Health officials urge caution: despite the decline in positivity rate, now is not the time to celebrate
Austin, Texas – With Labor Day weekend upon us, Austin Public Health (APH) is reminding everyone to avoid large crowds and continue to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and proper hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Within a few weeks following the Memorial Day holiday, Austin-Travis County saw a surge in new cases and hospitalizations due to social gatherings and re-opened businesses. It then took the community nearly two months to see a substantial decline in our 7-day moving average of new cases and hospital admissions.
As of Sept. 3, the current 7-day moving average of new cases in Austin-Travis County is 72, a daily case count as low as we have seen since early June.
While the community stepped up to the challenge and made huge strides to reduce the spread of COVID-19 over the past several weeks, now is not the time to let our guard down.
“Labor Day weekend is not the time to crowd bars, to have barbecues and to gather with family,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “Now is the time to stay the course because if we change our behaviors, three weeks from now we could be back where we were in June and July with increased cases and uncontrollable spread.”
The current positivity rate for Austin-Travis County is 6.2 percent. APH has indicated that the positivity rate should be below five percent across all racial and ethnic groups in Austin-Travis County to continue the process of re-opening businesses.
“Everyone must follow all of the preventative actions we've done thus far. Be the example that you want others to see,” APH Director Stephanie Hayden said. “Our hope is that this call to action will make everyone think about what they can do as an individual to make our community a safer place. We want to ensure that we have a safe environment when our students go back to school so that we can provide our children with the education they need in a healthy and safe way.”
Labor Day Closures
Due to the Labor Day holiday, all APH COVID-19 test sites, as well as the APH Nurse Hotline (512-972-5560), will be closed on Monday, Sept. 7. The holiday closure includes in-home testing, neighborhood testing sites and the Pflugerville Pfield walk-up testing site. Individuals who need a COVID-19 test can still complete the online assessment at AustinTexas.gov/COVID19 and schedule an appointment for another day during the week.
For COVID-19 information and updates, visit AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.