AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than 300 vaccinated people have caught COVID-19 in Travis County since the beginning of the year, representing a small fraction of breakthrough cases within the more than 34,000 people who have tested positive since Jan. 1, according to health leaders. More than 670,000 people are fully vaccinated, according to data KXAN compiled.
Travis County and City of Austin health leaders said Tuesday we’re now seeing another rise in COVID-19 cases, and hospitalizations have nearly doubled following the Fourth of July holiday.
“We’re seeing more cases, and there have been reports of more cases being seen in the pediatric population and those under 18,” Dr. Desmar Walkes, who is now the health authority for Austin-Travis County, said in Travis County commissioners court Tuesday.
Dr. Walkes said she suspects many of those cases come from family gatherings, especially over the holiday weekend. Children under the age of 12 are not yet approved to be vaccinated.
Dr. Walkes reported Tuesday that to date 333 people have caught the virus in Travis County after being fully vaccinated as of Jan. 1. Only 14 of those people had been hospitalized. Three people who had been fully vaccinated died of COVID-19, she said.
The COVID-19 dashboard for Travis County shows there have been more than 85,000 total cases of the virus, 450 of those cases active as of the latest update. More than 880 people have died in all in Travis County.
Dr. Walkes also talked about the delta variant, saying they have not confirmed cases of the variant in Travis County but assume it’s present.
“We do know that it is in Central Texas and many counties have confirmed cases, so we assume that we do have it here and that’s particularly evident in that our case numbers are starting to rise,” Dr. Walkes said.
A little more than 60% of people in Travis County are now fully vaccinated.
“I am stressing to everyone that can hear the sound of my voice, it is important to get vaccinated,” Dr. Walkes said.
“People are still dying,” commissioner Jeff Travillion said after hearing from health leaders. “Everybody who wants a shot can get a shot, and can get a free shot, and we’ll come as close to you as we possibly can. This is not over.”
Williamson County also reports COVID-19 spread
The announcement from Travis County officials comes less than 24-hours after Williamson County announced it was dealing with a high rate of COVID-19 transmission.
Williamson County is now at the Orange level of transmission, which is the second-highest level. The highest level, red, means there’s uncontrolled community spread. That does not change local rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines for individual actions and behaviors based on levels of risk of exposure in the community.
“Vaccination remains the single most proven effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and our best tool to end the pandemic,” Allison Stewart, WCCHD Lead Epidemiologist said Monday. “With the increase in variant infections, and waning immunity from those previously infected, this is a critical time for our community to protect themselves and their families by getting vaccinated.”
This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.