The level of risk for contracting COVID-19 in Austin-Travis County continues to increase, especially among unvaccinated individuals as confirmed cases have dramatically risen over the past two weeks.
In making the decision to move to Stage 4 of the Risk-Based Guidelines, Austin Public Health, Travis County and local hospital partners monitor several key indicators including the 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions, new infections, and current ICU and ventilator patients.
Over the past three weeks these indicators have surged:
The 7-day moving average for hospitalizations since July 4 have increased over 203% from 63 to 202 hospitalizations on July 22. The total number of people testing positive in a given week, has tripled from 3.2% to 9.6%.
COVID patients in local ICUs have increased nearly 242% from 24 people on July 4 to 82 people on July 22.
Stage 4 recommendations include the following:
Fully vaccinated individuals should wear a mask when participating in indoor private gatherings, traveling, and dining or shopping, and should wear a mask for outdoor gatherings, if they are unable to socially distance.
Partially or unvaccinated individuals should avoid private gatherings, travel, dining and shopping unless essential. Wear a mask when conducting essential activities.
The concern is the new variant spreading from those vaccinated to the unvaccinated, especially children unable to get the vaccine.
The Risk-Based Guidelines correlate with five distinct stages of risk for Austin-Travis County and are not changes to local rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines and recommendations for individual actions and behaviors based on levels of risk of exposure in the community. It is important to note that everyone should continue to follow any additional requirements of local businesses, venues, and schools regardless of vaccination status or stage.
People are asked to be aware of their surroundings and potential risks when determining the best course of action to keep themselves and others safe. Vaccinations are the best tool we have in fighting COVID-19, but in public, we don’t know who is vaccinated and who is not, so it is best to mask and, when possible, maintain social distance.
COVID-19 vaccinations continue to prove extremely effective in protecting those who have completed the required series of shots for Moderna and Pfizer, or the single dose of Johnson and Johnson.
However, with only 62.41% of residents fully vaccinated, our community continues to be vulnerable to new variants of the disease, especially the highly transmissible Delta variant.
The rapid spread of the Delta variant is cause for concern among public health experts, especially as children and teens prepare to return to in-person classes.
It is important for parents to vaccinate their children who are 12 years of age and older. APH further recommends that those under the age of 12 wear a mask as the school year begins until a vaccine for their age range is approved.
COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. Residents can locate providers in their area using Vaccines.gov or they can text their zip code to 438829 (822862 in Spanish) to find a nearby clinic.
For additional business guidance, visit www.ATXrecovers.com for recommendations to help prioritize the well-being of employees and customers.
For COVID-19 information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19