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Travis County now at 'medium' threat level for COVID-19

The number of new cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days passed the threshold to trigger the elevated level.

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — An increase in COVID-19 cases in Travis County has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to elevate the county from low to medium on the Community Level chart.

The update comes as new virus cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days, a key metric in determining Community Levels, increased. Travis County's Community Level shifted from low to medium when the metric hit 200, per CDC guidelines.

It currently sits at 202.99 new cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days, according to Austin Public Health (APH). Community Levels are also determined by new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 residents in the last seven days and the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by coronavirus patients.

According to the CDC website, Hays County has also been moved to medium and on the Community Level chart.

RELATED: Austin Public Health warns COVID-19 cases are rising as agency detects 2 new subvariants in Travis County

"We’re seeing steady increases in case totals and hospitalizations which is incredibly concerning,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “We need everyone to do their part, especially those who are at higher risk. Wear a mask inside when gathering with others. We know that this will help protect loved ones at risk for poor outcomes and our hospital system.”

Under the guidelines, recommendations for people who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines are: 

  • Low: Precautions optional when gathering, dining and shopping
  • Medium: Precautions optional when gathering, dining and shopping. Masks recommended when social distancing is not possible
  • High: Use precautions when gathering, dining and shopping

Recommendations for people who are at risk are:

  • Low: Precautions optional when gathering, dining and shopping
  • Medium: Use precautions when gathering, dining and shopping
  • High: Use precautions when gathering, dining and shopping 
Credit: Austin Public Health

APH said it continues to monitor rising cases, including the new omicron subvariants that are now in the area. The department is also conducting wastewater surveillance to monitor the presence of SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, circulating in the community. 

RELATED: Austin Public Health changes risk-based guidelines to align with CDC recommendations

Precautions include wearing a mask, washing hands and practicing social distancing. APH says that at all levels, people can wear a mask if they choose, informed by their personal level of risk. The agency says people with symptoms, a positive COVID-19 test result or exposure to someone who has COVID-19 should wear a mask.

APH updated its risk-based guidelines in March 2022 to align with the recommendation from the CDC. There are now three levels  – low, medium and high – each with corresponding guidance for people who are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and people who are at risk.  

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