AUSTIN, Texas - On July 1, Austin-Travis County will use the "Warn Central Texas" system to send an emergency alert to residents about the current COVID-19 situation.
The county says the alert will remind residents to practice good hygiene and to celebrate the 4th of July safely.
"The public needs to stay home as much as possible, wash their hands, and when in public wear a face covering and remain six feet apart from others. It is also important that all residents celebrate the 4th of July safely. Austin Public Health is asking that everyone avoid gathering with anyone outside their household this weekend," the county wrote in a press release.
Officials say the message is a "critical reminder" to the community about the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases. The county says there has been a 400% increase in hospitalizations and an approximately 370% increase in cases of COVID-19 in the area.
“I know we want to celebrate; I know we want to get together with our families; I know we want to have firework shows and barbecue and do the things we normally do, but now is not the time for that,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Health Authority for Austin Public Health. “Now is the time we have to be strong together by staying home, by doing things within our own household, by watching the fireworks on TV.”
The increase in cases has prompted the City of Austin to close all parks and recreational facilities from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5. The closures include all city parks and recreational facilities.
"Warn Central Texas" is a regional emergency notification system used across the region to alert people during emergencies and public safety events. Residents need to register cell phones and email addresses to the system while land-lines have automatically opted into the system. Click here to sign up for the alert system.
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