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Austin-Travis County isn't moving back to Stage 4 just yet

The area has reached the threshold for Stage 4, but local health leaders said we are staying in Stage 5 for now.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-Travis County has reached the threshold for Stage 4 of the area's COVID-19 risk-based guidelines. But local health leaders said Friday that the area will remain in Stage 5 for now.

The threshold for Stage 5 of the guidelines is a seven-day average of 50 to 90 new hospital admissions, depending on the rate of increase. The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions for Austin-Travis County dipped below 50 earlier this week and hasn't gone back up above 50. The seven-day moving average of admissions was 44 as of Friday morning.

But Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County's health authority, said Austin Public Health is waiting to see if the trend holds.

"The last three days, we're down to 44, and we're waiting for a sustained trend so that we can confidently move into Stage 4. We are currently still in Stage 5," Walkes said in a press briefing Friday morning.

Walkes said that to keep moving in the right direction, community members need to continue to use masks and get the vaccine. 

"We are hopeful that this trend will continue and we are hopeful that we'll continue to see – not only move downward through Stage 4, but the continuing downward trend into lower stages,” Walkes said. "So, it's going to be up to us as a community to continue that trend. And it's going to be working, not only here in our area to protect our hospital system by having our population here in Austin-Travis County [get] vaccinated, but we also want to make sure that are our partners in surrounding counties are doing their part to get their people vaccinated as well so that our ICU numbers will continue to trend downward."

Hear more from local health officials in the video below: 

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