Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Austin-Travis County Enters Stage 2 for the First Time in the Pandemic

Risk-Based Guidelines revised for those who are fully vaccinated 

Austin, Texas -- Austin-Travis County is moving to Stage 2 of the Austin Public Health (APH) COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Stage 2 recommendations include the following:   

  • Fully vaccinated individuals can participate in indoor and outdoor private gatherings and dine and shop without precautions if allowed by the business. 
  • Partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals can participate in indoor and outdoor private gatherings and dine and shop with precautions. 
  • Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, can travel with precautions. 

The Risk-Based Guidelines are not changes to local Rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines for individual actions and behaviors based on levels of risk of exposure in the community. It is important to note that everyone should continue to follow any additional requirements of local businesses, venues and, schools regardless of vaccination status or stage.   

While APH monitors the 7-day moving average of COVID-19 new hospital admissions as the primary key indicator for the Risk-Based Guidelines, additional key indicators, including positivity rate, the doubling time of new cases and, current ICU and ventilator patients, are monitored to determine the current staging. All of these indicators are moving in the right direction.  

"As we start to progress toward the final stages of the pandemic, we are breaking down our Metropolitan Statistical Area hospital data which shows an increasing percentage of admissions from outside this area and that our local admissions are even lower than we thought," said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. "Austin-Travis County residents have made great strides in getting vaccinated and taking precautionary measures to reduce spread, and the data reflects that. I want to thank our residents for their efforts – they are paying off." 

Some revisions have also been made to the Risk-Based Guidelines chart, following updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Under the new Guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals may: 

  • Participate in indoor or outdoor private gatherings and dine or shop without precautions in Stages 1-3 if allowed by businesses 
  • Participate in indoor or outdoor private gatherings and dine or shop with precautions in Stages 4-5. 
  • Travel with precautions in Stages 1-5. 

The recommendations for partially or unvaccinated individuals have not changed. Additionally, residents are reminded that wearing a mask, even when fully vaccinated, is an effective tool to reduce spread of many respiratory illness.  

"Our vaccination efforts are working," APH Interim Director Adrienne Sturrup said. "There is sufficient supply for everyone in our community to get vaccinated and we certainly encourage those who have not taken advantage of this opportunity to do so now so you can head into summer safely." 

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently authorized for those aged 18 and up. The Pfizer vaccine is currently authorized for those aged 12 and up. Individuals can receive the Moderna vaccine through APH or find additional vaccine providers in your area at Vaccines.gov.  

For additional COVID-19 information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.