Specifically, APH has updated the threshold between Stage 3 and Stage 4.
The primary indicator for APH's staging thresholds is the 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions. Previously, Stage Three's threshold was 15 to 29. Now, the upper-end of the Stage Three threshold has been dropped to 24.
Why has APH updated the staging thresholds?
While the primary indicator for APH's staging thresholds is new hospital admissions, additional indicators are looked to for stage changes, including seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions, positivity rate, the doubling time of new cases, and current ICU and ventilator patients.
On Dec. 16, the COVID-19 Modeling Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin released a report detailing the emergence of omicron in the United States. One model shows hospitals could face record numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths--surpassing all previous peaks--if substantive behavioral changes aren’t made to reduce the spread of the virus.
With this information in hand, APH is updating its staging thresholds for the 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions as follows:
- Stage 1 – 0-4
- Stage 2 – 5-14
- Stage 3 – 15-24 (Previously 15-29
- Stage 4 – 25-50
- Stage 5 - 50<
What stage is Austin-Travis County currently in?
Austin-Travis County is currently in Stage 3 of Risk-Based Guidelines.
Stage 3 recommendations include the following:
- Fully vaccinated low-risk individuals should wear masks indoors in gatherings with people outside your household and while traveling.
- Fully vaccinated high-risk individuals should wear masks indoors in gatherings with people outside your household, while traveling, while dining, and while shopping.
- Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated low-risk individuals should wear masks in all situations and get fully vaccinated.
- Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated high-risk individuals should avoid activities unless essential and get fully vaccinated
In a press conference held on Tuesday, APH officials addressed concerns over the omicron variant's impact on holiday gatherings and a potential lockdown.
"There is no discussion about having a lockdown at this point in time," the City of Austin's Medical Director/Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said. "We are asking our community to stand up and fight with us. We're asking you to wear a mask, we're asking you to get vaccinated, we're asking you to get tested."
APH is asking that Austin residents continue to wear masks while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
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