AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin-Travis County leaders said on Wednesday at least four delta variant cases of the coronavirus were detected in the community.
This comes after neighboring Williamson County confirmed at least three delta cases late last month. Because the counties share a border, health officials previously said it would not be surprising if the variant popped up in Travis County.
“We do know that it is in Central Texas, and many counties have confirmed cases, so we assume that we do have it here, and that’s particularly evident in that our case numbers are starting to rise,” Dr. Desmar Walkes, the Austin-Travis County health authority, said this week.
Medical experts in Texas predict the delta variant could soon become the dominant variant of COVID-19 in Texas, as it is more transmissible.
“It appears to be something like 60% more transmissible than the U.K. variant we were talking about, which was already more transmissible than the original COVID variant,” Dr. Rodney Young with Texas Tech Physicians previously told KXAN in a June 23 interview.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the delta variant was first identified in India and is classified as a “variant of concern.” This means there is evidence of increased transmissibility, more severe disease and reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines.
Dr. Walkes, along with other local leaders including Travis County Judge Andy Brown and Mayor Steve Adler, will be taking questions about the cases Thursday at 9 a.m. in a virtual news conference.
They also plan to address changes to the area’s COVID-19 risk-based guidelines due to a spike in cases. Right now, Austin-Travis County is reporting 707 active COVID-19 cases and 137 hospitalizations.
According to the area’s COVID-19 dashboard, as of Wednesday, the seven-day moving average for COVID-19 hospitalizations was 106.9. About two weeks ago on July 1, the seven-day moving average for hospitalizations was just 57.