AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Public Health is paying attention to a troubling trend in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Because of this, the city and county are now in stage four in their response to the disease.
The key indicator was an increase in the seven-day average in hospital admissions.
“Our concern was that our primary indicator for staging, the new hospital admissions was heading toward 20. That happened last night. The new admissions last week was 144 during that week period which was a 58 percent increase as compared to the previous week,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority.
The hospitalization average sits at 20.6 as of Monday. The health authority is not concerned about capacity right now but in the next month. “The hospitals are in good shape right now. We are not talking to you today because there is an impending threat in the next week or two weeks that hospitals will be overrun,” said Escott.
“With passing 20 yesterday we are getting that first early warning sign this virus is still here, it's coming at us,” said Mayor Steve Adler.
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The conversation right now is about what Austinites can do to flatten this new curve.
“On our current path, more people are going to get sick and die. That would happen if we don’t wear face coverings and maintain six-feet distancing,” said Adler.
The mayor is extending the stay-at-home order with another provision for businesses. The Travis County order expires August 15.
“The new section says while the city of Austin is in stage four or higher, all businesses reopened by the governor's executive order are strongly encouraged to operate at minimal indoor capacity, 25 percent or below, and to provide services remotely or in a manner maximizing social distancing as much as possible,” said Adler, quoting the order.
Even with the governor's order superseding city orders, the mayor says ultimately it is each community's personal responsibility to keep one another safe. “The governor will decide what the governor does but as a community, we get to decide what we do. Everyone on their own gets to decide on their own if they wear a mask or not,” he said.
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