Central Texas, along with the rest of the country, is facing a blood supply shortage, and the area's blood bank, We Are Blood, is pleading for immediate donations.
Why it matters: COVID, winter storms, staffing challenges and more have disrupted the nation's blood supply. In recent weeks, blood centers across the U.S. have reported less than one day's worth of blood for certain blood types, according to the Red Cross.
When the pandemic shuttered offices across the city, the Downtown Austin Alliance was left wondering where the area's employees went and when they would return.
The nonprofit group, funded by commercial property owners, previously focused on market sector data to understand the area, but that wasn't enough as employees shifted to remote work and some businesses closed their doors entirely.
University of Texas researchers found that the highly transmissible Omicron variant — coupled with the ongoing Delta wave — could lead to record peaks through January if the country does not move quickly to take mitigation measures.
Details: Hospital admissions could be 2.6 times higher than January 2021's hospitalization peak, according to new projections by postdoctoral researcher Anass Bouchnita and the team at the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.
It's been a long, hard road for musicians in the Live Music Capital of the World.
Driving the news: Through Jan. 28, local professional musicians, independent promoters and music industry workers facing hardships due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for $2,000 grants.
Note: Austin has moved to Stage 5 of its COVID risk-based guidelines. Find current public health guidelines on social distancing and masks at Austin Public Health's website.
Classrooms are feeling a lot emptier nowadays.
Driving the news: Central Texas school districts are reporting a big drop in teacher and student attendance amid the Omicron surge.
In light of the ramped-up COVID numbers, university students in Austin will have to wait to return to the classroom.
The big picture: Officials at the University of Texas on Tuesday evening announced they're asking instructors to delay in-person teaching until the end of January.
Austin Public Health Authority Desmar Walkes urged residents Tuesday to take action as the Omicron variant threatens to push local hospitals to the brink and predicted the latest surge could last months.
Why it matters: Hospitalizations increased 135% over the past week, pushing Austin to its highest indicators of COVID threat. Austin Public Health also reported 1 in 3 COVID tests taken last week came back positive.
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