Austin and Travis county have moved into Stage 4 of Austin Public Health’s (APH) COVID-19 Community Risk as Coronavirus cases surge and hospitalizations rise. APH officials state that “Masking is recommended indoors for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Cases and hospitalizations continue to increase in Travis County as new variants, such as the Delta variant, spread throughout the community.”
Austin finds itself in stage 4 just one week after moving to stage 3, showing a rapid increase in community infection and worrying officials. Data shows that the Delta variant spreads easier than other variants, and can infect even vaccinated individuals. APH recommends that people over 65 and unvaccinated adults should avoid non-essential gatherings – and that everyone, regardless of age or vaccination status, should wear a mask in public.
At the beginning of July, Travis county saw an average of 34 COVID-19 cases a day, in less than a month that has risen to 148 cases a day. Local hospitals are facing similar increases, with the number of ICU patients with Coronavirus tripling in the past month.
APH officials strongly recommend that everyone eligible get the vaccine, as the majority of hospitalized patients are unvaccinated. “Not getting vaccinated leaves you vulnerable to serious illness, hospitalization, and even death. Those unvaccinated can also be a host to new variants because the virus can mutate easier with less protection,” the city of Austin states in their COVID-19 guidelines.
What are the stage 4 guidelines?
Health officials recommend vaccinated people wear masks:
- at private indoor gatherings
- at non-socially distanced outdoor gatherings
- while traveling
- while dining and shopping
Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people:
- avoid private indoor and outdoor gatherings
- avoid non-essential travel
- avoid non-essential shopping and dining
- wear a mask when in public (indoor or outdoor)