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Austin-Travis County using alert system to warn about COVID-19 as cases spike

Austin Public Health has warned Austinites to use caution and safe practices while celebrating the Fourth of July.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-Travis County officials used the Warn Central Texas system to alert residents about the current COVID-19 situation in the region Wednesday afternoon.

The message, which was also sent out in Spanish, read: "Coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Austin-Travis County. Stay home. Avoid non-household gatherings. When in public, keep 6 feet apart from others and wear a face covering. Wash your hands frequently. Information on how to celebrate the 4th of July safely is available here: https://bit.ly/2ZrjUJ9"

Officials said cases and hospitalizations are increasing across Texas and the Austin area. They said there has been a 400% increase in hospitalizations and approximately a 370% increase in cases of COVID-19 since June 1.

Austin Public Health has warned Austinites to use caution and safe practices while celebrating the Fourth of July.

RELATED: Austin-Travis County to surpass 10K COVID-19 cases, another 'stay-home' order could be coming, health leaders say

“I know we want to celebrate; I know we want to get together with our families; I know we want to have firework shows and barbecue and do the things we normally do, but now is not the time for that,” Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said. “Now is the time we have to be strong together by staying home, by doing things within our own household, by watching the fireworks on TV.”

Additionally, Travis County will close all its parks starting on Thursday, July 2, at 8 p.m. until Tuesday, July 7, at 8 a.m. in an effort to prevent large crowds during the Fourth of July weekend.

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WATCH: Coronavirus in Austin, Texas: Health leaders answer COVID-19 questions

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