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Here’s what you need to know:
- Nearly Half of All Texans Facing Water Disruptions
- ERCOT Says Progress Being Made on Restoring Power
- Texas Workforce Commission Suspends Work Search Requirement Through Next Week
- Many Texas Colleges and Universities Cancel Class for Rest of the Week
- Gov. Greg Abbott Provides Few Details on When Texans’ Suffering Will End
- Texas Leaders Failed to Heed Warnings That Left the State’s Power Grid Vulnerable, Experts Say
- Austin-Area Hospitals Face Widespread Water Issues
COVID-19 Vaccinations Slowed by Winter Storm
About 36,000 Texans received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine between Sunday and Thursday, though most were administered on Valentine’s Day, before the winter storm intensified across a wide swath of the state, according to the Texas State Department of Health Services.
That’s a tiny fraction of what the state expected to administer before millions of homes, businesses and vaccine providers were crippled by power outages, water supply shortages and icy conditions. But the numbers are probably higher due to reporting lags, said Chris Van Deusen, DSHS spokesperson.
The deteriorating conditions across the state likely hampered not only vaccine efforts, but also reporting efforts, he said.
“This is probably an incomplete picture and more doses may be reported in the coming days as power is restored and providers get through emergency operations,” he said.
The winter storm stymied vaccination deliveries after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday announced they’d be delaying shipments in advance of the storm, affecting some 750,000 doses allotted to Texas for this week. Last week, nearly 1 million doses were administered in a seven-day period, state health officials said.
Public health officials in Dallas, Houston, Austin and other cities postponed planned vaccination events or individual appointments until at least the end of the week, saying the injections would restart once travel conditions were less dangerous. — Karen Brooks Harper
Nearly Half of All Texans Facing Water Disruptions
Almost 14 million Texans are facing water disruptions as of Thursday morning, amounting to nearly half the people in the state. According to a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality spokesperson, 900 public water systems in 164 counties have been affected.
Some Texans have lost access to running water completely, and many cities are requiring residents to boil water before using it to drink, cook, or clean, including Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth and more. — Neelam Bohra
Many Texas Colleges and Universities Cancel Class for Rest of the Week
Many colleges and universities across Texas have canceled classes for the rest of the week due to dangerous road conditions and inadequate internet access brought on by the widespread power outages.
The University of Texas at Austin is closed until Monday morning. The University of Texas at Arlington is closed through at least the end of the day Friday. Texas State University, the University of Houston and the University of North Texas are also closed through Saturday. Texas A&M University said they are monitoring conditions and will decide later today if classes are canceled Friday.
Meanwhile, many universities are still providing meals and have opened warming centers in certain buildings for students who might not have electricity or heat. Texas State University is providing warming buses for students to use. As many cities issue boil water notices for residents, universities have also started to provide bottled water to students as available.