AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis County has dropped back down to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s low COVID-19 community risk level one week after it was moved to the medium risk zone.

Meanwhile, Fayette County is now considered at high risk. Caldwell and Hays Counties remain at medium risk.

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.

The upgrade in Fayette County marks the first time since March 10 that any county in the KXAN viewing area has been considered high risk.

Fayette County remains in the low range for the number of new cases, but has crossed into high risk territory because of hospital admissions.

Over the past week, a total of 23.5 Fayette County residents were admitted to the hospital per 100,000 total residents. The threshold for high risk is 20 hospital admissions per 100,000 residents.

Travis County dropped back to the low risk category thanks to a decrease in new cases. The county added 190.12 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days, below the medium risk threshold of 200 cases per 100,000 residents.

Meanwhile, several counties in the Houston area have been upgraded to high risk, including Harris, Galveston and Fort Bend Counties.

Under a low risk designation, the CDC recommends individuals stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, as well as follow all isolation and quarantine recommendations if they’re exposed to or test positive for COVID-19.

For individuals who are classified as high risk or immunocompromised, the CDC recommends they keep a supple of at-home rapid tests available, as well as talk to their healthcare providers on eligibility for treatments like oral antivirals, PrEP and monoclonal antibodies.

Under low risk levels, Austin Public Health officials say masking is optional for people up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters when gathering, dining or shopping. This recommendation also applies to people who are classified as 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