AUSTIN, Texas - It's news that Central Texans are delighted to hear, new COVID-19 cases are on the decline.
“I'm proud of Austin and Travis County and Central Texas who have been very effective at putting a lid back on this and flattening the curve,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority.
Austin Public Health released a risk-based guidelines chart earlier in the pandemic outlining the different risk stages. Right now we have been in stage four, since late June. But our current 7-day moving average of hospital admissions met requirements that would allow us to drop to stage three, but the city isn't doing that yet.
“Right now our ICU's are still full. There are not extra room in the ICU's,” said Escott.
Escott said the ICU's are operating under a surge plan. We reached out to the city which told us the ICU’s are at 83 percent capacity, with 27 percent of them occupied by COVID-19 patients they say that is full, considering they still must provide room for emergency patients.
“We need to be out of surge condition in the ICU's, we need to have some buffer. We need folks to be able to have elective surgeries again and we need our rate of positivity to drop further,” he said.
The Austin economy is still taking a hit because of the coronavirus. Some businesses are operating on a limited capacity and bars have shuttered.
“I don't think there is any practical way to mitigate the risk of face to face spread in a bar,” said Escott.
Bob Cartwright is working with business owners to help create safe working environments throughout Austin and the state.
“I heard the CEO of Bangers talking about how much money he already lost, but he wasn't going to subject folks to a situation where they were going to get sick. That is highly admirable,” said Cartwright.
Amenities like parks could open soon.
“As the situation improves we will continue to look at those various amenities and it is likely we will start with the lowest risk amenities,” said Escott.
The virus will not be gone for a while...health officials hope Austin can continue flattening the curve. Escott believes we could move to stage three within a couple of weeks.
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.