COVID-19: 1 in 3 Austin-Travis County tests positive

Travis County

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More than 30% of tests for COVID-19 taken in Austin-Travis County last week came back positive, Austin Public Health says.

APH reports 1 in 3 residents are now testing positive. This comes as the area veers toward a return to Stage 5 risk-based guidelines for COVID-19. Currently, Austin-Travis County meets two of APH’s criteria to trigger upgrading risk.

Monday marked a full week of an average 66 COVID-19 hospital admissions per day. APH’s current threshold is 50 average admissions per day. About 50% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated, with more and more fully vaccinated/boosted people continue becoming infected by the highly infectious omicron variant.

“Vaccinations are preventing severe illness and hospitalizations, however, we are seeing that in those who​ have comorbidities that there is some development of more severe disease,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, APH local health authority. “Take home message… this omicron variant is evading some of the vaccine protection that we’ve had in previous surges.”

New COVID-19 risk-based guidelines chart from Austin Public Health for vaccinated individuals (December 2021)
New COVID-19 risk-based guidelines chart from Austin Public Health for vaccinated individuals (December 2021)

And while demand for testing hasn’t been this high since early days of the pandemic, at-home tests or testing appointments are increasingly difficult to find. Shelves at pharmacies nationwide remain empty and lines for in-person testing last for hours.

APH encourages all residents to wear face masks while interacting with anyone outside of their household and to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.

In Travis County, over 70% of people ages 5 and older are fully vaccinated. APH says it administered 2,613 vaccine doses last week. To find a COVID-19 vaccine, check out the Austin vaccine page.

As of Monday, there were 4,293 active COVID-19 cases in Austin-Travis County. Three-hundred and fourteen people were hospitalized, including 65 in the ICU and 24 people on ventilators.

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