Austin-Travis County moves to Stage 5 COVID-19 risk-based guidelines

Travis County

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Just shy of one week after moving to Stage 4 COVID-19 risk based guidelines, the Austin-Travis County area has now moved to Stage 5, health leaders announced Thursday.

“We are here today unfortunately to announce that we are reentering Stage 5 of our risk-based guidelines,” Dr. Desmar Walkes started a media Q&A Thursday.

Here’s what those Stage 5 guidelines mean for you, depending on vaccination status:

APH advises low-risk, vaccinated individuals mask up during all gatherings and while dining, shopping or traveling.

High-risk, vaccinated people are discouraged from gathering with people outside of their household entirely. High-risk, vaccinated individuals are also limited to essential travel under the new guidelines, and shopping should only be curbside pickup.

APH has previously said people who do not have their booster shot yet should consider themselves only partially vaccinated. For people who are partially or not vaccinated, the guidelines ask that you not travel or gather with people outside of your household at all. It recommends curbside or takeout dining and shopping only.

You can view the full chart below.

COVID-19 risk-based guidelines for Austin-Travis County, published Dec. 20, 2021 (Courtesy Austin Public Health)
COVID-19 risk-based guidelines for Austin-Travis County, published Dec. 20, 2021 (Courtesy Austin Public Health)

The official move to Stage 5 comes after all of APH’s major COVID-19 metrics passed the threshold required to move up stages Monday.

As of Wednesday, the number of people in area hospital with COVID-19 is 385 people, though health leaders announced earlier this week that a larger number of people are showing up to the hospital for non-COVID-related illnesses or injuries and testing positive for the virus, which counts towards the data.

There are 69 people in the ICU with COVID-19, that number is generally a more accurate depiction of how serious this spike will be for our hospitals.

As of this week, Austin Public Health announced that roughly one in three tests being done in Travis County were coming back positive for COVID-19.

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