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Austin-Travis County uses alert system to warn about COVID-19 as delta variant fuels surge

The message urged people to wear a mask, get vaccinated and stay home if possible, to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-Travis County officials used the Warn Central Texas system to alert residents about the worsening COVID-19 situation across the region on Saturday afternoon.

The message urged people to wear a mask, get vaccinated and stay home if possible to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

“The situation is critical,” said Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. “Our hospitals are severely stressed and there is little we can do to alleviate their burden with the surging cases. The public has to act now and help our we will face a catastrophe in our community that could have been avoided.”

The message was sent around 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 7 via text message, phone call and email through the Warn Central Texas emergency notification system, the regional notification system that is used to alert the public of emergencies in the community and how they can stay safe.

"The COVID-19 situation in Austin is dire," the message said. "Healthcare facilities are open but resources are limited due to a surge in cases. Everyone needs to wear a mask and stay home as much as possible. If you have not been vaccinated, do not wait to get one. Go to vaccines.gov to find where you can be vaccinated today."

Credit: KVUE

The message follows the City and County elevating the COVID-19 risk level to Stage 5, the highest level, earlier this week.

RELATED: Austin is in Stage 5. What does that mean?

“Hospital bed availability and critical care is extremely limited in our hospital systems, not just for COVID-19 patients, but for anyone who may need treatment,” said Dr. Walkes. “The community has to come together again and stave off disaster.”

Austin Public Health previously used the Warn Central Texas system in July of last year as the area experienced a large surge.

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