Austin health officials are tracking 8 clusters of confirmed coronavirus cases

Austin and Travis County adopted new guidelines, recommending local residents wear face masks or fabric covering when out in public. (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)
Austin and Travis County adopted new guidelines, recommending local residents wear face masks or fabric covering when out in public. (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)

Austin and Travis County adopted new guidelines, recommending local residents wear face masks or fabric covering when out in public. (Christopher Neely/Community impact Newspaper)

Travis County has 554 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and seven deaths, as of April 7. Health officials told City Council on April 7 they were aware of and tracking eight clusters of confirmed cases in the community.

Clusters are groups of cases health officials know are related to one another, interim Austin-Travis County Authority Mark Escott said. He told City Council one of the clusters is related to the crew of college students who came back from spring break with the virus, and the other clusters are related to “nursing homes or other clinical settings.”

“[Clusters] represent a minority of the total cases we’re seeing,” Escott said. “In most circumstances, the relationship to another case is not known.”

Escott said officials were working on the data, but that location data for clusters would only represent where each person lives, not where they contracted the virus. Austin-Travis County officials have put together a map of all confirmed cases but, similarly, the map only shows where people with the virus live, not where they caught the virus.

District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan has expressed grievances with such data, saying that the map gives people a false sense of security and that, if they live in an area with fewer cases, may not have to practice such extreme social distancing. Escott said it is crucial for people to remember that Austin has sustained community spread across the city and maintaining social distancing has to be a priority.


Escott said he has been impressed with the group that came back from spring break with the virus. He said they are all remaining quarantined, and each of the students with confirmed cases said are all interested in being plasma donors to help with virus research.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following two years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Su


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