AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health announced Monday night it’s changing the thresholds for the area’s COVID-19 risk-based guidelines again due to the omicron variant surge.
Omicron is now the dominant variant of coronavirus in the country, accounting for 73% of new infections last week. APH cited data from the University of Texas at Austin’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium for the change in its staging thresholds, which said omicron could lead to the worst wave of COVID-19 yet.
APH determines which stage Austin-Travis County is in partly by the seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions in the area. The new staging thresholds released Monday by APH are as follows, with changes to the goalposts of at least two stages:
- Stage 1 – 0-4
- Stage 2 – 5-14
- Stage 3 – 15-24 (previously 15-29)
- Stage 4 – 25-50 (previously 30-50)
- Stage 5 – >50
As of Monday, the seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions in Austin-Travis County is 15 — the lower end of the Stage 3 threshold.
Stage 3 of the COVID-19 risk-based guidelines recommends that fully-vaccinated, low-risk individuals should wear masks at indoor gatherings with people outside of their household and while traveling. If you’re partially vaccinated or unvaccinated and are also low risk, Stage 3 recommends that you wear a mask in all situations and get fully vaccinated.
The below graphic shows all of the recommendations for vaccinated persons.
APH is planning to hold a media briefing Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. to answer any questions about the new thresholds. The press conference will be live streamed on KXAN.com and on the KXAN Facebook page.