TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — While Austin-Travis County isn’t experiencing a COVID-19 spike on the level of El Paso, the numbers are trending in the wrong direction.
The region is currently under Stage 3 Austin Public Health risk-based guidelines, but as the number of hospitalizations increases, officials including Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott are warning we could be moving back to Stage 4 guidelines.
#COVID19 update 11-17-20 Our numbers are increasing. This includes the 7-day average of new hospitalizations,” Adler tweeted Tuesday night. “This is the number that guides our community’s current Stage of risk. We’re currently in Stage 3, & moving closer to Stage 4. Stay vigilant.”
Indeed, on Monday, Escott stated COVID-19 cases had increased 100% from the previous 12 days and that hospitalizations had increased 50% from the previous 11 days.
Under Stage 4 guidelines, in addition to practicing social distancing, maintaining good hygiene, and wearing a facial mask, it is recommended people avoid social gatherings of more than two people, avoid non-essential travel, and avoid dining and shopping other than what is essential.
It’s also recommended that business openings are limited to “expanded essential businesses.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott hasn’t signaled he’s planning to restrict businesses despite the surge.
Statewide, 7,165 new coronavirus cases Tuesday raised to 1,066,918 the number reported since the pandemic first struck Texas in early March, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Thirty-seven new COVID-19 deaths also were reported as the outbreak nears the mid-July peak.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.