Austin stepping back to Stage 3 after recent COVID-19 surge

Posted at 10:33 AM, Jul 15, 2021

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Public Health and other officials announced Thursday they are moving the Austin area back to Stage 3 of the COVID-19 risk-based guidelines due to rising cases of COVID-19 and the emergence of the delta variant in Travis County.

KXAN-TV reports that Dr. Desmar Walkes, an Austin-based health authority, said intensive care units are strained due to the increase in cases in the area. The 7-day rolling average for new cases in Austin has tripled from 30 to 90.

“This has to stop,” Walkes said at a news conference, “and we know how to make that happen."

Data from the Travis County COVID-19 dashboard indicates the area's seven-day rolling average of new hospitalizations is at 20, squarely within the Stage 3 range. The positivity rate in Austin has jumped to 6.6 percent and there were 128 new COVID-19 cases announced on Thursday.

Moving to Stage 3 alters recommendations for those at high risk of infection. Among the specific suggestions for the Austin population include avoiding indoor and outdoor gatherings, along with travel and dining/shopping, unless essential for high-risk people who aren’t fully vaccinated.

Nothing will change for people in Austin who have been fully vaccinated.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said at a news conference he “hated” that he was talking about moving back stages and discussing COVID-19 again.

“This is kind of gut-check time for our community,” he said at the news conference. “We’re concerned about each person in our community, especially those who are at greater risk.”

The Austin mayor said that “almost everyone” who is currently in the hospital with COVID-19 hasn’t been vaccinated.