one and those five zeroes tell us? What does any number deployed in momentous times to convey scope and seriousness and thought really mean?

 

“We all want to measure these experiences because they’re so shocking, so overwhelming that we want to bring some sense of knowability to the unknown,” says Jeffrey Jackson, a history professor at Rhodes College in Tennessee who teaches about the politics of natural disasters.

 

This is not new. In the mid-1800s, a new level of numerical precision was emerging in Western society around the same time the United States fought the Civil War. Facing such massive death and challenges counting the dead, Americans started to realize that numbers and statistics represented more than knowledge; they contained power, according to historian Drew Gilpin Faust.

 

“Their provision of seemingly objective knowledge promised a foundation for control in a reality escaping the bounds of the imaginable,” Faust wrote in “This Republic of Suffering,” her account of how the Civil War changed Americans’ relationship with death.

 

“Numbers,” she wrote, “represented a means of imposing sense and order on what Walt Whitman tellingly depicted as the `countless graves’ of the `infinite dead.’”

 

Today’s Americans have precedents for visualizing and understanding 100,000 people — dead and alive. They have numerous comparisons at hand.

 

For example: Beaver Stadium, seen often on TV as the home to Penn State football and one of the country’s largest sports venues, holds 106,572 people when full. The 2018 estimated population of South Bend, Indiana, was 101,860. About 100,000 people visit the Statue of Liberty every 10 days.

 

The total amount of U.S. Civil War deaths — combat and otherwise — was 655,000. For World War I it was more than 116,000, for World War II more than 405,000 and for the Korean and Vietnam wars more than 36,000 and more than 58,000 respectively. Those don’t include non-U.S. deaths.

 

Gun violence killed more than 37,000 people a year on average between 2014 and 2018 in the United States. And 9/11 took exactly 2,996 lives, a figure that the U.S. coronavirus tally passed in early April.

 

At some point with numbers, though, things start feeling more abstract and less comprehensible. This has informed the methodology of remembering the Holocaust by humanizing it: The death of 6 million Jews, after all, among many others, is a figure so enormous that it resists comprehension.

 

“It’s really hard for people to grasp statistics when it comes to numbers after a certain scale,” says Lorenzo Servitje, an assistant professor of literature and medicine at Lehigh University.

 

“Can you picture 30,000 people Or 50,000 people? And when you get into the millions, what do you even do with that?” he says. “It’s so outside of our everyday life that it’s hard to grasp meaning from them.”

 

The New York Times tried to address that problem Sunday, dedicating its entire front page to naming the virus dead — an exercise that, even in a tiny typeface, only captured 1% of those now gone. “A count,” the newspaper said, “reveals only so much.”

 

Adding to the complexity is how different coronavirus deaths are from, say, a 9/11, a mass shooting or a cataclysmic natural disaster. Unlike those, the COVID saga is unfolding gradually over time, growing steadily more severe, and resists the time-tested American appetite for loud and immediate storylines.

 

“Each day we’ve become accustomed to the new reality that we don’t realize how far we’ve traveled from what normal is,” says Daryl Van Tongeren, an associate professor of psychology at Hope College in Michigan who studies how people find meaning in suffering.

 

Our brains, he says, are wired to be empathetic to suffering — to a point.

 

“With too much suffering over time, it’s overwhelming and we begin to become callous. And our empathy essentially runs out,” Van Tongeren says. “We’re so accustomed to death right now, at 100,000, that our empathy has become lower.”

 

Finally, there are numbers living within the round 100,000 number that cry out for their own interpretations. The disproportionate number of dead Americans of color, for example. Or the systematic way the disease is ravaging places where older Americans live, taking them in numbers that — if they were dying in mass shootings — might provoke a very different kind of reaction.

 

Don’t focus so much on the numbers, some admonish. Others criticize official counts, calling them inflated and inaccurate. More likely, because of spotty testing and undiagnosed cases, the number 100,000 falls significantly short.

 

But regardless of whether 100,000 has already truly happened or is yet to come, the meaning of this numerical milestone — human-imposed though it may be — raises some fundamental questions.

 

Have we decided to live with death, at least to a point? What would it mean if, around Labor Day, we reconvened in this space to discuss the 200,000th dead American? What would that number cause us to contemplate?

 

In the 14th century, the Black Death ravaged humanity, taking many millions. No one knows how many died. Today, when the dead are counted, some coherence is reached. The thinking is this: If the virus can’t be stopped, at least it can be quantified by human effort — far more palatable than a society where we couldn’t even establish who was no longer among us.

 

“As humans we like clean stories,” says Roland Minton, a mathematics professor at Roanoke College in Virginia. “And classifying things by number of digits can be a nice, clear way of classifying things.”

 

So when Whitman wrote of “countless graves,” he was not merely being poetic. Then, the idea of uncounted dead was more than metaphor; it was a direct description of what had happened.

 

Replacing that situation with accurate numbers, as society grew more sophisticated, did not solve everything. But it was something. Just as 100,000 means something this week in American life. Maybe not everything — not a vaccine, not a treatment — and maybe not clarity, exactly. Not yet. But something.

 

 

By: Associated Press and Nexstar Media Wire

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Coronavirus Relief Program for Texas agricultural producers now accepting applications

 

 

ABILENE, Texas — Texas agricultural producers who have suffered losses due to the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for assistance from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, according to the office of U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).

 

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will pay up to $16 billion to farmers and ranchers across America. The program is jointly-funded by the CARES Act, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and other USDA authorities.

 

Farmers, ranchers and producers who have suffered a 5% or larger price decline or those who have losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face significant market costs may be eligible for this program.

 

“Because of the pandemic and its forced closures, many of Texas’ agricultural producers have experienced a lapse in demand or added logistical challenges that have greatly affected their bottom line,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Through legislation, Congress has delivered targeted relief for Texas farmers and ranchers needing a lifeline, and I’m pleased to announce that applications for that relief open today.”

 

For information on how to apply for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program click here.

 

 

By AJ Gersh

Copyright © 2020, KTXS12 ABC. All Rights Reserved


City of Abilene reports no new COVID-19 cases

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – There are no new positive cases of COVID-19 in Abilene Monday, and so far, 188 people have recovered from the virus.

 

According to the city, a total of 230 positive cases have been recorded in the County, 4,391 tests have been administered. and 37 cases are still active.

 

This number varies drastically from the 350-odd cases reported just weeks ago because the State of Texas recently requested the City of Abilene stop including positive results from the prison units, which are in Jones County, and results based on antibody tests.

 

Currently, city officials are working to recalculate demographic information, so statistics about the patients’ ages, common symptoms, and more are not available at this time.

 

Two patients are currently hospitalized, though nothing has been disclosed about their current conditions.

 

Five deaths are also being attributed to COVID-19 in Abilene. The number was initially 6, but one of the deceased patients resided in another county.

 

 

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


No new COVID-19 cases in Abilene, 184 people recovered

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – There are no new positive cases of COVID-19 in Abilene Friday, and so far, 184 people have recovered from the virus.

 

There are still 228 positive cases of COVID-19 recorded by the City, and 4,339 tests have been administered. Thirty-nine cases are still active.

 

This number varies drastically from the 350-odd cases reported just weeks ago because the State of Texas recently requested the City of Abilene stop including positive results from the prison units, which are in Jones County, and results based on antibody tests.

 

Currently, city officials are working to recalculate demographic information, so statistics about the patients’ ages, common symptoms, and more are not available at this time.

 

Three patients are currently hospitalized, though nothing has been disclosed about their current conditions.

 

Five deaths are also being attributed to COVID-19 in Abilene. The number was initially 6, but one of the deceased patients resided in another county.

 

 

By: Erica Garner

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Texas has entered Phase 2 expansion for reopening businesses, Gov. Abbott announces

 

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect zoos will reopen on May 29, you sports will be allowed to start May 31 and youth clubs can start immediately.

 

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas has entered Phase 2 of Gov. Greg Abbott’s expansion and reopening of businesses across the state.

 

In a news conference at the Texas Capitol on Monday afternoon, Abbott announced that more Texas businesses will be allowed to either reopen or open at larger capacity.

 

Businesses that will be able to reopen immediately include child care facilities, massage parlors, and youth clubs like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.

 

On Friday, May 22, several other businesses will be able to open at 25% capacity, including bars, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and aquariums. On May 29, zoos will reopen, also at 25% capacity. Restaurants will be able to expand to 50% capacity.

 

On May 31, youth sports and professional sports can resume in Texas. Professional sports will not be able to have fans. Youth sports can have one parent watch, but they must follow social distancing rules. More specifically, youth sports can start practice on May 31 and games on June 15.

 

Guidelines for reopening bars

 

For bars, the state has established the following guidelines:

 

  • People should remain seated at tables when inside
  • No tables of more than six people
  • Dancing is “discouraged”
  • Hand sanitizer stations should be at entryways
  • There should be six feet of distance between parties

 

Gov. Abbott says these rules will be enforced by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. If local officials receive a complaints about bars in compliance, the TABC will investigate. The Commission has the power to suspend a bar’s liquor license for 30 days on the first offense and 60 days for the second.

 

“Customers are going to go where they feel safe and a brewery or bar that is packing people and not paying attention I don’t think is going to be all that successfully and will probably be called out for it, as they should,” said Jeffrey Stuffings, the co-owner of the Jester King Brewery and Kitchen.

 

Stuffings has already begun making plans to care for customers. He will request reservations for parties, something he never did in the past. At different points in the day, the entire 50+ acres will be shut down for a deep sanitation.

 

Although the Jester King can comfortably fit around 600 people, he will be limiting his occupancy to around 50 to begin.

 

“There is going to be quite a bit of distance between tables,” Stuffings said.

 

Abbott: ‘No indication’ another shutdown will be needed

 

During the news conference, Abbott said that since Texas entered Phase 1 of reopenings, the state has not seen any indication that the state would need to shut down again.

 

“What we announced today for two regions of Texas is a temporary pause for one week of when they were able to reopen. And so, what our primary goal will be is not to go to a point of retrenchment, but just slow the opening,” Abbott explained.

 

He said the state is prepared to handle the spikes in cases in certain areas of the state, including the panhandle.

 

“We’ve seen spikes happen before. We’ve seen the containment of spikes take place. And so we know how to do this. So as we move forward, we will be prepared to deal with spikes and expect a similar response in the future to the success that we’ve seen in the past,” Abbott said.

 

Despite the expanded reopenings, Gov. Abbott stressed that Texans keep utilizing safe distancing and hygiene practices, including wearing face masks, washing hands and sanitizing areas.

 

“It is a fact that these safe practices save lives,” said Abbott.

 

“Today, tomorrow and every day going forward is one day closer to medical discoveries that will treat and protect people from getting COVID-19,” said Abbott. “Until that day, our focus is to keep you safe while also restoring your ability to get back to work. To open businesses to pay your bills, to put food on your table… a way to coexist with COVID-19.”

 

What this means for child care and summer camps

 

The new executive order allows childcare facilities to resume caring for all children. For the last two months or so, providers could only care for children whose parents work at essential businesses.

 

And come May 31, summer camps can open too.

 

Joan Altobelli, Vice President of Licensed Childcare at Extend-A-Care YMCA said this year’s YMCA Summer Day Camp is going to look a lot different, compared to the previous ones.

 

“It’s going to be only those camps that we feel we can do safely with all of the precautionary techniques in place,” she said.

 

Altobelli explained, the YMCA will review how many sites it can open, how many kids it can accept, based on capacity limitations and what kind of activities will be safe. That means a program that normally serves 3,000 children will be significantly smaller.

 

She said they’ll accept enrollment on a first-come, first-serve basis.

 

“We have a timestamp on each application, so we all know who registered timely and can fit in, and then others will need possibly to make other arrangements if we can’t, um, serve them,” Altobelli said.

 

She told KXAN the YMCA recently did a survey to see how many parents were going to send their children to summer camps this year. Fourteen percent said highly unlikely. Thirty-five percent said yes, and about half were still waiting for more information on the virus.

 

The state has issued a checklist for summer camps.

 

Altobelli said the YMCA’s staff those requirements are in line with what they’ve been doing since March.

 

She explained, “There’s a questionnaire where the parents have to tell us if they’ve had recently any symptoms or fever, if they’ve been around anyone with symptoms or fever. They then get their temperature taken by our staff, and the staff wears a mask and the child wears a mask inside if they don’t have a fever.”

 

According to Altobelli, temperatures are taken every four hours as well.

 

For childcare centers getting ready to welcome back more of its students, Stephanie Retherford at the Learning Experience said, “I feel like we’ve been asking and asking like, we’ve opened up these businesses and we can’t take these kids and we felt a little bit forgotten, and we are so grateful that the announcement was made today and that we now have our plan of action.”

 

The Regional Vice President said many childcare centers will need this week to bring back furloughed employees.

 

“We’re also going to be making preparation to make sure we have enough touchless thermometers and that we have enough gloves and paper towels and everything on hand to make sure that we continue to be the safest possible care,” Retherford said.

 

She also said the safety checklist is something they got used to doing over the last two months or so.

 

“So we got used to them and we’ve been able to handle them. And actually I would say it’s been a very positive addition to our programs,” Retherford said.

 

“So I think we’re really at ease with the way that this has gone and we agree that they should continue.”

 

Monitoring the outbreak

 

The state’s entry into Phase 2, according to Abbott, is the result of several metrics, including the positivity rate.

 

According to a chart shown during the news conference, Abbott explained that as of April 17, the seven-day average of positive test results was 13.86%.

 

On May 17, the positivity rate was 4.97% — a large dip.

 

You can view the positivity rate chart below:

 

View image on Twitter

 

In a press call after Abbott’s announcement, Texas Democratic leaders said his analysis of the data is misleading.

 

‘Today it’s clear he is simply cherry picking the data,” State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, and chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said. “The governor glosses over the fact that the number of new cases reported has grown in the last two weeks. He glosses over the fact that the number of deaths reported tragically has increased in the last two weeks.”

 

Democrats have criticized the state’s testing ability, which the Republican governor said has grown exponentially.

 

“In just the first half of May, we more than doubled the number of tests that were given in all of March and April combined,” Abbott said.

 

Additional factors in expanded reopenings, according to the governor, are Texas’ growing supply of personal protective equipment, or PPE. Abbott said that the state currently distributes over 1 million face masks per day.

 

Currently, Texas is performing about 25,000 tests per day, the governor said.

 

The reopening rules do not apply to all counties just yet, Abbott said. Because the Amarillo region is considered a hot spot for coronavirus due to outbreaks at meat-packing plants and the El Paso area is not equipped to handle a surge of COVID-19 patients at its hospitals, far West Texas and the Panhandle will not move into Phase Two until May 29. The counties that are not expanding just yet are Randall, Potter, Moore, Deaf Smith and El Paso, Abbott said.

 

Under the governor’s plan, employers and employees should implement screening measures as more Texans return to work.

 

As outlined in Abbott’s updated guidance, gyms reopened Monday, with certain conditions explained on the Governor’s “Open Texas” website, starting at 25% occupancy. Those guidelines include proper social distancing and sanitizing. Customers should wear gloves while using equipment. Locker rooms and showers will not yet be allowed for reopening Monday. Manufacturers that closed under Abbott’s previous orders will be allowed to reopen Monday as well, at 25% capacity and using staggered staffing to limit interaction. State parks are also beginning to honor reservations.

 

Abbott has stated multiple times this month his team was working with bar owners and health experts to identify safe ways to allow for bars to reopen. Some bars owners participated in soft reopenings over the weekend to prepare for the green light from the state.

 

Gov. Abbott faces pressure on two fronts. Some Texans want him to open more businesses faster. Last week, tattoo artists and bar owners held rallies outside the Capitol calling on Abbott to let their businesses reopen. On the same day, a different group demonstrated outside the Governor’s Mansion, laying body bags near the front gate.  Their message was that opening too soon could lead to more COVID-19 deaths in Texas.

 

“The governor is in a tough situation,” explained James Dickey, chairman of the Republican Party of Texas. “There are some people who won’t be happy until there’s an unlimited opening of everything with no limit, and there are other people who will be unhappy if anything every opens up.”

 

poll by Nexstar Media and Emerson College showed many Texans are not comfortable returning to normal life as businesses reopen. Even with distancing precautions in place, 68% of Texans polled said they would not feel comfortable going to gyms yet. Nearly 60% said they would not feel comfortable going to restaurants.

 

“It obviously impacts the economy greatly,” said Emerson College Polling Director Spencer Kimball. “If you have 60% of people saying they’re no longer are comfortable going to a restaurant, just think about all of those jobs that aren’t going to be there when this epidemic is over.”

 

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Abbott’s approval rating is 54%, according to a Nexstar/Emerson College poll.

 

“We are getting through this,” Abbott said during the Monday conference. “But now more than ever, we need to work together as one Texas. Be a good neighbor. Be a Texan.”

Timeline:

 

On April 27, Abbott announced Phase One of his plan, opening restaurants and retailers, which took effect May 1, with a potential to move to Phase Two “as early as May 18,” if Texans can “contain the spread of COVID-19 during that time period.

 

“We need to see two weeks of data to confirm, no flare up of COVID-19,” Abbott said April 27, encouraging Texans to keep up social distancing.

 

On May 5, four days into his Phase One plan, Abbott announced expanded rules for hair salons, nail salons, and updated guidance for school graduations.

 

Abbott said that day the moist important factors for him include means and averages, rather than individual day-to-day spikes. “We’re going to be testing a lot more people,” he explained, “a lot more people are going to test positive, there could very well be the need for more people needing hospitalization.”

 

“What matters is not how many people are hospitalized,” Abbott said. “What matters is what our hospitalization capacity is.”

 

As of May 17, Texas had a total of 1,512 people hospitalized. Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services indicated 17,390 hospital beds were available, with 1,832 ICU beds and 5,797 ventilators.

 

The 7-day average positive test rate is 4.66%. According to an analysis of the state data, 57.70% of all cases have recovered, 39.51% are active and 2.80% have died.

 

 

By: Wes Rapaport, John Thomas, Russell Falcon, Christopher Adams, Maggie Glynn, Yoojin Cho, and Alex Caprariello

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


City of Abilene extends COVID-19 disaster declaration until June

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene has extended their COVID-19 disaster declaration through the end of May.

 

During a special-called city council meeting Friday morning, council members voted almost unanimously to extend the current declaration, which follows guidelines outlined by Governor Greg Abbott, until 11:59 p.m. June 1.

 

Councilman Weldon Hurt was the only member against the extension, saying all businesses should be deemed essential and allowed to reopen.

 

Under the now-extended order, restaurants, movie theaters, shopping malls, in-store retail sales, museums and libraries, can serve customers if they operate at 25% capacity.

 

Golf, basketball, tennis, and other outdoor sports are open as well as long as participants practice social distancing guidelines and limit their games to no more than 4 people.

 

Hair salons, barbershops, and other beauty services reopened May 8 with restrictions in place. Gyms will be joining them May 18.

 

However, tattoo/piercing parlors and bars are still ordered to remain closed.

 

Visitors will not allowed into nursing homes, state supported living centers, hospitals, and other long-term care facilities.

 

Playground equipment and splash pads will be closed as well, but city officials are hopeful they will included in Phase Two of Governor Abbott’s ReOpen Texas plan.

 

City offices will remain closed, but the Zoo and two branches of the library – South and Main – are expected to reopen May 18.

 

These relaxed restrictions don’t mean people shouldn’t still try to stay at home, in fact people over the age of 65 are now required to do-so as much as possible.

 

Governor Abbott suggests only venturing out when necessary, for essential items or activities.

 

Social distancing guidelines, such as standing 6 feet apart, avoiding groups of more than 10 people, and limiting exposure to people outside one’s household, are still in effect.

 

BigCountryHomepage will provide more information as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

 

Mayor Williams posted the following on Facebook:

 

Below you will find a summary of Abilene’s extension of the Declaration of Local Disaster. This order coincides with the Governor’s Executive Order GA-18.

 

1. On April 27th, the Governor of the State of Texas issued his Executive Order, GA-18, which expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to Open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster.

 

2. The City of Abilene will adopt and incorporate the restrictions of the Governor’s Executive Order into its Extension of Declaration of Local Disaster to be adopted today. Today’s Declaration will replace all prior Declarations and restriction issued by the City of Abilene.

 

These restrictions, in line with the Governor’s Executive Order, are:

 

3. Every person in Texas shall, except where necessary to provide or obtain essential services or reopened services, minimize social gatherings and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household. Persons over the age of 65 are strongly encouraged, but not required, to stay at home as much as possible.

 

4. Essential businesses, as determined by the US Department of Homeland Security, remain open.

 

The following applies to re-opened, non-essential services:

 

a. In-store retail service is allowed, but businesses may only allow customers into their stores at any one time up to 25% of their total listed capacity.

 

b. Dine-in restaurant service is allowed, but only for restaurants that have less than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages. Also, those restaurants may only allow customers into their restaurants at any one time up to 25% of their total listed capacity. Valet service is not allowed, except for persons with disabilities.

 

c. Restaurants that have 51% or more of their gross receipts from the sale of alcohol may continue to provide services by drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.

 

d. Movie theaters may operate, but may only allow customers into each individual theater up to 25% of the individual theater’s total capacity for any screening.

 

e. Shopping malls may allow customers into the mall up to 25% of the total capacity of the mall. However, food-court areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings must remain closed.

 

f. Museums and libraries may allow customers up to 25% of the total capacity of the museum or library. However, public museums and libraries may only operate if allowed by the local government. Interactive functions or exhibits, and child play areas, must remain closed.

 

g. Services provided by an individual working alone in an office is allowed.

 

h. Golf courses are open.

 

i. Local government operations may open as determined by the local government.

 

5. Religious services are allowed in accordance with the guidance provided by the Attorney General and the Governor (they must designate separate areas for “at-risk” persons to participate or provide them separate services, two empty seats – or 6 feet separation – between persons not in same household, and skip/sit on every other row).

 

6. The following businesses and services are closed: bars, gyms, public swimming pools, interactive amusement venues such as bowling alleys and video arcades, massage establishments, tattoo studios, piercing studios, and cosmetology salons (hair salons & nail salons).

 

7. People are not prohibited from accessing essential services or reopened services or engaging in essential daily activities, visiting parks, hunting or fishing, or engaging in physical activity like jogging, bicycling, or other outdoor sports, so long as they engage in social distancing and minimize in-person contact with people who are not in the same household.

 

8. People may not visit nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living centers, or long-term care facilities.

 

9. People are encouraged to wear masks, but are not required to do so.

 

10. The following persons are required to self-quarantine at home for at least 14 days: (1) persons who are sick or are currently experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough or shortness of breath. These persons may leave their home to seek medical care.

 

11. If any member of a household has tested positive for COVID-19, all persons in the household should follow CDC recommended guidelines to protect themselves from exposure and to protect the public from further community spread.

 

This Order goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. tonight, April 30th, and extends through May 15, 2020, to coincide with the Governor’s Executive Order GA-18.

 

 

By: Erica Garner

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


2 new COVID-19 cases in Taylor County, total of 210

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The city of Abilene and the Taylor County Health Department report 2 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing up the total to 210.

 

The city says 3,109 tests have been conducted and 7 patients are hospitalized.

 

“Please note hospitalizations is now the total number of patients hospitalized in Taylor County with COVID-19, no matter their county of residence,” said the city in a social media post.

 

Officials say the number of tests conducted may not be accurate because antibody tests are still included in the county’s total, even though the positive results from those tests are not.

 

A change in reporting requirements that removed totals taken from antibody tests and positive tests by inmates from local prisons on Wednesday saw the previous totals drop significantly.

 

Demographic information on the cases is being recalculated as a result of the new reporting requirements, the city says.

 

 

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


2 new COVID-19 cases in Taylor County, total of 210

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The city of Abilene and the Taylor County Health Department report 2 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing up the total to 210.

 

The city says 3,109 tests have been conducted and 7 patients are hospitalized.

 

“Please note hospitalizations is now the total number of patients hospitalized in Taylor County with COVID-19, no matter their county of residence,” said the city in a social media post.

 

Officials say the number of tests conducted may not be accurate because antibody tests are still included in the county’s total, even though the positive results from those tests are not.

 

A change in reporting requirements that removed totals taken from antibody tests and positive tests by inmates from local prisons on Wednesday saw the previous totals drop significantly.

 

Demographic information on the cases is being recalculated as a result of the new reporting requirements, the city says.

 

 

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Taylor Co. reports 1 new case of COVID-19, total up to 207

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The City of Abilene and Taylor County Health Department have reported one new case of COVID-19.

 

This brings the newly-revised total to 207.

 

A change in reporting requirements that removed totals taken from antibody tests and positive tests by inmates from local prisons on Wednesday saw the previous totals drop significantly.

 

The city says 3,048 tests have been conducted, but that the number may not be accurate because antibody tests are still included in the county’s total, even though the positive results are not.

 

A city official says the number of tests is down from Wednesday’s because they removed the number of tests previously conducted at the prisons.

 

Demographic information on the cases is being recalculated as a result of the new reporting requirements, the city says.

 

 

By: Joey Hollingsworth

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Gov. Abbott provides update on COVID-19 in Texas at 2:30 p.m. CDT

 

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks during a press conference on April 21, 2020, updating the public on the state’s response to COVID-19. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

 

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, will provide an update on the state’s response to the coronavirus.

 

The press conference is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CDT from the Texas Capitol.

 

It will be Abbott’s first briefing in more than a week. At his last news conference, he announced the details of his first phase of reopening Texas restaurants and retailers, which allowed qualifying businesses to open at 25% capacity.

 

Abbott put part of his plan into motion near the end of April, with a “retail to-go” model that allowed curbside service for stores that were previously considered non-essential.

 

He will be joined by Texas Health and Human Services Acting Executive Commissioner Phil Wilson and Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, as well as his usual companions, Dr. John Hellerstedt of the Texas Department of State Health Services and Chief Nim Kidd of the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

 

Abbott said Phase II of his plan to reopen the Texas economy could come as early as May 18 and may include hair salons, barbershops, bars and gyms, which were left off the initial round of reopenings. The timeline of the next phase would depend on the spread of COVID-19 during the first phase. Phase II would allow businesses to bump capacity up to 50%.

 

“Everybody desperately wanted those hair salons open,” Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, said. “That was an announcement that we wanted to make on Monday (4/27), but the medical professionals just flat would not sign off on that happening.”

 

Abbott’s “Open Texas” plan includes some details on the state’s new contact-tracing system and associated benchmark goals.

 

Abbott allowed his “stay-at-home” order to expire April 30, with a caveat.

 

“Now, more than ever, Texans need to practice social distancing,” he said.

 

While some business owners say he should open the state up entirely right away, the Governor has faced some push-back from others who say communities are not prepared for a spike in COVID-19 cases that could come.

 

“Honestly, I don’t think we’re ready,” State Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, said, referring to the El Paso region. “We’re still going to be very vigilant about staying at home.”

 

Abbott eliminated the mandatory 14-day quarantine for road travelers from Louisiana, but kept in place required self-quarantines for air travelers from California; Connecticut; New York; New Jersey; Washington State; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Detroit, MI, and Miami, FL.

 

He also loosened some restrictions on non-emergency surgeries.

 

Abbott’s Tuesday press conference will be streamed live in this article and on our Facebook page.

 

 

By: Wes Rapaport

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Plastic shields, social distancing and remote work likely to outlive COVID-19 pandemic

 

Border officials working on long-term plan to stem return of coronavirus and face future health emergencies.

 

Cashier Nancy Alvarez wears a protective mask as she works behind a plastic shield at the Presidente Supermarket during the new coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Hialeah, Fla. All employees are required to wear masks which are provided by the company. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — COVID-19 is yet to peak in the borderlands, and local officials are focusing on pressing challenges like discouraging Mother’s Day gatherings that could boost the spread of the virus.

 

But as they emphasize social distancing and stepped-up testing, El Paso County officials are working behind the scenes on a long-term plan to drastically change the way government employees interact with each other and the public.

 

“We have to get into a different kind of mindset,” said Nicole Ruiz, public policy analyst for county government. “We have to reshape the future to protect the health of our employees when we do return to work.”

 

That includes not just encouraging clean desks, frequent handwashing and social distancing, but ultimately redesigning work areas, allowing some employees to continue working from home and the fostering of new habits.

 

“For example, it’s not just keeping 6 feet away from other employees; we’re recommending that instead of walking to another office to ask a question, send an email or make a phone call,” Ruiz said Monday at a briefing of the El Paso County Commissioners Court.

 

And while working remotely became a necessity after city and county issued stay-at-home orders, it could become a long-term opportunity to free up the office space to enable proper social distancing for those whose physical presence is required, she said.

 

The El Paso County Courthouse (photo by Julian Resendiz/Border Report)

 

Both County Judge Ricardo Samaniego and Commissioner Precinct 4 Carl Robinson are suggesting placing shields at cashier’s windows to protect both the customer as well as the employee. Some are already being used. “Shields seem to be non-intrusive. If that shield never came down, we would understand,” Samaniego said.

 

Other actions in the planning stage include the purchase of an adequate supply of masks and thermometers and the crafting of an “early warning” system that will allow the county judge to make quick, informed decisions to close departments or buildings should COVID-19 return or a new health emergency surfaces.

 

El Paso City-County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza said the latter is a possibility that cannot be overlooked.

 

“We continue to see a rise in the numbers; this pandemic is very dynamic in the way it behaves,” Ocaranza told the Commissioners Court. “Once we start seeing a decline we still have to be careful with the way we observe social distancing. […] This coming winter is flu season and people are susceptible.

We can’t let our guard down.”

 

El Paso as of Sunday had confirmed 998 cases of COVID-19 and recorded 22 fatalities. Nearby Juarez, Mexico has had 400 cases and 80 deaths.

 

“We have a difficult situation ahead,” Samaniego said. “We have Mother’s Day and graduations coming up. […] Social gatherings is one of the most difficult things we are going to face. If you look at the numbers, We had Easter and then increase in deaths and so forth, so we are going to ask you to stay home.”

 

 

By: Julian Resendiz

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


7 new COVID-19 cases in Abilene, total of 356

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – 7 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Taylor County, bringing up the total number of confirmed cases to 356.

 

According to the city, a total of 2873 tests have been administered, 129 people have recovered, and 5 deaths have been confirmed.

 

The COVID-19 testing numbers from the Abilene Taylor County Public Health District for May 4, 2020 show 10 new recoveries, bringing the total number of current active cases down to 222.

 

Most Abilene COVID-19 patients are in self-isolation, however, several are hospitalized and five are deceased.

 

A report from the New York Times showed Abilene as having one of the fastest-growing COVID-19 case rates.

 

Abilene had the 4th highest growth rate in the nation and the number one spot in Texas, beating out the only other city listed in the Lone Star State – Amarillo.

 

 

Free COVID-19 testing will be taking place in Taylor County for the next three days. Mobile testing will be available in Merkel on May 5, Buffalo Gap on May 6, and Lawn on May 7, for those who pre-qualify.

 

AbiMar Foods became a hotspot for the virus and contributed to the increase in positive cases. Since March 31, 10% of their entire workforce tested positive for COVID-19. All 500-600 employees were tested. The company resumed operations on April 21 after closing for one week.

 

Other Abilene locations connected to COVID-19 include DRI, the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health District, Walmart on Southwest Drive, and the Robertson and Middleton Prison Units.

 

Locally, there has been an outbreak among first responders, with 41 Abilene Fire Department members testing positive and 13 Abilene Police Department members testing positive.

 

Detail of COVID-19 positives for May 4, 2020

 

Expanded statistics for COVID-19 cases as of May 4, 2020

 

 

 

By: Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved

 


Report: Abilene has one of the highest COVID-19 growth rates in the country

 

FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A report shows Abilene has one of the highest growth rates of COVID-19 cases in the country.

 

The New York Times report, released earlier this week, projects Abilene to be a potential hotspot for the virus in the coming weeks, due to how quickly the number of cases grows each day.

 

In the report, Abilene is attributed an 11% growth rate, with the number of cases doubling every 6.8 days.

 

This is the fourth highest growth rate in the country and the top in Texas, beating out Amarillo, the only other Texas city on the list, by two spots.

 

The data, due to the delayed nature of reporting, is a little dated, so for some perspective, when the chart was made, Abilene had 270 reported cases and now has 319. Amarillo had 637 cases and now has 806.

 

Mayor Anthony Williams says Abilene’s growth rate is so high compared to other similar-sized Texas cities because more tests are being administered here.

 

Updated numbers on COVID-19 cases in Abilene are released each afternoon. Stick with BigCountryHomepage for the latest.

 

 

By: Erica Garner

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


COVID-19 cases in Abilene surpass 300 as State, City restrictions begin to lift

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The number of COVID-19 cases in Abilene has surpassed 300 as restrictions in City and across the State begin to lift.

 

Thursday, city officials reported 319 positive cases in Abilene, an increase of 28 from the day before.

 

Most patients are self-isolated or have already recovered from the virus, but several people are currently hospitalized in unknown condition and five, including a correctional officer from the Middleton Unit in Abilene, are deceased.

 

The highest number of cases is currently being reported among the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups, though the 50-59 age group has a large number of cases as well.

 

A recent outbreak among first responders has resulted in 36 members of the Abilene Fire Department and 11 members of the Abilene Police Department testing positive for COVID-19.

 

Abi-Mar Foods has also become a local hot spot, with 50 of their 500+ employees testing positive for the virus.

 

Friday, malls, movie theaters, restaurants, and in-person retail sales will be open in Texas and Abilene if they operate at 25% capacity.

 

Additional restrictions are expected to lift in a couple weeks as Governor Greg Abbott works to Re-Open Texas.

 

 

By: Erica Garner

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Taylor County extends COVID-19 disaster declaration

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Taylor County Commissioners’ Court has extended the continuation of the Disaster Declaration due to COVID-19.

 

The Disaster Declaration set to expire on April 30 has been extended for 30 more days. The Taylor County Commissioners’ Court also passed a resolution to continue limited public access during a regular session held this morning.

 

According to County Judge Downing A. Bolls, Jr, the court will meet in a special called meeting on Friday to discuss and make any changes or directives for the county, reviewing Governor Abbott’s executive order which allows businesses to re-open under certain conditions.

 

“This discussion will include steps on how to open out Taylor County facilities to the public in a safe manner for our employees and our citizens,” said Judge Downing A. Bolls, Jr.

 

 

By: Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Governor reveals what he calls Phase 1 of reopening Texas

 

Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks during a press conference on April 21, 2020, updating the public on the state’s response to COVID-19. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

 

AUSTIN, Texas — Governor Greg Abbott on Monday revealed his plan to re-open Texas. Abbott said his previous “Stay Home” executive order was set to expire on April 30, and he will allow it to expire.

 

The May 1 List, Phase 1 is:

 

  • Restaurants
  • All theaters
  • Malls

 

They may reopen on May 1 with no more than 25 percent occupancy. Abbott said his order supersedes all local orders. Businesses are allowed but not required to reopen.

 

Museums and Libraries may also re-open with no more than 25 percent occupancy and no hands-on exhibits. Phase 2 would be 50 percent instead of 25 percent.

 

Abbott said small counties with five or fewer cases can increase capacity to 50 percent instead of 25 percent on May 1.

 

Outdoor sports may resume with no more than 4 people at once, such as golf or tennis. Licensed healthcare professionals, such as dentists, may return to work

Barber shops, gyms, and nail salons are still closed on May 1, but hopefully might reopen by mid-May, Abbott said.

 

 

By: newsweb@everythinglubbock.com

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


City of Abilene reports 6 new COVID-19 cases, total up to 191

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The City of Abilene reports six new positive cases of COVID-19 for a total of 191.

 

According to numbers released by the city on Thursday, 57 people have now recovered from the virus, up from just 30 on Wednesday.

 

The increase of six new cases comes on the heels of two consecutive days of at least 20 new positive results.

 

There have been three COVID-19 related deaths in Abilene.

 

For available demographic information, see the graphic provided by the City of Abilene below:

 

 

 

By: Joey Hollingsworth

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


AbiMar Foods resumes operations 1 week after closing, testing all employees for COVID-19

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — AbiMar Foods says they have resumed operations just more than a week after closing and testing all employees for COVID-19.

 

According to a news release issued late Tuesday afternoon, the company started a gradual resuming of operations at 7 a.m. April 21.

 

AbiMar says they will implement a first phase with a small group of workers to allow them to “validate the prevention measures implemented,” with plans to gradually increase production.

 

The news release states that the company created a social agreement where they and the employees recognize the importance of safety guidelines provided by the City of Abilene and Department of Health, and intend to adhere to said guidelines.

 

The decision to resume operations was already shared with the City of Abilene and the Abilene Health Department, according to the news release.

 

At time of publication, 52 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.

 

The entire news release reads as follows:

 

" Abilene, April 21, 2020. After the voluntary closing of operations last Monday, April 13 for a massive COVID-19 testing, AbiMar Foods announces its decision to gradually resume the operation starting at 07:00 am, today April 21, 2020.

 

The company will implement a first phase, with a small group of workers, which will allow the company to validate the prevention measures implemented. As safety conditions are validated the Company will keep gradually escalating production.

 

Based on the guidelines provided by the City, the Department of Health and the actions defined to resume operations, the company generated a social agreement, where the employer and employees mutually recognize the importance of said measures and express their intention to thoroughly adhere to them in the workplace, family and community settings in order to jointly help contain the spread of the virus.

 

This decision to reopen was already shared with the City and the Abilene Health Department, in line with the permanent communication and coordinated work scheme that the company has maintained with local authorities.

 

Apart from being employees of AbiMar Foods, our collaborators are members of a community that needs them as an example and a benchmark to help care for the health of the entire Abilene population. We thank all of them for their positive attitude throughout this process.

 

AbiMar Foods is determined to continue managing the impact of COVID-19 with the greatest sense of humanity, while being clear that people and the care of the health and life thereof are of outmost importance. "

 

 

By: Joey Hollingsworth

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


20 new positive COVID-19 cases in Taylor County, including 5 from AbiMar foods

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene reports a total of 164 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Taylor County, 52 of whom are employed at AbiMar foods.

 

The demographics presented by the City not including AbiMar’s positive cases show 2 of the COVID-19 patients have died in Abilene but 28 have recovered. Most patients are currently in self-isolation at home, though some are hospitalized. Their current conditions have not been disclosed.

 

An outbreak of COVID-19 at AbiMar Foods in Abilene has led to the testing of all 500-600 employees, revealing 10% of the company’s workforce is positive for the virus.

 

During a press conference Monday morning, the City of Abilene addressed the outbreak, saying AbiMar has been proactive in fighting COVID-19, even before their first positive case.

 

As of Sunday afternoon, 511 AbiMar employees had been tested, and 80 of those tests were still pending.

 

Detail of COVID-19 positives for April 21, 2020

 

Disability Resources, Inc. has also had several cases, one of which has been fatal, and the City of Abilene confirmed a Southwest Drive Walmart employee and customer tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

 

According to the Texas Department of Justice website as of April 18, two inmates from the Robertson Unit have tested positive, and there are two test results still pending. 111 are in medical restriction and 4 in medical isolation.

 

A Limited Shelter in Place Order is currently in effect through April 30, shutting down non-essential businesses and only permitting people to leave their homes for essential activities.

 

BigCountryHomepage will continue to provide the latest information about COVID-19 in Abilene. Check back for any updates.

 

No photo description available.

 

 

 

By: Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


Abilene State Park reopens, with COVID-19 restrictions

 

Abilene State Park was open for business Monday, reflecting directives by Gov. Greg Abbott for businesses in the state begin reopening.  

 

The park joined others now open for day use only as part of a broader effort to begin "reopening the state of Texas," according to a statement from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

 

A few regulars had already returned for their daily strolls, said Candyce Johnson, assistant superintendent at Abilene State Park, Monday morning.

 

 "They're all retired people, and they come out here and go for a walk in the park every day," she said.

 

Johnson expected much more public use on Saturday. 

 

One of the many scenic trails at Abilene State Park.

One of the many scenic trails at Abilene State Park. (Photo: Reporter-News file photo)

 

There has not been a date given for when parks will allow camping, she said.

 

A number of guidelines will be imposed on visitors to maintain safety. Among them:

 

  •  Visitors must wear face coverings.

 

  •  No groups of more than five people are allowed.

 

  •  Social distancing of at least six feet must be maintained from people not in one's individual group.

 

If park personnel see large groups congregating, "we will tell them they need to break it up," Johnson said.

 

  •  Advance day pass reservations are required. Those may be reserved online or by calling 512-389-8900.

 

If possible, Johnson said, visitors are being asked to print out their day-use permits at home.

 

Visitors to any Texas State Park should check the system's Alert Map regularly for the latest information about the status of individual parks.

 

As parks open, employees will maintain policies for their own safety, such as wearing face marks and minimizing contact with the public, Johnson said.

 

 

By: Brian Bethel

Copyright © 2020, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved


No new positive COVID-19 cases in Taylor County, 47 from AbiMar Foods, 2 inmates from Robertson Unit

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene reports a total of 144 people have now tested positive for COVID-19 in Taylor County, 47 of whom are employed at AbiMar foods.

 

The City clarified that the number of known AbiMar related positive cases has changed from 50 to 47 as 3 positives were accidentally attributed to AbiMar in the April 19, 2020 report.

 

The City of Abilene has administered COVID-19 tests, most of which have been negative. However, results from tests are still pending.

 

3% of the COVID-19 patients have died in Abilene but 29% have recovered. Most patients are currently in self-isolation at home, though some are hospitalized. Their current conditions have not been disclosed.

 

An outbreak of COVID-19 at AbiMar Foods in Abilene has led to the testing of all 500-600 employees, revealing 10% of the company’s workforce is positive for the virus.

 

During a press conference Monday morning, the City of Abilene addressed the outbreak, saying AbiMar has been proactive in fighting COVID-19, even before their first positive case.

 

As of Sunday afternoon, 511 AbiMar employees had been tested, and 80 of those tests were still pending.

 

Disability Resources, Inc. has also had several cases, one of which has been fatal, and the City of Abilene confirmed a Southwest Drive Walmart employee and customer tested positive for the virus earlier this month.

 

According to the Texas Department of Justice website as of April 18, two inmates from the Robertson Unit have tested positive, and there are two test results still pending. 111 are in medical restriction and 4 in medical isolation.

 

A Limited Shelter in Place Order is currently in effect through April 30, shutting down non-essential businesses and only permitting people to leave their homes for essential activities.

 

BigCountryHomepage will continue to provide the latest information about COVID-19 in Abilene. Check back for any updates.

 

Detail of COVID19 numbers for April 20, 2020

 

 

 

 

By: Martin Mercado

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


AbiMar Foods Outbreak: 10% of workforce positive for COVID-19, all 500-600 employees tested

 

 

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – An outbreak of COVID-19 at AbiMar Foods in Abilene has led to the testing of all 500-600 employees, revealing 10% of the company’s workforce is positive for the virus.

 

During a press conference Monday morning, the City of Abilene addressed the outbreak, saying AbiMar has been proactive in fighting COVID-19, even before their first positive case.

 

On March 17, the AbiMar CEO attended a meeting with the Abilene-Taylor County Public Health Department to learn more about how to keep their employees safe during the pending COVID-19 pandemic.

 

In the following days, they implemented more than 50 measures to follow CDC recommendations, including screening all employees, cleaning and sanitizing every third shift, and moving 90% of their employees to telecommute.

 

The first positive COVID-19 case was confirmed at AbiMar Foods on March 30, and by April 10, there were 5 cases, with the virus present at both their north and south locations.

 

Prior to April 10, the Health Department says AbiMar Foods had been proactively working to identify and isolate employees who were potentially exposed to the virus or had contact a positive case.

 

By the time the business closed until further notice on April 13, more than 100 employees were quarantined at home with full pay.

 

Once an outbreak was identified at AbiMar Foods, the Abilene Diagnostic Clinic approached the CEO, and he agreed to pay for testing for all 500-600 AbiMar employees.

 

50 total employees tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 19.

 

Now, City Manager Robert Hanna says AbiMar is going to follow a tentative tiered plan for reopening, which will begin with cleaning and sanitizing both factory locations, followed by resuming operations with a reduced workforce.

 

Employee screenings will also continue and all new hires will be tested for COVID-19 before entering the factories. Masks, gloves, and in certain cases even face shields will be provided and required.

 

If there are additional positive cases after reopening, AbiMar Foods and the City will work together to establish a different plan.

 

AbiMar Foods’ potential reopening date has not been determined.

 

A total of 144 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the City of Abilene, with testing numbers being updated each afternoon.

 

BigCountryHomepage will continue to provide information about COVID-19 in Abilene. Check back for the latest.

 

 

By: Erica Garner

Copyright © 2020, KTAB/KRBC Nexstar Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved


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