AUSTIN, Texas — As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Austin, Mayor Steve Adler says this is the time to continue safe practices like wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing.
"We're at a critical point," Adler said in his newsletter Saturday morning. "Now is the most important time we've had so far during the course of COVID-19 for you to be taking every precaution."
Adler said that University of Texas models show that on the city's current trajectory, local hospitals could reach capacity by mid-July.
"We have a window now, a very small window, maybe seven days – maybe two weeks, to have people really change behaviors," Adler said. "To wear masks, to social distance, so we can disrupt and at least slow the rate of our current trajectory."
According to Adler, the key indicator – hospitalizations – trails behind other indicators like active cases.
"The people who are going to be in the hospital today got the virus three weeks ago. The people in the hospital three weeks from now are just getting the virus today," Adler said. "If we wait until we see things are bad, then we've waited too long."
Adler said the city remains at a Stage 4 risk level with seven-day average hospitalizations sitting at 47.1, but growing exponentially. The mayor also said that Dr. Deborah Birx, the country's coronavirus response coordinator, listed Austin in a group of metro areas that she categorized as "concerning." Dr. Birx also said that Austin has the highest metro positivity rate over the past seven days in the country."
"If you venture out, know that you are multiples more likely to get infected today than just two weeks ago," Adler said.
Adler also reminded Austinites that all businesses, commercial entities and venues in the city must require face coverings for all employees and visitors over the age of 10. On Friday night, Adler stated that Austin will no longer be testing people without COVID-19 symptoms due to a shortage of available tests.
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