AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Dept. of State Health Services reported 5,489 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a new record, along with 381 new hospitalizations, the 12th consecutive day of record hospitalizations.
The Austin metro area reported a record 236 total hospitalizations on Tuesday, an increase of 55 — also a record.
Spencer Fox, a research associate for the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, said further restrictions or behavioral changes will be necessary to not overwhelm local hospitals in the coming months.
“What we’re seeing in this trajectory right now is not good,” Fox said. “Our models are telling us that we are in the highest-risk timepoint of the pandemic than we’ve ever been.”
Tuesday marked the official start to the City of Austin’s mask and social distancing mandates which remain in effect through Aug. 15.
Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he would expand the authority of city mayors and county judges to restrict outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people. He also ordered the Health and Human Services Commission to enact emergency safety standards for child care centers, which he said are experiencing an increase in transmission.
“Because the spread is so rapid right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home unless you need to go out,” Abbott told KBTX.
Abbott said more restrictions could be announced this week.
Austin leaders have repeatedly asked the governor for more authority to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will use any and every power the Governor gives us to mitigate the transfer of the virus in order to keep our city as safe as possible and best support opening the economy. We are studying the Governor’s issuance today to see what we can do to move us off the current trajectory.”Austin Mayor Steve Adler