Travis County teeters toward Stage 5 pandemic restrictions; decision likely to be made this week

Travis County

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Key numbers aren’t trending in a direction that would have the Austin area avoid Stage 5 pandemic restrictions. On Monday, Travis County reported 56 hospital admissions—that’s a 67% increase since Dec. 1.

Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott says officials will keep an eye on admissions the next several days. They’ll determine whether to transition to Stage 5 this week.

Travis County also reports a 94% increase in new infections since the beginning of the month.

Escott says the area is nearing peak levels seen during the first surge over the summer.

“Unfortunately, that trend is continuing in an upward direction, and of course we face the one, two punch of Christmas and New Year’s in the next two weeks, which creates a great deal of concern for us regarding a surge in Travis County,” said Escott.

Stage 5 guidelines would include APH advising against residents gathering with people outside of their household, avoiding non-essential travel and avoiding dining/shopping except when essential. Businesses would be advised to move to contactless options and stop dine-in service.

COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines provided by Austin Public Health
COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines provided by Austin Public Health

Escott says as of Monday, 522 deaths in Travis County are linked to COVID-19, making it the third-leading cause of death in the county this year.

According to the Travis County COVID-19 Dashboard, there are 4,602 active cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, 349 patients hospitalized and 90 people in the ICU. Fifty-two people are on ventilators.

There have been 46,701 cases in Travis County since the start of the pandemic.

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