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Austin, Texas – – In a press release on Saturday, Austin-Travis County announced that it will move to Stage 3 of the Austin public health guidelines for COVID-19 for the first time since November 18, 2020.
According to the APH, the recommendations for level 3 include the following:
- Keep wearing a mask, distance yourself, and practice good hygiene.
- Those at higher risk (those over 65 and those with chronic illnesses) should avoid unnecessary eating, shopping, and travel.
- Everyone should continue to avoid gatherings with social groups over 10.
- Companies and restaurants work voluntarily with a reduced capacity of 50-75%.
“We are seeing more and more people being vaccinated as the supply in our area continues to expand,” said Stephanie Hayden-Howard, director of APH. “Our most vulnerable are being protected and we hope our numbers will continue to decline because of this, but it remains important to continue all preventive measures.”
Director Hayden-Howard added, “We didn’t come here by accident. We know that our personal behavior has played a huge role in protecting our loved ones and the community. We hope we will remember this with the spring break and the holidays ahead.” what drove us to this phase and what it takes to continue protecting us. “
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According to the APH, the risk-based guidelines are not changes to local regulations and rules or regulations for companies. They are guidelines for individual actions and behaviors based on the exposure risk in the community.
Risk level recommendations differ for those who are at a higher risk of serious complications and death from COVID-19.
While APH states that it monitors the 7-day moving average of new COVID-19 hospital admissions as the main key indicator for the risk-based guidelines, additional key indicators such as the positivity rate, the doubling time of new cases, and current ICU and ventilator patients are used to monitor determine the current deployment.
According to the APH, all of these indicators are moving in the right direction.
“We have managed to reduce the risk of transmission in our community, but the virus that causes COVID-19 is still present and variants continue to occur,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority. “Today’s action is a conscious and measured step to loosen the data and science-based leadership. However, we must continue to mask, physically distance ourselves from others, and wash our hands frequently. If we continue with these simple measures, we will continue to see falls and avoid a fatal third surge. ”