AUSTIN (KXAN) — Almost the entire KXAN viewing area is now rated low risk from COVID-19 in the latest weekly update by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Each week since Feb. 24, the CDC has assigned a “COVID-19 Community Level” to every county nationwide based on how the virus is impacting local populations.
In the Thursday, Sept. 15 update, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Lampasas, Lee and Milam Counties were all downgraded to low risk, joining Blanco, Gillespie, Llano, Mason, San Saba, Travis and Williamson Counties.
Fayette County jumped from low to high risk, due to an increase in hospitalizations in the county.
How are the Community Levels calculated?
Low, medium and high-risk categories are determined based on three factors: number of new cases in the past seven days, new hospital admissions in the past seven days and percent of staffed hospital beds being used by COVID-19 patients.
The first consideration is the number of new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. If the number of new cases is higher than 200, the county cannot be considered low risk.
The thresholds for hospital admissions and inpatient bed usage then change depending on whether the county has fewer or more than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents.
Here’s a look at the numbers in each county in the KXAN viewing area. Remember, the number of new cases is considered first. If that number is more than 200, the county cannot be considered low risk. The thresholds for hospital admissions and inpatient bed usage then change depending on whether the county has fewer or more than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents.
Meanwhile, about 11% of Texas’ population lives in a county rated high risk, up from 7% last week. Fort Worth and McAllen are in counties that remain in high risk.
Approximately 30% of the state’s population lives in a medium-risk county, while about 59% live in a low-risk county.
The CDC has the following recommendations for people depending on which COVID-19 Community Level their county is in:
- Stay up-to-date with COVID vaccines
- Get tested if you have symptoms
- Same precautions as low risk and:
- Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should wear a mask and take other precautions if you are at high risk for severe illness
- Same precautions as medium risk and:
- Wear a mask indoors in public
- Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness