Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Austin-Travis County moves to Stage 2 of Risk-Based Guidelines, March 4, 2022


APH still recommends taking precautions indoors during spring break and festival season 

*Note: APH has English/Spanish media availability this afternoon. Email aphmedia@austintexas.gov to schedule an interview.

Thanks to continued progress, Austin-Travis County moves to Stage 2 of the area’s Risk-Based Guidelines today. Key indicators continue to improve following the record-breaking COVID-19 omicron outbreak which peaked in January. 

The Community Transmission Rate is down to 59 from well over 1,000 earlier this year. The 7-day moving average of hospital admissions is below the Stage 2 threshold at 14. The first time Austin-Travis County progressed to Stage 2 was in May 2021. The area re-entered Stage 3 within two months as the delta wave took hold. 

“Let’s hope this spring marks the beginning of a brighter, healthier future,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “While we enjoy this moment, don’t forget about those who are still at risk. You can always wear a mask to protect yourself and those around you.” 

Austin Public Health (APH) continues to monitor key indicators and track infections in schools and areas with lower vaccination rates. APH, elected leaders and our health care partners are encouraged by the marked decline in infections and hospitalizations, especially preceding such a busy season. Many people in Austin-Travis County who are eligible for booster doses still aren’t up to date, though.  

“Choosing to wear a mask is always an option,” said Adrienne Sturrup, Austin Public Health director. “We encourage taking proven preventive measures to minimize personal risk.” 

Last month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced updated recommendations with a caveat for communities facing unique circumstances. Thousands of people will travel to and through Austin-Travis County in the coming weeks for the Spring Festival Season and spring break. With these unique circumstances in mind, APH recommends that our communities wear masks indoors, especially when social distancing is not possible, until March 20, 2022. 

“We got vaccinated. We got boosted. Now we get to spend more time in more places with family, friends and community,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown. “Thanks to everyone who helped make this happen--from our neighbors to our nurses, and the partner organizations who are still taking the extra precautions to keep our community safe. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating and supporting our local economy by grabbing a bite at your favorite local restaurant before the SXSW crowd takes over.”

“Excited and relieved to see virus numbers coming down to Stage 2—we've all worked so hard! Over the next couple weeks, however, tens of thousands of guests from around the world will visit Austin for our spring festivals. SXSW will honor their long-standing commitment to keep participants as safe as possible. We can support them by also masking indoors until SXSW concludes on March 20th—it's just 2 weeks." 

Stage 2 Guidelines: 

  • Up to date individuals may participate in indoor or outdoor private gatherings, dine and shop without precautions. Travel with precautions.  

  • Partially or unvaccinated individuals should take preventive measures: wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance.

APH testing and vaccination information   

People can find vaccine providers using Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish) or by texting their zip code to 438829 (822862 in Spanish) to find a nearby clinic.     

APH clinics offer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations without an appointment, although creating an account online in advance saves time. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 or visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.   

The APH Mobile Vaccination Program brings vaccine clinics to businesses, churches and more. Organizations can fill out an online form to request a pop-up clinic at their location.

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