AUSTIN, Texas - It appears all the physical distancing, mask-wearing, and hand washing is paying off.
"We've done a great job over the past couple of weeks in flattening the curve. The curve is continuing to flatten. We are seeing a decline in our hospital numbers and ICU numbers," said Austin Public Health interim health authority Dr. Mark Escott.
The decline is a crucial step in getting ahead of COVID-19 as public health officials clamor to get everyone vaccinated in the phase 1a and 1b groups.
"As of yesterday Austin Public Health has provided 18,427 vaccines to our Austin and Travis County community," said APH director Stephanie Hayden-Howard.
For people who are 65 years and older, Hayden-Howard said 129,438 of them fall into the eligible group, much less than the number of doses APH has available.
"We don't have enough vaccine for our community. We are asking you to be patient with us," said Hayden-Howard.
As officials across the state work to get shots in arms, there are continuous concerns about vaccine access for the groups hardest hit by COVID-19.
"Texas is doing a relatively good job with this group that is ready and willing right now. We've vaccinated more people than any other state. We still need to make sure there aren't as many long lines and those who want it are able to get it in short order," said Dr. Bob Sanborn, EdD.
Sanborn has partnered with other community leaders to study the vaccine rollout. He is not only concerned about access but hopes health departments can earn trust.
"We still know there are a lot of African-Americans that are hesitant. We know the Latino population is a bit more hesitant around the coronavirus vaccine," said Sanborn.
Escott said the community is doing a good job, but it will take more than flattening to beat COVID-19...the numbers will need to plummet.
"We need to move the flattening into a decline so we can move resources away from caring for people in the hospital and building additional ICU space, into the vaccine effort," said Escott.