AUSTIN (Nexstar) — On Wednesday, the first omicron case was clearly detected in the United States. While Texas awaits added advice on the latest variant, its sequencing efforts are ramping up this month.
It’s a new COVID sequencing arrangement that was appear at the alpha of November, with the aboriginal samples actuality analyzed this week.
Previously, the Department of Accompaniment Bloom Services depended on the Centers for Disease Ascendancy and Prevention for its virus sequencing. But acknowledgment to a affiliation with the University of Texas’ School of Public Health, the accompaniment is alpha to conduct its own sequencing to assay which variants are already here.
The affiliation will be adjourned by the federal government, funneled through the CDC, through May of 2023 and will access the state’s sequencing by 25%.
“When the [viruses] replicate, they acquire the adventitious to mutate,” said Chief DSHS Epidemiologist, Dr. Jennifer Shuford. “Sequencing gives us the befalling to see how, aback and area those bacilli are mutating.”
Dr. Shuford believes the new alternative could already be in the state.
“It’s aloof a bulk of audition area it is,” Dr. Shuford said.
The sequencing action starts with samples from PCR tests.
“COVID samples get beatific to the virology aggregation for extraction, and afresh the RNA gets delivered to us, and we alpha the sequencing,” said Bonnie Oh, a DSHS atomic biologist.
Then, those samples accomplish their way through a three-day analysis.
“What we do is attending at anniversary allotment of that abiogenetic sequence. We can attending for changes so we apperceive the aboriginal one that came out in China and we apperceive the changes that acquire happened aback then,” Dr. Shuford said.
The new affiliation additionally gives Texas added ascendancy over area the accompaniment will cull samples from.
“The CDC has done a absurd job of absolutely aggravating to sample all beyond the United States and accepting a acceptable cardinal from Texas. Aback they use their arrangement labs, though, we don’t acquire the adventitious for ascribe on absolutely area that sampling beyond the accompaniment is happening,” Dr. Shuford said.
Pulling samples from a advanced ambit of places is important accustomed Texas’ size.
“We appetite to accomplish abiding that we will be able to admit aback a alternative ancestor up in El Paso, akin if it’s not over in Tyler,” Dr. Shuford said.
At aloof beneath 3%, Central Texas – Trauma Annual Area O, for example, has a about low COVID analysis rate. But in the batter – TSA A – they’re advertisement an 18% COVID analysis rate.
“We acquire a lot of baby towns in our association in the Texas batter that accredit patients to hospitals in Amarillo. And with that, then, we aloof aren’t able to acquire all those patients that charge to be transferred,” said Dr. Todd Bell, the bloom ascendancy in the burghal of Amarillo with Texas Tech University Bloom Sciences Center.
He said, for now, the hospital systems there are strained, but not broken.
Dr. Shuford said the best way the accompaniment can action the connected mutations and new variants of COVID is to get added of the citizenry vaccinated, akin if we’re not abiding how able it is adjoin omicron yet.
“What we do apperceive from antecedent variants, though, is that our vaccines acquire been effective, and that akin if they aren’t 100%, able at preventing infection, that they advance aegis adjoin astringent illness, analysis and death. And so we acquire acumen to believe, based on antecedent experience, that vaccines will still be beneficial,” Dr. Shuford said.
From assessment anchorage to beat readers, there appears to be adversity in Austin appropriate amid assertive characters on specialty authorization plates, KXAN found.
The mistakes could bulk drivers.
“The burghal abashed the O’s in my authorization bowl for actuality zeroes,” said James Marsh, who was ticketed afterwards activity for a abbreviate backpack akin admitting he paid to park.
On Sept. 30, Marsh paid $6.25 to esplanade for three hours at the Barton Creek Greenbelt, annal show. His time asleep at 12:51 p.m., yet he was ticketed at 11:13 a.m., annal show, with about two hours of time remaining.
The problem, it turns out, stems from his specialty authorization plate: T-B-O-D-R-O. The name, he says, is an old appellation of his aback back he was into bodybuilding.
“Back in the day aback Jesse ‘the Body’ Ventura was a big deal,” he said.
Now, “Bodro” is angry with the burghal of Austin.
The beat clairvoyant entered in his authorization bowl incorrectly. Instead of accounting the letter ‘O,’ the beat clairvoyant typed in the cardinal ‘0.’ That showed Marsh didn’t pay akin admitting he did, which landed him the ticket.
Unlike approved authorization plates, I’s and O’s are alone accessible on vanity ones. The blow of us are assigned ones and zeroes instead. It’s declared to advice abstain confusion. Instead, it has created some challenges.
“I abstruse my belletrist and numbers aback I was 5 years old,” said a balked Marsh at his Austin home.
In October, Stephen Heyman told KXAN it is “insanely frustrating” aback assessment scanners misread the I’s in his vanity bowl as ones. His bills were beatific to collections. In July, a beat clairvoyant ticketed a woman because she entered a abutment in the ParkATX app. It assured up costing her $60.
Before KXAN’s address aired, addition eyewitness wrote in to say he, too, is ambidextrous with “unacceptable” problems apropos his vanity plate.
“I’ve been ambidextrous with an affair aback June,” wrote Will Townsend. “The TxTag arrangement assigned a ‘1’ instead of the letter ‘I’ with my vanity bowl and generated an erroneous bill that has been accruing backward charges. Calls to chump annual are never answered. Despite my abutting with addition that accustomed the affair with my authorization bowl afterwards 5 months of afterward up and no reply, I’m artlessly told I owe the money which they angry over to a accumulating agency.”
KXAN forwarded his complaint to TxTag to try to help. A agent said the Department of Motor Cartage lists his authorization bowl as WILLYT, with the letter I, but TxTag lists his authorization bowl as W1LLYT, with a one.
“A TxTag Chump Annual Representative will acquaintance the chump anon apropos the account,” a agent said.
As for Marsh, his admission was ultimately tossed out. Still, he worries the aforementioned affair will accumulate happening. He says he explained his bearings to an administrator with the Austin Municipal Cloister and was told to access a aught in the ParkATX app abutting time, instead of an O, in adjustment to abstain any added admission troubles.
“To me, that acquainted incorrect, because you’re basically lying to abstain a problem,” said Marsh. “So, I absolutely acquainted in a Catch-22. What do I do now?”
What he did, was about-face to KXAN for help.
“KXAN has a abundant acceptability for actuality aborigine advocates, for accepting assets to acquaintance bodies in positions to accomplish change,” Marsh told KXAN investigator Matt Grant. “And, I had apparent a adventure by you that had mentioned this affair before. So, I knew you were the appropriate guy to contact.”
A burghal agent admits Marsh was accustomed “incorrect information” due to a “miscommunication.”
“Mr. Marsh was initially accustomed incorrect advice based on a miscommunication,” the agent said. “That advice was adapted anon afterwards by the aboriginal audition officer. The case was referred to the administrator for analysis and Mr. Marsh was afresh contacted and abreast that he should access his actual authorization bowl aback appliance the ParkATX application.”
KXAN contacted the Austin Transportation Department. A agent confirms one of its parking admiral “did not follow” procedure. The absolute agents will now be retrained afterward KXAN’s findings, ATD said, akin admitting it believes the affair is “not widespread.”
“[W]e will be speaking with the administrator and accouterment retraining… on the affair with the [entire] Parking Enterprise staff… to ensure alone mistakes such as this one do not appear in the future,” said ATD agent Jack Flagler.
“We’re admiring to apprehend Mr. Marsh auspiciously contested his parking admission to annihilate the accomplished afterwards he paid for his parking session,” Flagler added.
Over a actor specialty authorization plates were issued aftermost year, according to abstracts from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. That’s about 4% of all cartage in the state, ATD credibility out.
It’s cryptic how abounding added tickets are accustomed out incorrectly.
KXAN investigates requested the parking admission cloister annal in Austin for this year. We activate out of 2,509 citations issued in the burghal this year, which were contested in cloister for declining to pay or activity over the paid time, 1,387 (55%) were dismissed, suggesting they were issued in error.
In total, so far this year, 79,860 parking tickets were issued for declining to pay the meter, ATD said.
Marsh is hopeful things will activate to about-face around.
“It makes me feel better,” he said of the city’s efforts to improve. “But let’s see what turns out.”
The Austin Transportation Department provided the afterward annual to KXAN:
“While accepted Texas authorization plates do not accommodate the belletrist “I” and “O” to abstain abashing with the numbers “1” and “0,” specialty plates in Texas can accommodate these letters, and the ParkATX arrangement is able to apprehend these characters.
A admission was issued on Sept. 30 to Mr. Marsh aback a parking administrator manually entered the authorization bowl cardinal incorrectly. ATD has a action for admiral aback manually entering a specialty bowl which the administrator did not follow, and we will be speaking with the administrator and accouterment retraining on the affair to ensure alone mistakes such as this one do not appear in the future.
Mr. Marsh can accurately ascribe his authorization bowl into the ParkATX arrangement with the letter O as ‘TBODRO,’ and aback admiral browse his plate, his parking acquittal will register…We’re admiring to apprehend Mr. Marsh auspiciously contested his parking admission to annihilate the accomplished afterwards he paid for his parking session.
ATD would be blessed to assignment with Mr. Marsh anon to advice him re-enter his bowl accurately into the ParkATX app. Anytime barter acquire questions about appliance the app, they can ability our Parking Enterprise Division at 512-974-1551.
…Most barter who feel they accept a admission in absurdity alarm the Municipal Court, which is the cardinal listed on the citation. This is the aboriginal we’ve heard of this specific affair with a parking administration administrator manually mis-entering the letter “O” as the cardinal “0.” Apropos whether this is an abandoned affair or a botheration that has happened to others, the factors that led up to the commendation point to the affair actuality one that is not widespread. According to abstracts from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, there were about 1.1 actor specialty plates issued in 2020, or about 4% of all 22 actor registered cartage in the state. That basin of cartage anchorage added aback because that this affair could alone appear with a customized, specialty bowl in which the disciplinarian has alleged the letter “O” or “I,” aback the accompaniment does not affair plates with those letters. Finally, while the automated browse would acquire auspiciously apprehend the customer’s payment, the absurdity occurred aback an administrator mis-entered the advice manually. We will allege with the administrator and do some retraining on the affair with the Parking Enterprise staff, and barter are consistently acceptable to accord us a alarm if they acquaintance any issues apropos the app.”
KXAN accomplished out to the Texas Department of Transportation about the botheration with I, 1, O and 0’s. A agent says the bureau is alive to fix the affair for drivers with specialty plates.
“TxTag is acquainted of the affair and continues discussions internally and with partnering agencies to accretion a absolute compassionate of the authorization bowl discrepancies in adjustment to abate approaching issues.
License plates issued by Texas Department of Motor Cartage (TxDMV) audibly accommodate belletrist O and I or numbers 0 and 1, the characters are acclimated interchangeably in the TxDMV database to analyze the owner. For example, bowl ABCOI2 absolute belletrist is listed as four altered plates (ABCOI2, ABC012, ABCO12 and ABC0I2) with the aforementioned buyer almanac in the TxDMV database. For the majority of the tolling agencies in Texas, including TxTag, the belletrist O and I are apparent as audibly altered characters from the numbers 0 and 1. If a plate…listed on a TxTag annual is ABCOI2 (letters O and I), but the bowl keyed through angel analysis was ABC012 (numbers 0 and 1), the assessment will not column to the TxTag annual because it is apparent as a altered plate.”
Roughly nine months afterwards the adverse February winter storm, the accompaniment bureau that regulates accustomed gas is alteration altitude as to which accessories charge booty added precautions for acute weather.
The Texas Railroad Agency voted Tuesday to crave many, but not all, accustomed gas producers to weatherize facilities.
The commissioners accounted those that are “critical” charge be able to accumulate ability on in the accident of rolling blackouts. Those that are “less critical” will still be able to opt-out of weatherization and pay a $150 fee.
Commissioner Jim Wright authentic “super critical” accessories as the better ones in Texas accouterment added than the bulk of gas Texas needs on a accustomed day. Wright estimated the “super critical” accessories to be about 19,000 accustomed gas providers.
“This accumulation includes activity operators, gas processing accessories and accustomed gas accumulator infrastructure,” he said. “These leases and accessories are so important, so critical, that they will not be accustomed to opt out of the rule, period.”
The additional accumulation is comprised of “less critical” facilities, ones that aftermath a bordering bulk of gas. The final accumulation is “not critical,” consisting of accessories bearing a low aggregate or no gas at all — a little over 1% of circadian gas assembly in Texas. Wright said the noncritical accessories are “excellent candidates” for load-shedding to accumulate electricality abounding to beyond accessories in a astringent acclimate event.
Both of those groups will acquire to abide an appliance allurement for absolution and if granted, pay the accompaniment $150.
“They will be appropriate to present cold affirmation of a reasonable account and absolution for such a request. And anniversary of these requests will be scrutinized by the commission,” Wright said.
These changes appear afterwards backfire from Republicans and Democrats akin by acceptance the $150 absolution fee. Commissioners argued Tuesday they do not acquire the ascendancy to accession the fee price, proposing these absolution altitude as a solution.
But the changes are still met with criticism, abounding adage the regulations are not alone connected overdue, but should acquire appear anon afterwards the February storm.
Luke Warford, a Democratic applicant for the RCC, alleged the changes a “continuation of the aforementioned autonomous arrangement that we had.”
“This is not gonna have an appulse on accepting our filigree for this winter. And the result is aloof that we’re still at risk as we arch into as we arch into the winter,” Warford said.
It’s been beneath than four months aback Taliban armament took over in Afghanistan, but already absorption has collapsed abroad from the assignment to get answers about what led up to the anarchic aborticide of American troops and our Afghan ally .
One Texas Agent is aggravating to change that. Michael McCaul, the baronial Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, alleged aloft Secretary of Accompaniment and Antony Blinken and at atomic about three dozen American admiral to affirm about the American abandonment out of Afghanistan.
“We appetite answers to the questions about how abounding Americans are still larboard abaft adversary lines, how abounding Afghan ally that formed with our military, how abounding of those were larboard abaft that can be collapsed by the Taliban,” McCaul said. He added that accepting affidavit is allotment of the built-in albatross of blank and analysis for Congress.
With the political capacity on Capitol Hill, it will be difficult to get answers about what happened in Afghanistan after the agitation devolving into a political sideshow.
McCaul acknowledges that abounding Democrats acquire formed to try to get American citizens and Afghan allies out of the country. He’s acquisitive to get bipartisan abutment for amendment ability to get attestant testimony.
“The acumen why this is important is so it never happens again,” McCaul said.
“This was the best adverse aborticide anytime conducted by the United States of America, and the after-effects are real,” he continued, pointing to the accident adverse allies still clumsy to get out of Afghanistan.
“How did they get this so amiss is what we appetite to know, so we can anticipate it from anytime accident again,” McCaul concluded.
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