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Future of COVID-19 in Central Texas depends on our behaviors, UT researcher says

"So while our models are suggesting that we're in a declining epidemic phase, that could change pretty rapidly," a UT researcher said.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Public Health (APH) gave a warning during its Wednesday morning media update saying masking and social distancing are still needed. 

This came after APH said new cases and hospital admissions have plateaued in Austin-Travis County. 

RELATED: 'So many of you are unsung heroes' | Austin seeing plateau of cases and hospitalizations, health officials say

"The transmission rate has decreased enough that we're now in a declining epidemic phase, which means that we're we're expecting fewer cases, fewer hospitalizations and fewer deaths moving forward," said Dr. Spencer Fox, the associate director of the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium

Fox said they track coronavirus primarily by looking at hospital admission data.

"What we've noticed in looking at hospital admissions, that is we're still about five to six times higher than what we were seeing in May or June," said Fox. "So while our models are suggesting that we're in a declining epidemic phase, that could change pretty rapidly because there's still quite a few infections in the community. And it really could change on a dime."

He said the models suggest the precautions people take are working. 

RELATED: Number of new COVID-19 cases in Austin area are on a 'downward trend,' Dr. Escott says

"And those are leading to the declining epidemic," said Fox. "And so if we can keep up those precautions, we will see very low prevalence numbers in Austin in the next month or two if we can keep it up."

Fox said the community's behavior will determine if Central Texas has already hit its coronavirus peak or if it's still to come. 

"If people start taking fewer precautions to prevent spread, we are still in a very risky place and could see a larger peak in the next couple of months," said Fox. 

For the latest updates regarding coronavirus in Central Texas, click here

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