AUSTIN, Texas — At an Austin City Council meeting, Austin's top health authority said, "right now is the time to act," and that if Austin and Travis County don't slow the spread of coronavirus, he may need to recommend new "stay home" orders.
Austin has shattered its three-day record for the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases, and during the June 29 meeting, Dr. Mark Escott said that Austinites and Travis County residents must take all precautions in order to protect "this community of us."
"We are at the verge of having that recommendation come from me to the mayor and to [Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe] that we close things down again," Escott told City leaders. "Right now is the time to act. Right now is the time that we all must make decisions not just for us and our family, but for this community."
He went on to say that, a few months ago, the city flattened the curve by staying home and by taking the proper precautions if residents needed to leave their home: wearing face masks, practicing social distancing and paying close attention to personal hygiene.
Escott said that Austin-area hospital systems are telling Austin Public Health that individual hospitals are reaching occupancy for ICUs and spilling over into other hospitals. He said, "we have plenty of capacity right now. But these are additional signs that we are beginning to see additional stress in our health care system."
Sarah Eckhardt, the special assistant to Judge Biscoe, told KVUE's Pattrik Perez that the Austin Convention Center is being prepped to become a field hospital in the event that local health facilities cannot keep up with the demand for COVID-19 treatment.
As the state of Texas sees a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, cities and counties in Central Texas are issuing face mask requirements. Here's a breakdown of the cities and counties in the Central Texas area that are mandating residents to wear face masks.
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