Austin-Travis County gives update on COVID-19 public health efforts

Austin-Travis County officials have provided an update on COVID-19 public health efforts.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and interim public health authority Dr. Mark Escott discussed preliminary COVID-19 modeling data from UT Austin at a news conference this afternoon.

The modeling data comes from a pandemic-planning tool that was developed at UT Austin in 2012.  

According to the school, the pandemic modeler who developed the toolkit is now studying COVID-19 has built a new model to project the spread coronavirus. 

"Initial simulations of the spread of COVID-19 in the area, using UT’s pandemic model, showed that reducing daily contacts in the community by 50% – or even 75% – may not be sufficient to prevent an unmanageable surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the five-county area," a press release from the school said. 

The model instead suggests that reducing daily contacts between people by 90% would "flatten the curve" enough to ensure resources would be available in the Austin-Round Rock area during the outbreak. 

“The takeaway from this analysis is that the extent of social distancing measures and our willingness to adhere to them will directly impact not only the fate of the outbreak but also our capacity to provide life-saving health care for those in need,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor of integrative biology and statistics and data sciences who prepared the initial results.

The new models are intended to both guide planning in advance of future pandemics and provide a rapid analysis to help real-time decision-making during emergency situations. 

RELATED: Travis, Williamson Counties are under stay-at-home orders.


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