Austin enters final Stage 5 in risk-based coronavirus guidelines

KVUE – The city of Austin officially reached level 5 of its risk-based COVID-19 guidelines on Wednesday December 23, marking the final and strictest level of recommendations.

It did so after the area crossed the hospital-hospital threshold on December 21 with a seven-day rolling average of 50.1. Travis County’s health officials previously said they would consider moving to the next tier once that metric climbed above 50.

While hospital stays were an important factor, other metrics that play a role in exercise phases include the number of people in the intensive care unit, the number of ventilators used, the positivity rate, and the 7-day moving average of new cases.

On December 22, Provisional Medical Director and Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott, Austin Public Health, will monitor trends for a few days before making the call to move from level 4 to level 5.

Phase 5 advises everyone to avoid all gatherings with anyone outside of your household and to avoid personal dining and shopping. Businesses, including restaurants, are also advised to only use contactless options such as curb and delivery.

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