AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-Travis County on Dec. 29 moved to Stage 4 of COVID-19 risk-based guidelines, and it’s rapidly headed toward Stage 5, Austin Public Health is warning.

In fact, in a news release made available Tuesday, the public health agency wrote, “APH leadership says Stage 5 is imminent without demonstrative behavior changes.”

APH said that roughly 30% of COVID tests in the region are currently coming back positive and that the transmission rate in Austin-Travis County currently exceeds the statewide average.

“The omicron variant continues to spread at an alarming rate in our community. It poses a significant risk to our most vulnerable populations,” said Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. “As schools and businesses reopen after winter break, infections are going to spike to unprecedented levels. We must act accordingly—wear well-fitting masks anytime you leave your home, get vaccinated and boosted.” 

APH strongly recommends wearing a mask when interacting with people outside of your household, getting tested if you suspect you were exposed or are feeling symptoms, getting vaccinated if you have not, and boosted if you have been vaccinated but have yet to get the booster injection.

For information on testing and vaccination in Travis County, click here

Stage 5 includes the strictest virus mitigation guidelines. People identified as being at high risk from the disease should avoid indoor and outdoor gatherings, avoid travel, limit dining to outdoors with precautions and limit shopping to outdoors, curbside or takeaway.

People identified as being at lower risk should take precautions at gatherings and while traveling, shopping or dining.

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