AUSTIN, Texas - Masks have become a part of daily life in Central Texas and around the country. Despite an aggressive vaccination rollout, the local health authority says masks may stick around for a while longer.
The rules for masking may change very soon, but getting rid of them completely right now? Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott with APH said that's not a great idea.
"Masking may not look the same between now and the fall. It may be less restrictive. It may be for certain situations," he said.
In his weekly update, he also mentioned concern over the upcoming Easter weekend, when families are known to gather. "We are at a time where we have to be careful. I was hoping that we'd be done with this by now but we're not. If you’re a high-risk individual or you live in a household with a person who is high-risk for severe disease, you should stay home and do virtual church," said Escott.
If you do decide to attend church, APH recommends heavily following the guidelines we are all so used to hearing.
"Mask, wash your hands and continue to practice social distancing," said Adrienne Sturrup, assistant director for health equity and community engagement.
Numbers remain flat in Travis County right now, but APH is paying close attention to spring break numbers and holiday numbers after this weekend. If things trend downward, there is a chance we could move to stage two risk-based guidelines relatively soon.
"It is certainly possible by the third week in April we could be at stage 2," said Escott.
Ultimately, getting the vaccine into as many arms as possible is the main mission with the goal of achieving herd immunity.
"We have vaccinated over 180,000 individuals just with Austin Public Health alone. The sooner we all get vaccinated and we all can be protected, we can get back to our normal scenario," said Cassandra DeLeon, chief administrative officer for disease and health promotion.