AUSTIN, Texas - Austin-Travis County is using the Warn Central Texas system this afternoon to send an emergency alert to residents about the COVID-19 situation ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Warn Central Texas is the regional emergency notification system used across Central Texas to alert people during emergencies or other public safety events. Residents need to register cell phones and email addresses with Warn Central Texas to receive alerts. Landline phones are automatically opted into the system. To register, visit WarnCentralTexas.org. The message will be sent in English and Spanish.
Officials say cases and hospitalizations are rising in the area and across Texas. They say the message is a critical reminder to the community that everyone must do their part to combat COVID-19.
Austinites are being asked not to gather with people they don’t live with during the Thanksgiving holiday. Additionally, the public is told 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.
“I know we want to celebrate; I know we want to get together with our families; I know we want to do the things we normally do, but now is not the time for that,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority, in a news release. “Now is the time we have to be strong together by only gathering within our own household.”
Last week Austin-Travis County moved to Stage 4 on the COVID-19 risk-based guidelines. Additional protective measures are recommended for people at higher risk, namely those aged over 65 or people with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, obesity, or those who are otherwise immunocompromised.
Austin Public Health says it has more than enough capacity for free COVID-19 testing. Individuals can take an assessment online and see if they need to be tested by visiting AustinTexas.gov/COVID19 and clicking “take a self-assessment".
Walk up testing is also available and you can get more information at AustinTexas.gov/Covid-TestInfo. However, all Austin Public Health COVID-19 test sites will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26.
The Ana Lark Center test site, located at 1400 Tillery Street, Austin, TX 78721, will be the only COVID-19 test site open on Friday, Nov. 27 (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).