Austin, Texas – COVID-19 cases are still rising in Austin-Travis County and across the state and country. If you and members of your household have traveled recently or participated in higher-risk activities during Thanksgiving, Austin Public Health (APH) has published guidelines to slow the spread of disease. These guidelines are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising locally, across Texas and the United States," said Stephanie Hayden, Austin Public Health Director. "It is critically important that everyone do their part to combat COVID-19 by avoiding gatherings and travel this holiday season. Do not gather with people that you do not live with during the holiday season, avoid high risk activities and stay home as much as possible. Those who have already gathered or traveled need to make sure that they take the proper precautions to stay safe."
Higher-risk holiday activities include attending crowded, indoor gatherings, going on crowded hayrides with non-household members, participating in traditional caroling or other door-to-door activities, and traveling outside of your community for gatherings and events.
If you participated in these Thanksgiving activities, you should:
Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.
If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
You can sign up for a COVID-19 test through APH at austintexas.gov/covid19.
If you don't get tested, it's safest to stay home for 14 days after gathering or traveling.
APH 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; more information can be found at AustinTexas.gov/Covid-TestInfo. 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.).
Last week, Austin-Travis County moved to Stage 4 on the COVID-19 risk-based guidelines. Click here to view the chart. 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.
"Additional holidays are around the corner; if people still plan to travel despite public health risk guidance, they should consider the 3 'C's; wear a face Covering, avoid Crowds, and decrease your time in Confined areas," said Janet Pichette, Chief Epidemiologist for Austin-Travis County. "We must do our part in the community to keep our families and each other safe."
For COVID-19 information and updates, visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.