‘Risk-taking’ behavior could lead to surge in COVID-19 cases, Austin health official says

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — During a meeting with the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Health Authority for Austin Public Health, said he thinks there may be a surge in COVID-19 cases due to an increase in “risk-taking” behavior.

These people would include those not social distancing or wearing masks as businesses reopen. Escott says relaxed rules are causing residents to be too relaxed with precautionary measures.

“This is evidence that if we stop doing those protective behaviors,” Escott said. “If we stop the personal hygiene: the hand washing, the not touching your face. If we stop the facial coverings in public, if we stop social distancing — we are going to enter a surge, which is going to threaten our healthcare systems’ ability to manage individuals. And its going to threaten our ability to keep businesses open and keep jobs going.”

Escott says of all the people that got tested at APH’s drive-thru site last week, 8.5% tested positive — an increase from the 3 to 4% from the previous weeks.

He says he expects to see an increase in hospitalizations over the next 10 to 14 days.

APH testing increase

Austin Public Health is expanding its testing capability to try to provide 5,000 COVID-19 tests per week… by Monday.

Its current goal is 2,000 a week.

The city plans to expand testing hours and sites, in addition to increased staffing.

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