APH Bumps Austin, Travis County Back to Stage 4

Covid 19

COVID-19 cases in Austin and Travis County are climbing once again, and that comes just weeks after the Omicron variant was detected in Central Texas. As a result, the Community Transmission Rate (CTR), test positivity rate, and the 7-day moving average of hospital admissions are spiking.  These metrics are above thresholds that Austin Public Health feels require a move up to Stage 4 on the COVID risk-based chart.

“One of the greatest traits of Austin-Travis County is how we have consistently been one of the leaders in the state when it comes to lower Community Transmission Rates. Our people have continually stepped up for the greater good and been the example of how to navigate the COVID-19 surges with masking, social distancing, and vaccinations,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “However, as our vigilance begins to wane, our community is falling behind. We can’t afford to be lax in our prevention efforts and I’m confident that Austin-Travis County will once again lead the way.”

Austin-Travis County’s CTR is currently at 404.96 per 100,000 residents. The state’s CTR is 319.7 per 100,000 residents.

Stage 4 recommendations include:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks when gathering with people outside of their household, traveling, dining, and shopping. Get your booster once eligible.
  • Partially or unvaccinated individuals should wear masks, avoid gatherings with people outside of their household, only travel and shop if essential, and choose takeaway/curbside options for dining. Get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The omicron variant is moving fast through our community and we must do what is necessary to help slow community transmission,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown. “As we get closer to the New Year celebration, I encourage everyone to follow the Stage 4 guidelines and mask up when recommended. These small preventive measures will go a long way when it comes to keeping our entire community safe.”

Whereas Austin Public Health’s staging used to also impose new requirements on the general public, Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order has since removed the authority from local governments to impose their own mandates on things like masks or vaccinations.  Due to that fact, the change to Stage 4 is only a recommendation that is being made by local health officials.

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