AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three counties in the KXAN viewing area have been upgraded to ‘high’ risk for COVID-19, according to the CDC’s weekly update.

Each week since Feb. 24, the CDC assigns a “COVID-19 Community Level” to each county nationwide based on how the virus is impacting local populations.

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.

Blanco, Lampasas and Milam Counties were all upgraded to high risk. Meanwhile, Gillespie, Lee and Mason Counties were upgraded from low to medium risk, joining Bastrop, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Llano, Travis and Williamson Counties.

Blanco, Lampasas and Milam Counties have all surpassed the threshold for high risk based on the number of COVID-19 hospital admissions. The CDC threshold is more than 10 new admissions per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.

Blanco County has a hospital admission rate — the number of people admitted to the hospital with COVID per 100,000 residents — of 10.4. The rate in Lampasas and Milam Counties is currently 16.5.

Meanwhile, 42% of Texas’ population live in a county rated high risk. Corpus Christi, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio are all considered at high risk.

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