AUSTIN, Texas - There is a concerning trend that is materializing in Austin and Travis County.
“We've had a significant increase in our active cases. We are now over 1,000 active cases in Travis County,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority, Austin Public Health.
Austin Public Health said this is the highest number of reported of active cases since Aug.15. Active, means these people are positive and contagious.
“We had been in the range of 650 to 750 for quite some time. But that number has increased by about 55 percent in the past 30 days. We all have to be cognizant of the fact that there is more disease out there than there has been and we all have to be a little more careful,” said Escott.
Doctor Escott has seen this before and knows where this trend could go. “It is also similar to the number of active cases we saw right before our sudden surge in the middle of June,” he said.
Austin Public Health said those who recently participated in a gathering have a higher risk of running into someone who was infected. They encourage all who attended gatherings, including Halloween parties to get tested.
“The numbers we are seeing now are probably pre-Halloween numbers. We can expect cases will become symptomatic 5 to 7 days after that exposure,” said Escott.
Escott said the Halloween numbers might start coming in within the week. The state reported more than 8,000 cases for Thursday, a reminder the virus is still with us. To add to that, doctors at the University of Texas Dell Medical School have been studying long-term effects for some patients...and they are grim.
“In the long term, it can lead to cardiomyopathy. In some of these patients not hospitalized it might be silent, predisposed to sudden death,” said Dr. Rama Thyagarajan, M.D.
Doctors also said some patients experience neurologic, pulmonary, and mental health complications, but this isn't the case for all. To fight the virus, Escott hopes Austin can prevent a surge, by not getting too comfortable.
“Now is the time for us to act,” said Escott.