Nicole Cobler
Jan 13, 2022 - News

Austin's blood bank seeks donations amid nationwide shortage

A photo of empty chairs at a blood bank
Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

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.

Nicole Cobler
Jan 12, 2022 - COVID

How the Downtown Austin Alliance tracks office reopenings

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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.

Nicole Cobler
Jan 12, 2022 - COVID

UT models: COVID hospitalizations could be 2.6 times higher than 2021

A photo of a woman administering a COVID test.
Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

University of Texas researchers found that the highly transmissible Omicron variant β€” coupled with the ongoing Delta wave β€” 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.

Asher Price
Jan 11, 2022 - COVID

COVID hardship money now available for local musicians

A pedestrian walks by boarded-up businesses on Sixth Street in Austin.
A pedestrian passes in front of a boarded up business on East Sixth St. in April 2020. Photo: Bronte Wittpenn/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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.

Your Austin weekend guide for Jan. 7-9

Illustration of an animated neutral emoji changing into a smiling-with-sunglasses emoji.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

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.

Austin school desks empty amid Omicron surge

Illustration of an apple wearing a covid mask.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

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.

Asher Price
Jan 5, 2022 - COVID

Austin universities go back to the virtual chalkboard

The administrative tower at the University of Texas.
The University of Texas Tower. Photo: Ilana Panich-Linsman for The Washington Post via Getty Images

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.

Nicole Cobler
Jan 5, 2022 - COVID

Austin Public Health authority says latest COVID surge could last months

A photo of cars in line.
Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

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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