AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-Travis County health officials on Tuesday provided a better look at how many breakthrough COVID-19 cases have resulted in deaths in 2021.
A breakthrough COVID-19 case is a case where someone who is fully vaccinated against the virus still becomes infected. While breakthrough cases are still possible, health officials say getting vaccinated reduces the risk of hospitalization or death due to COVID-19.
Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County's health authority, said since January, Austin Public Health (APH) has deployed more than 750,000 vaccines to fully vaccinate more than 750,000 Travis County residents. Of that number, 5,964 have had breakthrough cases. APH's disease surveillance team has been able to contact and interview 1,358 of those 5,964 people and learned that only 59 were hospitalized – 1% of that number.
Unfortunately, there have been some fully vaccinated individuals who have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the year.
From Jan. 1 to Sept. 10, a total of 447 people – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – have died. During the entire pandemic, there have been 1,035 deaths in Austin-Travis County.
But Walkes said Tuesday that the vaccine has helped to reduce the number of deaths overall. She said 7.3% of the people who died from Jan. 1 to Sept. 10 were fully vaccinated.
Walkes also said in the last portion of July and August, there have been some increases in deaths related to unvaccinated individuals, primarily that 50% of the individuals who died were Hispanic and 58% were men.
Walkes also said Tuesday that some COVID-19 metrics, like cases and hospitalizations, are "slowly moving down" and Austin-Travis County could move to Stage 4 by late September or early October. However, the aftereffects of the Labor Day holiday and school reopening could delay a move to Stage 4.
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