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Austin seeing 'substantial decrease' in active COVID-19 cases, positivity rate, health authority says

Dr. Mark Escott said the City has made progress, but insisted there is still more work to do. He said the City is moving in the right direction.

AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: KVUE's Molly Oak contributed to this report.

In an Austin City Council work session and Travis County Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday, Austin Public Health Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said there has been a "substantial decrease" in active COVID-19 cases.

According to Dr. Escott, the Austin area has seen 12 straight days of improvement regarding the seven-day moving average in both new cases and hospitalizations. 

The seven-day average of new cases is now at 275 per day, when it was at 550 at the beginning of July. In terms of new hospital admissions – which is a key indicator in determining the coronavirus stage for the county – the Austin area is now seeing 47 on average per day and is 21 days past when the City peaked over 70 on average per day and drew Austin-Travis County into Stage 4.

"We're proud of the progress we've made ... we've got more work to do, but we're certainly headed in the right direction," Escott said in the city council work session.

Credit: Austin Public Health
Source: Austin Public Health
Credit: Austin Public Health
Source: Austin Public Health

Escott urged to the Travis County Commissioners Court that despite the improvement in recent coronavirus statistics, the public needs to continue its safe practices in order to get at least to Stage 3 within the next 30 days, but preferably Stage 2. Austin Mayor Steve Adler also said the City still needs to double down on encouraging mask-wearing and other preventative coronavirus practices.

WATCH: Travis County Commissioners Court meeting July 28

Escott said there have been substantial decreases in the area's positivity rate but they have seen a decrease in the number of people who have requested testing at drive-thru locations.

In a graph Escott presented to the Travis County Commissioners Court, it showed Austin-Travis County's positivity rate had dropped to 9.36% after peaking at 18.95% in late June. Escott did say there were still pending results for the week of July 19 to July 25, so the number may change, but he highlighted the downward trend.

Credit: Austin Public Health
Source: Austin Public Health

The age group from 20 to 29 is more than 20% of the coronavirus cases in Austin-Travis County, Escott said. He said the age group from 10 to 19 has the highest rate of positivity over the past few weeks – but noted they are being tested less.

Conversely, Escott said in the city council work session that "we can expect our death numbers are going to increase" because about 50% of the hospitalizations last week were people who are ages 60 and up. Escott also said the Hispanic population represents 51% of hospital admissions.

For the latest updates, visit the county's coronavirus dashboard here

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