On Thursday, the City of Austin announced that the risk of contracting COVID in Austin-Travis County increased. Over the last week, confirmed cases have more than doubled, and new hospital admissions have approached 20 on the seven-day moving average, therefore, well beyond the threshold of 15 needed to proceed into Stage 3.
Vaccines have proven to be highly effective, but only 61.5% of Austin residents are fully vaccinated. This represents a problem since unvaccinated individuals can continue to facilitate the spread of new variants, including the new Delta Variant, which now accounts for most cases in the United States and is said to be more contagious.
Stage 3 include three main recommendations for individuals:
- Fully vaccinated individuals can participate in indoor and outdoor private gatherings and dine and shop without masking if allowed by the business. They can also travel with masking.
- Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals, who are low-risk, can participate in indoor and outdoor private gatherings, dine, shop, and travel with masking.
- Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals, who are high-risk, should avoid non-essential indoor and outdoor private gatherings, dining, shopping, and travel.
It is important to understand that the Stages for Austin-Travis County Risk-Based Guidelines are not adjustments to municipal rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines and recommendations for individual actions and behaviors based on levels of community risk of exposure.
This means that all these recommendations are just that, recommendations, are not to be enforced by local police, however, they are highly encouraged in order to reduce the spread of COVID.
Austin met their initial goal of getting 70% of eligible residents vaccinated with at least one dose, but additional progress needs to be made to reach herd immunity.
For additional COVID-19 information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19