DATA: Here is what two months of COVID-19 looked like in Southwest Austin

Exactly two months after Travis County saw its first confirmed coronaviruse cases March 13, the local count has increased to more than 2,200. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Exactly two months after Travis County saw its first confirmed coronaviruse cases March 13, the local count has increased to more than 2,200. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Exactly two months after Travis County saw its first confirmed coronaviruse cases March 13, the local count has increased to more than 2,200. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Exactly two months after Travis County saw its first confirmed coronaviruse cases March 13, the local count has increased to more than 2,200. The following data based on that two-month period focuses on Southwest Austin and how the local population has felt the impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

South Austin coronavirus case counts higher than other areas

Of all ZIP codes in Travis County, Southwest Austin has three of the six most infected when looking at total confirmed cases. The 78741, 78744 and 78748 ZIP codes joined Pflugerville ZIP codes 78660, 78753 and 78757 as the only ones with more than 100 confirmed cased as of May 12.

The following graphic shows the number of cases in every Southwest Austin ZIP code according to Travis County and the City of Austin.

Tracking Southwest Austin coronavirus clusters

According to Austin Public Health, the department currently tracking 15 coronavirus clusters in the county, eight of which are within Southwest Austin. An additional cluster is located in Southeast Austin.

Many clusters—which are any one location with three or more cases—are being tracked at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

By the end of April, about 62% of Austin-Travis County’s coronavirus deaths have been people who lived in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, while Dr. Clay Johnston, dean of The University of Texas Dell Medical School, called the region’s nursing homes “shockingly vulnerable.”

More information and reporting by Community Impact Newspaper about clusters and efforts at nursing homes and long-term care facilities can be found here.

Southwest Austin unemployment trends

According to the most recent data available, from March 18 through April 18 a total of 15,629 South Austin and Dripping Springs residents filed unemployment claims with the Texas Workforce Commission, about 4.9% of the area's population.

In South Austin and Dripping Springs, more women filed claims than men, with 55% of all claims filed by women. When looking at different employment industries across Texas, the most claims came from the restaurant industry, followed by dental offices, hotels and department stores.

Here's a look at unemployment claims in each Zip code.

Southwest Austin roads see less traffic

As schools closed and residents in Austin began working from home in March, Southwest Austin's newest toll road saw a strong decline in use. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority saw a decline in usage across all of its toll roads in March and April, including SH 45 SW. More information can be found here.

Businesses slowly reopen in May

In late April, state orders by Gov. Greg Abbott outlined a timeline for reopening aspects of the Texas economy, after many businesses had been forced to close or alter services due to the ongoing pandemic.

After operating exclusively with takeout, curbside or delivery services for over a month, May 1 was the first day local restaurants could reopen dining rooms. At least 15 local restaurants reopened May 1, and others have since joined.

One week later, barbershops and salons were permitted to reopen. While some in Southwest Austin did reopen, many chose wait until later in the month, taking time to prepare and train staff under the new state guidelines.

Beginning May 18, gyms and other facilities will be permitted to open.

Travis County overview

As of May 12, there were 2,235 coronavirus cases, 71 coronavirus-related deaths and 760 recoveries reported in all of Travis County. The following chart shows how cases have increased locally over the past two months.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


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