AUSTIN, Texas - Austin-Travis County officials provided an update on the area's COVID-19 response Monday.
Interim Travis County Health Authority Mark Escott, Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt are pushing Austin residents to continue to follow the city’s current “stay home, work safe orders.” The orders are to avoid gatherings, observe social distancing and wear face coverings.
“The efforts that have to continue is that social distancing, it’s that personal hygiene, it’s that washing your hands and not touching your face, it’s the facial covering,” said Escott.
Efforts, Mayor Adler says, that many Austinites failed to put forth this weekend. “I am here today to raise a big yellow warning flag. It’s a warning flag because I am concerned that what I saw this weekend is gonna lead us to a place where we’re gonna overshoot where we’re trying to get to.” Adler said.
Over the weekend, multiple Travis County parks closed, because there were too many visitors. “We will absolutely close parks if we see capacity,” Eckhardt said.
Adler says hospital space in Austin is ample, and Escott says Travis County testing numbers appear to show improvement.
“Of those that we have results back already, the positive rate has dropped to about 2.5 percent so that’s as opposed to you know a week or two ago when we were talking about 9, to 10, to 12 percent positive. So, that is an indication that we are continuing to do well," Escott said.
Still, Eckhart describes the happenings as a “parachute” the area has built and “should not let go of.”
Later this week, the city is expected to extend its “stay home, work safe” orders with modifications to comply with orders issued by the governor last week.
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 7 Austin News app. It is FREE!
“It’s important to understand this didn’t just happen by magic,” Escott said.
Adler says the penalty for not wearing a mask is different now. "Now the penalty for not wearing a mask is that more people are going to get infected and some people are going to die, so the penalty is different now," Adler said. "I'm hoping that people will take this particular penalty very seriously."
This comes as Texas is re-opening its economy, something that many Austin-Travis County leaders have expressed concerns about. "I think people maybe have the wrong impression as I look around and drive around I think people may be going too far," Adler said.
Texas is currently experiencing a spike in COVID-19 related cases and deaths, a spike that began before the state re-opened the economy.
WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 12 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.