AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two of Austin Public Health’s COVID-19 metrics are now above the threshold required to move to Stage 5 in the city’s risk-based guidelines.
As of Monday, an average of 66 people have been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 each day over the past week. The Stage 5 threshold, as set by APH, is 50 hospital admissions per day.
APH did not publish daily numbers over the holiday weekend, but data released Monday shows the Austin area crossed the Stage 5 threshold on Dec. 31.
Hospitalizations in the Austin metro area have tripled over the holidays. On Dec. 21, there were 104 people hospitalized with COVID-19. As of Monday, the number was 314. While increasing, it’s still far from the record of 653 reported on Aug. 25, 2021.
During the same time, the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU beds increased from 34 to 65, and the number on a ventilator increased from 18 to 24.
Meanwhile, the Community Transmission Rate (CTR), another of APH’s metrics, has been in Stage 5 territory since Dec. 18. The CTR is a 7-day average of the number of new cases per 100,000 people. It’s also used by the CDC to determine COVID hotspots in the U.S.
As of Monday, the CTR in Travis County is 436 new cases each day per 100,000 people, according to the CDC. The threshold for Stage 5, as determined by APH, is 100.
Austin-Travis County was last in Stage 5 on Sept. 27, 2021. At the time, Austin Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said, “The behaviors that have been undertaken by our community to get our cases down has been effective.” Now, Walkes and other APH leaders are again urging people to reconsider activities where social distancing and mask-wearing are not possible.
KXAN has reached out to APH about the possibility of moving to Stage 5 in the coming days and is awaiting a response.