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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Austin-Travis County leads stage 4 COVID-19 risk-based guidelines

AUSTIN (KXAN) – As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise in Austin-Travis County, health leaders are officially moving the region to Stage 4 guidelines.

For those who have been fully vaccinated, the Stage 4 guidelines recommend wearing a mask in all situations, even when gathering outside. For those who haven’t been fully vaccinated, it recommends eliminating travel and only dining or shopping through takeout or curbside service.

The move to Stage 4 follows an increase in community transmission rates, hospitalizations and county positivity rates, metrics used to inform risk-based guidelines. It also occurs after holiday gatherings and before New Year’s Eve celebrations.

When asked last week about New Year’s Eve fireworks organized by the city of Austin, the local health authority said they would go according to plan but they expect people not to gather to watch the show.

“It’s to be seen from afar, there are no plans to assemble, there are no vendors, no bands,” Vaux said. “We’re hoping people can see it from their vehicles or people in the downtown area can see it from their windows.”

Testing sites around Austin-Travis County have seen lines that are, in some cases, hundreds of cars, when health leaders asked people to get tested before and after holiday travel and gatherings. Testing professionals told KXAN that the positivity rate and case numbers in Austin are likely to be higher than ever recorded because of the popularity of home tests right now.

Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 described their symptoms to KXAN as being allergic, with others saying they had a fever and experienced difficulty breathing.

“If you have any symptoms don’t write it down,” Ana Lopez, a central Texas woman who’s been vaccinated, got her booster shot and tested positive for COVID-19 last week, said. “We’re not out of the woods so please use some discretion.”

Covid-19 Risk-Based Guidelines Chart
Courtesy Austin Public Health

The CDC six-state territory Texas is reporting about 90% of cases are Omicrons. The test you’d do at a pharmacy or drive-thru site while you’re at it doesn’t tell you which version you have, and only tells you whether you have COVID-19, says Austin Public Health. and working with national partners. Sequence test local cases.

He said it’s safe to assume that the Omicron variant is currently being increasingly community-transmitted in Central Texas.

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed to the virus, here is a list of places to get a COVID-19 test in Austin.

World Nation News Desk
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