COVID-19 case numbers going up in Travis County but so are number of shots

Travis County

FILE — A syringe is prepared with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa., on Sept. 14, 2021. U.S. regulators have opened up COVID-19 booster shots to all and more adults, Friday, Nov. 19, letting them choose another dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Over the last few weeks in Austin-Travis County, COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations have started to trend upwards again, the local health authority said in a joint Austin City Council, Travis County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

“We’re seeing a week-over-week increase in the number of hospitalizations over the past 4 weeks,” Dr. Desmar Walkes said. The highest increase has been over the past week, she reported.

Walkes also noted Austin-Travis County has seen a roughly 10% increase in the number of cases reported locally over the past few weeks. That’s on par with what the nation is seeing right now as the omicron variant continues to spread and Thanksgiving gatherings caused increased transmission of the delta variant.

Community transmission rate is in the 70s, as of Monday, putting Austin-Travis County in the substantial transmission range. The seven-day moving average of hospitalizations sits at 17, according to the Austin COVID-19 dashboard.

That leaves the area squarely in Stage 3 COVID-19 risk-based guidelines.

While case numbers and hospitalizations are going up, Walkes said they’ve seen an overwhelming number of people working to protect themselves before the holidays by getting a booster shot.

Since the beginning of this month, health leaders reported a 40% increase in booster uptake. Almost 6,500 people have gotten a booster shot through Austin Public Health and its immediate partners. That does not include doses given at clinics or pharmacies locally.

“So our community is rising to the occasion to get those booster shots,” Walkes said. “Boosters will help improve that protection so we have been careful to message this as often and as loud as we can.”

The people showing up in hospitals, according to Walkes, have almost all been unvaccinated.

To find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster near you, check out the City of Austin vaccine page.

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