AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Public Health says Travis County has seen a plateau in cases, but now is not the time to let up.
"Now is not the time to dance," said Interim Austin Public Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott. "Now is the time to remain cautious. Again, we are pleased that the numbers aren't going up, but they haven't gone down very much yet."
While there have been local improvements made, state-wide there are areas that are still seeing spikes.
"We are part of a larger Texas community," Escott said. "While our neighbors and friends are facing surge, it may create surge for outside of Austin/Travis County."
On Tuesday, Travis County saw more than 600 new positive cases of COVID-19. Escott said this could partially be due to a testing lag over the weekend.
Austin Public Health Director Stephanie Hayden said that even though APH is testing mainly those who are experiencing symptoms, they have tested people who are asymptomatic.
"We have tested symptomatic patients as well as patients who have a credible exposure," said Hayden. "Sometimes that does include testing an asymptomatic patient because of their exposure to a COVID-positive individuals."
Escott said testing has not has an impact on the number of cases, "I think the case numbers are really going down."
Escott said this is based on the plateau and the decrease in hospitalizations. He added that last week APH conducted a record number of testing: 6,000 tests.
He also talked about resources that the county has in place. For example, the convention center that would serve as an alternative care site.
"So that ACS does provide that buffer if we need it, but our hope is we never have to see one patient there," Escott said.
Health officials also discussed the impact COVID-19 could have on younger populations.
Epidemiologist Janet Pichette said the virus can, "hide in the healthy" and it is important to protect multi-generational households.
In Travis County, there have been more than 480 COVID-19 cases for children ages 1-9 since the beginning of the pandemic. Escott says early on they saw a spike in hospitalizations.
"We know from our data set in March and April that the hospitalization rate for that age group was much higher: 4% compared to 1.5% for older children,” Escott said.” But, there is also new evidence on transmission that suggests those children younger than nine may be less effective transmitters of disease than those children who are 10 and older."
Travis County is currently in Stage 4, Escott said even if that goes down, things may not go back to normal right away.
"Even if we get to stage three or stage two or stage one, it’s not over," he said. "We have to continue the efforts until we have a vaccine that is widely available to the public."
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.