AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you’re one of the 9 million Texans expected to travel for the holidays, or even if your loved ones are traveling to you, you should be prepared and protected when it comes to contagious illnesses, especially in the wake of an ongoing “tripledemic“.

Austin Public Health (APH) recently reported new data on flu and COVID-19 cases and deaths in Travis County. So far this flu season, five adults in Travis County and five children in Texas have died from flu-related complications, according to APH.

Since October 1, there have been 22 COVID-related deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has Travis County’s Community Level as low in its weekly update from Dec. 21, but it’s important to note that one of the contributing factors – case rate per 100,000 – is above 100 again, APH said. As of Dec. 22, it’s at 124.65.

COVID-19-related hospital admissions were up to 6.6 last week from 4.6 the previous week. 2.7% of staffed inpatient beds are in use by patients with confirmed COVID-19.

APH said that while the Community Level is low, transmission is high. When that’s the case, the CDC recommends masking for everyone in healthcare settings where they could encounter patients.

APH guidelines state that you may choose to wear a mask at any time as an additional precaution to protect yourself and others. 

Protection

To protect others, if you’re feeling sick, you should test for COVID-19.

Symptoms include the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, runny nose)
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache

The Biden administration recently again made some free COVID-19 tests available to all American households as it unveils its contingency plans for potential coronavirus surges this winter.

To protect yourself, make sure your vaccines and boosters are up-to-date.