Hospitalizations and deaths have spiked as the highly contagious delta variant spread rapidly among the unvaccinated. According to the Texas Department of Health Services, 31.91% of eligible Austin-Travis County residents are currently NOT fully vaccinated.
"Almost all of our recent deaths are unvaccinated," said Interim Austin Public Health Director Adrienne Sturrup. "When you get vaccinated, you are showing your kids leadership. When you wear a mask, you are teaching them to respect being a part of the collective community. You are instilling values they will carry with them throughout their lives."
Local deaths range in age from people as young as 20 to over 80 years of age.
Deaths were concentrated among those over 60 years old, according to Austin Public Health, although the delta variant produced a troubling increase in hospitalizations and life support among children and young adults.
Vaccinations continue to be the most effective available tool to prevent severe illness, death, and to stop the spread and mutation of COVID-19 and its variants. Residents can locate providers in their area using Vaccines.gov or they can text their zip code to 438829 (822862 in Spanish) to find a nearby clinic.
"With more cases comes more deaths and while symptoms may be insignificant to you, not wearing a mask, not social distancing, and not staying home when sick, are contributing to the spread that will eventually reach a loved one who dies," said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. "We need to work together as individuals to survive as a community."