AUSTIN (KXAN) — Things have significantly slowed down at Austin Public Health’s only remaining COVID-19 testing site.
There were only a few folks inside Metz Elementary on Tuesday, including Jackson Dubro.
“My grandma is coming in this weekend and we just want to be very sure and safe,” he explained. “So, I’m getting a test just to make sure I’m negative.”
This comes at a time when the local health authority is ditching its current COVID-19 risk-based guidelines system and aligning itself with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s model instead.
It will now follow the CDC’s low, medium and high risk-based model which only recommends masking for people who are up-to-date on vaccines in the high-risk stage.
As the weather has warmed up, Austin Public Health incident commander Eleanor Allain has seen far fewer people at city-operated testing sites.
“After our winter surge in late December-January, we’ve really seen the numbers die off,” she said. “Right now, this is the only site that’s open and we’re testing about 160 people a week.
Justin Metzner was also at the Metz Elementary testing site on Tuesday. He regularly gets tested for COVID in order to feel safe at work.
“We just need to sort of have these habits of knowing where we stand just individually and as a community,” Metzner said.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, roughly 30% of the reported COVID-19 cases in the state are the BA.2 subvariant.
“Problem is when there’s a spike, we’re always way behind the curve with knowing where we are,” Metzner added.
Despite plenty of people in town for South by Southwest, only 100 COVID-19 cases have been traced to the event.
As for Dubro, he doesn’t believe that they’ll be long lines at testing sites anytime soon.
“If we have another surge, then maybe it’ll pick back up but I think for now this is probably going to be the new normal,” he concluded.
The free COVID-19 testing site at Metz Elementary Testing Site is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.