Focus on average hospital admissions key to reopening economy.
Mayor Steve Adler - joined by Sarah Eckhardt, Special Assistant to Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe and Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Health Authority and Public Health Medical Director for Austin-Travis County – today stressed keeping new hospitalizations to under 20 admissions a day is key in increasing chances the Austin-Travis County area can continue to reopen as the Governor is allowing while still preventing our area hospitals from experiencing an overwhelming surge in admissions.
The recommended thresholds uses data focused on average hospital admissions in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). Understanding whether the 7-day average hospital admission number is moving up or down is critical in understanding what preventive actions to take and to avoid our hospitals from experiencing an overwhelming surge in cases.
“If our community wants to maximize the chances for successfully reopening the economy, then we each have to do our part — individuals and businesses — to keep daily hospitalizations from reaching 20 per day,” said Mayor Steve Adler. “We do this by rigorously following six-foot social distancing, wearing face masks, and getting tested and staying at home if you’re not feeling well. How important is it to us to maintain opening up the economy? We get to decide by our actions."
“Nuestra comunidad de Austin determinará, a través de sus acciones, si la reapertura de nuestra economía funcionará. Uno de los objetivos es que la cantidad de hospitalizaciones no suba a más de 20 por día,” dijo el alcalde Steve Adler. “Para prevenir más hospitalizaciones, tenemos que cuidarnos, mantener la distancia de 6 pies (o 2 metros) entre personas, seguir usando máscaras y tapabocas, y hacernos la prueba de COVID-19 y mantenernos en casa si no nos sentimos bien de salud. La reapertura de nuestra economía depende de nuestras acciones."
“While Governor Abbott focuses on reopening businesses, Travis County remains focused on the health and safety of our community,” said Sarah Eckhardt, Special Assistant to Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe. “These risk-bases guidelines will help our whole community prepare.”
"Austin has done a great job of flattening the curve, but we have to continue those efforts to protect ourselves, to protect Austin, and protect Texas," said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. "We need to protect both public health and the economy - if we go out, let's do it safely so we can keep and grow both."
The risk stages system created by Austin Public Health (APH) illustrates the regression and progress on several factors, including disease, healthcare, and public health. These indicators will inform recommendations on the tightening or loosening of restrictions on physical distancing, mass gatherings, business operations, and other safety measures in the months ahead.
Stage 1 (Green): Zero (0) new COVID-19 hospital admissions in a 7-day period
Stage 2 (Blue): Average of less than 5 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in 7-day period
Stage 3 (Yellow): Average of 5-19 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in a 7-day period
Stage 4 (Light Orange): Average of 20-70 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in a 7-day period
Stage 5 (Dark Orange): Average of 70 or more new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the MSA in a 7-day period
Austin-Travis County is currently in Level 3 – the yellow risk category. At this level, APH recommends individuals at high risk for serious illness shelter-in-place and telecommute or be reassigned to non-public facing roles. Individuals at lower risk for serious infections should minimize their interactions with individuals outside of their household.
At all levels, APH continues to urge the community to:
- Practice social distancing
- Wear fabric face coverings in public
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Wash hands often
- Avoid touching your face
- Clean commonly touched surfaces
As Governor Abbott continues to reopen the State, local risk level stages will be reassessed as data from these policy decisions are received over the coming weeks. The risk based guidelines system is coupled with other guidance that will be taken to help avoid a secondary quarantine period. In adopting a stage level approach, normalizing activity - or imposing restrictions as necessary - will be reintroduced in the event of a new outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
For additional information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.