AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the first time in four months, Hays County is rated at high risk from COVID-19 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, Dec. 22 update, Hays County was upgraded from medium to high risk because of the number of new cases and hospitalizations in the county.

Mason County was downgraded from high to medium risk, while Blanco, Gillespie and San Saba counties were downgraded from low to medium risk.

Caldwell County remains at medium risk. All other local counties, including Travis and Williamson, remain at low risk.

How are the Community Levels calculated?

Low, medium and high-risk categories are determined based on three factors: the number of new cases in the past seven days, new hospital admissions in the past seven days and the 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 2.5% of Texas’ population lives in a county rated high risk, up from 1.6% last week. Lubbock and San Angelo are currently rated high risk.

Approximately 24% of the state’s population lives in a medium-risk county — up from 20% last week — while about 73% live in a low-risk county, down from 78%.

The CDC has the following recommendations for people depending on which COVID-19 Community Level their county is in:

Low Risk

  • Stay up-to-date with COVID vaccines
  • Get tested if you have symptoms

Medium Risk

  • 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

High Risk

  • 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