AUSTIN, Texas - In Travis County, the number of COVID-19 cases seems to differ greatly depending on zip code.
Currently, according to the Austin/Travis County COVID-19 dashboard, South Austin shows larger outbreaks, especially the 78748 zip code. There, 71 people were confirmed to have the virus as of 6 pm Tuesday. That’s more than any other zip code in Travis county.
Austin Public Health officials said that doesn’t necessarily mean that community is at a higher risk of infection.
“It’s important to remember that the zip codes represented are the zip code where individuals live, not where they may have been exposed. It’s difficult. It’s going to differ between various circumstances whether or not they were exposed in the same zip code as they live,” said Dr. Mark Escott, interim health authority for the City of Austin.
“We’re going to be talking, later on this week, about cluster investigations and we will be providing a weekly report on cluster investigations so that the community can have some awareness of those things that we’re investigating,” Escott added.
From March 4 to April 13, Austin 3-1-1 received more than 15,000 reports related to COVID-19. More than 2,200 of them were regarding exposure concerns. Austin Public Health said it’s difficult to determine exposure risk.
“The percentage of individuals that are asymptomatic that have the ability to spread is larger than we thought it was,” Escott said.
“We also have increasing evidence that, early on in the disease, when people are asymptomatic or they have mild symptoms may be in fact the time when they are most infectious,” he added.
Still, the Public Health Department said they believe releasing information on clusters found within the county will be helpful for communities, especially those with a higher risk of COVID-19 complications.
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“We still have to protect the privacy of individuals associated with COVID-19, as anyone would expect in the community, but we will intend to share that once a week to provide the community with those updates so they can be aware and they can respond appropriately,” said Escott.
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