Officials say that this change comes as the area is seeing a decline in infections and an improved Community Transmission Rate (CTR), but health officials are still encouraging residents to mask up, social distance and stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Stage 4 recommendations include the following:
Fully vaccinated and/or boosted individuals should:
- wear masks when gathering with people outside of their household, traveling, dining and shopping.
Partially or unvaccinated individuals and those who need their booster dose should:
- wear masks
- avoid gatherings with people outside of their household
- only travel and shop if essential
- hoose takeaway/curbside options for dining
- get fully vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible
Austin Public Health (APH) says that the COVID-19 omicron outbreak peaked in January. Among those who tested with APH, as many as 1 in 3 COVID-19 tests were positive. This spike led to widespread staffing shortages and an influx of infection among children.
APH monitors several key indicators to determine staging. Key factors include the seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions, positivity rate and CTR.
The Risk-Based Guidelines correlate with five distinct stages of risk for Austin-Travis County and are not changes to local rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines and recommendations for individual actions and behaviors based on levels of risk of exposure in the community, says APH. Everyone should continue to follow any additional requirements put in place by local businesses, venues and schools regardless of stage or an individual's vaccination status.
This week a laboratory confirmed Austin-Travis County’s first case of the BA.2 subvariant of omicron, says APH. Research indicates that the BA.2 subvariant is 39% more transmissible than omicron, however, getting vaccinated and boosted once eligible still offers the best protection from COVID-19 and its current variants.
APH vaccine and testing information
APH clinics offer COVID-19 vaccinations and testing without appointment, although creating an account online in advance saves time. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 or go online.
Those who are asymptomatic or experiencing minor symptoms may inquire about testing options by calling 2-1-1 or 877-541-7905, or by visiting 211texas.org.
Austin-Travis County COVID numbers trending downward, APH provides update
Austin Public Health consolidating COVID-19 testing sites
US health officials hint COVID-19 moving closer to no longer being a 'constant crisis'
Where can I get a COVID vaccine or booster shot in Travis County?
DOWNLOAD: FOX 7 AUSTIN NEWS APP
SUBSCRIBE: Daily Newsletter | YouTube
FOLLOW: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter