AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the Austin-Travis County region continues to report higher volumes of COVID-19 cases, Austin Public Health leaders announced Thursday the virus’ positivity rate now tops 20%.

As of June 10, Travis County has a recorded 20.8% positivity rate, or the percentage of submitted COVID-19 tests coming back positive. This latest dataset follows earlier warnings from APH leaders that the area’s positivity rate was nearing Omicron levels during the winter surge.

June 10 data from Austin-Travis County reported nearly 3,100 new cases over the past seven-day timespan. Collectively, nearly 263,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Travis County as of June 10.

Those case counts follow the first confirmation of the latest Omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5 sub-lineages, found in Austin. Noted as highly transmissible and responsible for mild illness, officials said “these virus variants can quickly infect unvaccinated and medically vulnerable populations.”

Despite increasing reported cases, APH officials cautioned the number of reported positive cases isn’t representative of the current COVID landscape. Heightened use of rapid at-home tests have led to underreported figures both locally and at the state and federal level.

At-home tests can be reported to APH online.

What measures does the CDC recommend for low risk level communities?

In its memo Thursday, Travis County officials said the region was classified at a medium COVID-19 community risk level under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention metrics. Hours later, APH announced in a tweet the area had dropped down to a low risk level.

The following preventative measures are recommended under a low risk level:

  • Remain up to date on COVID vaccines, boosters
  • Follow CDC recommended guidelines for isolations, quarantines and get tested if exposed to COVID-19 or developing symptoms of COVID-19
  • Keep at-home tests available if immunocompromised or high risk
  • Talk to healthcare providers about eligibility for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP and monoclonal antibodies if immunocompromised or high risk

“At the Medium COVID-19 Community level, those who are not vaccinated or have not received their
boosters should mask indoors with people outside their household,” the APH memo read. “Everyone is encouraged to get their vaccinations up to date to protect themselves against COVID-19 and its variants.”

Fully vaccinated and boosted people who live with at-risk individuals are recommended to maintain social distancing and masking in indoor settings to mitigate community transmissions, given the transmissibility of the Omicron variants.

Large majority of breakthrough cases are symptomatic

APH reports more than 60,000 breakthrough cases have been reported in the region, 86% are symptomatic.

COVID-19 reinfections, or repeat positive tests more than 90 days after an initial positive, have been reported as follows:

  • Ages 0-9: 121 women; 157 men, 278 total
  • Ages 10-19: 283 women; 188 men; 1 unknown; 472 total
  • Ages 20-29: 950 women; 587 men; 11 unknown; 1,548 total
  • Ages 30-39: 815 women; 529 men; 8 unknown; 1352 total
  • Ages 40-49: 523 women; 315 men; 1 unknown; 839 total
  • Ages 50-59: 318 women; 214 men; 1 unknown; 533 total
  • Ages 60-69: 130 women; 116 men; 246 total
  • Ages 70-79: 51 women; 45 men; 1 unknown; 97 total
  • Ages 80 and older: 46 women; 19 men; 65 total

Hospital admissions take a slight decline

As of June 13, 62 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Austin-Travis County medical network, down from a high of 71 June 10. Officials said many people hospitalized with COVID-19 are medically vulnerable and have comorbidities.

Which age group is seeing the highest increase in cases?

While there has been a week-over-week case increase in all age ranges, officials noted the highest increase was reported among individuals ages 20 to 29.