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Austin COVID-19 admissions reach Stage 4 territory

Health officials will be monitoring the situation closely over the next few days to determine if the area will leave Stage 5.

AUSTIN, Texas — As of Tuesday evening's COVID-19 dashboard update, Austin-Travis County has officially reached the territory that could downgrade the area from Stage 5 to Stage 4.

Currently, the 7-day moving average of new admissions in the area is 49. The threshold to move from Stage 4 to Stage 5 is 50. Austin has been in Stage 5 since the end of July.

In a statement provided to KVUE Tuesday, Austin's Homeland Security and Emergency Management department said it will continue to monitor the situation over the next few days before making the call to move stages.

"While APH monitors the 7-day moving average of COVID-19 new hospital admissions as the primary key indicator for the Risk-Based Guidelines, additional key indicators, including positivity rate, the doubling time of new cases, and current ICU and ventilator patients, are monitored to determine the current staging," said Matt Lara with Austin HSEM. "We will continue to evaluate these other data points to determine if/when Stage 4 will happen."

In a meeting Tuesday morning, Austin Public Health officials continued to urge residents to mask up, socially distance and get vaccinated, despite the fact the metrics appear to be improving. Cases are starting to decline again and the positivity rate also appears to be going down.

"We're not sure whether that is because we're seeing a decrease in the number of positive cases truly or if some people are starting to use more of the antigen testing because when we report these test numbers, we're looking at the PCR test, the confirmatory test numbers. But, overall, it looks as though this is holding true," Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin medical director, said.

Credit: APH
Guidelines for the unvaccinated
Credit: APH
Guidelines for the vaccinated

Due to changes made to the guidelines after the delta variant, under Stage 4, the unvaccinated are still urged to avoid shopping and private gatherings and to choose takeaway options when dining. The main change between Stage 4 and 5 is that essential travel is permissible in Stage 4.

For the vaccinated, the primary change is that high-risk individuals can partake in most daily activities, gatherings and travel. Masks are still highly encouraged for the vaccinated in Stage 4.

Here's a look at some of the latest data as of Tuesday evening:

7-day moving average of current hospitalizations:

  • Hospitalized - 513
  • In ICU - 216
  • On ventilators - 150

7-day moving average of new confirmed cases:

  • 343

7-day moving average for doubling time:

  • 117

Overall weekly percent positive:

  • 8.3%

Currently hospitalized:

  • 492
  • In ICU - 195
  • On ventilators - 137

Total cases since start of the pandemic:

  • 113,132
  • Recoveries - 108,793
  • Active cases - 3,967
  • Deaths - 1,058

Travis County has also reached the milestone of 70% of the eligible population becoming fully vaccinated.


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