Precautions still recommended ahead of Mother’s Day celebrations with those who may be at risk
AUSTIN, Texas - While many people have Mother’s Day gifts and travel on their minds, public health officials know there’s potential to spread COVID-19 this weekend. Austin Public Health (APH) recommends adding a COVID-19 test to your to-do list to protect yourself and loved ones.
“While hospitalizations are at their lowest, we have seen surges after holidays before,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “We’ve enjoyed a breather and some sense of normalcy lately, but it doesn’t mean we can let our guard down completely just yet.”
Snapshot of Travis County:
Daily counts for Travis County aggregated by CDC include some of the metrics used to calculate Community Levels once a week. The APH Epidemiology Unit is monitoring an increase in infections following the April holidays.
73% of residents 5 and older are fully vaccinated. Only 46% of those who have completed their primary series have received an additional dose.
Children 5-11 have the lowest vaccination rate of any demographic at 35.5%. This is of concern ahead of Mother’s Day weekend and the upcoming summer break.
Infections have been--and continue to be--underreported across the board. At-home rapid tests are widely available now, yet there isn't currently a reliable federal/state self-reporting standard. CDC shows a 10% positivity rate for Travis County. Out of the 210 people who tested at APH's Metz site last week, 36 (17%) were positive. Both rates are above the national average of 6%.
Testing, and isolating if necessary, is just one way to stop the spread of COVID-19. Getting up to date with your vaccines and wearing a well-fitting mask both offer additional levels of protection against severe illness and hospitalizations.
“Young people with healthy immune systems may be spending the weekend with older family members who are at risk,” said APH Director Adrienne Sturrup, “We’ve waited a long time to get to this point, so we hope you’ll set aside just a few minutes this week to take a COVID-19 test before getting together for Mother’s Day.”
Mothers-to-be are no exception. Studies show vaccination among pregnant people is associated with about 60% reduced risk of COVID-19 hospitalization in infants. People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future should get vaccinated against COVID-19.
APH testing and vaccination information
APH clinics offer COVID-19 testing and vaccinations without an appointment, although creating an account online in advance saves time. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000 or visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.
The APH Mobile Vaccination Program brings vaccine clinics to businesses, churches and more. Organizations can fill out an online form to request a pop-up clinic at their location.
About Austin Public Health
Austin Public Health is the health department for the City of Austin and Travis County. Austin Public Health works to prevent disease, promote health and protect the well-being of all by monitoring and preventing infectious diseases and environmental threats and educating about the benefits of preventative behaviors to avoid chronic diseases and improve health outcomes.