Breaking News
More () »

Austin-Travis County may 'close things down again' if coronavirus cases don't slow down, health authority says

Austin's top health authority said at an Austin City Council meeting that he is "at the verge" of recommending another round of "stay home" orders.

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.

RELATED: Austin shatters 3-day record for number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases

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.

WATCH: Travis County's daily case numbers continue to spike


North Austin neighbors tired of the 'garbage and poop' problems in their community

List: These Central Texas cities and counties require face masks as the state sees uptick in coronavirus cases

UT announces shortened semester, extended class days in final fall semester plan

Here's what you need to know when you vote in Texas this July

Before You Leave, Check This Out