AUSTIN, Texas - Officials continue to urge people to follow social distancing and other guidelines as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased over the weekend.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler spoke to FOX 7 Austin and says that the sudden rise in cases is the effect of more testing being done.
The rise in cases comes after Austin and Travis County officials extended the Stay Home, Work Safe orders on May 8 which was the original date the orders were set to expire.
The orders now go through May 30 for Austin and June 15 for the county with exceptions from Governor Greg Abbott.
Mayor Adler says one of his main concerns is that people are not wearing face coverings despite it still being mandatory in the city orders. He concedes though that the city cannot enforce face coverings with a criminal or civil penalty.
"The penalty now is that more people will get sick and some of them will die," Adler says.
Adler says to prevent any rollback in the economy reopening, people should still stay home unless it's for something essential or a reopened business.
"Right now with our stay at home we were able to reduce the infection rate by 94% but if we drop too far in opening up then yes we will see another spike and we are going to have to toggle back or even toggle off," Adler says. "It is really important still at this time that people avoid large gatherings. That's both in our order and in the governor's order."
Governor Abbott continues to roll out his plan to get the Texas economy back up and running and phase two began on May 8. Hair salons, nail salons, barbershops, and tanning salons across the state were allowed to reopen. The next phase is expected to begin on May 18 and that's when gyms and bars will be allowed to reopen.
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.