Austin remains in Stage 4 of COVID guidance but that could change next week

Linda Rider

As COVID-19 hospitalizations and new instances proceed to decrease, Austin Community Wellbeing is eyeing a transfer to Phase 3 of its COVID-19 guidance, but is not making the transfer just still.

Austin-Travis County Well being Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes stated Friday it is possible the space will move to Phase 3 early next week if current developments carry on. But the health and fitness department is also reassessing its steering to choose flu time into account.

“We are reevaluating our possibility-based direction and taking into account the scenario as it is now and what we’re anticipating will take place as we appear to the effects of unvaccinated people who may well acquire COVID-19 or those who are unvaccinated who might build the flu,” Walkes mentioned all through a news convention. “There will be far more to appear as we finalize these guidance documents.”

The Austin space is in a much improved place than it was a thirty day period in the past, when ICUs were operating earlier mentioned ability and hundreds — often far more than 1,000 — new scenarios were currently being reported each and every day. Chief Epidemiologist Janet Pichette said APH will report 162 new instances and three new fatalities Friday, and the tests positivity price carries on to decline.

“Those are all very good signals that we are returning again to a improved place than we were a month in the past,” she reported.

But now that flu period has started, health and fitness officials across the nation are hoping to prevent a “twindemic” of influenza and COVID-19, which didn’t manifest last yr, very likely due to social distancing and masking actions that were being in place. Some industry experts panic previous year’s gentle flu year could signify this year’s will be a large amount worse mainly because fewer men and women built immunity.

More flu scenarios put together with the delta variant could overwhelm health and fitness treatment workers, who are by now burnt out and shorter staffed.

Austin Public Overall health has been encouraging folks to get vaccinated for equally COVID-19 and flu. The vaccines can be supplied at the similar time.

Pichette reported the vaccines are conveniently readily available in the local community, by pharmacies, doctor’s workplaces and Austin General public Wellness. Techniques employed to sluggish the spread of COVID-19 also work in protecting against the flu, like masking, social distancing and washing fingers normally. All of these initiatives aided the Austin area have a moderate flu period last year.

“I’m involved that we will be hit tricky with flu if we are not organized,” Pichette claimed. “We need to retain remaining a healthy neighborhood.”

The wellbeing officers are urging men and women to continue to keep up safety measures, notably when attending massive gatherings, like the Austin City Boundaries Audio Festival, and as they get ready for getaway gatherings in the coming months.

Walkes mentioned four conditions have been documented so far from those who have attended ACL. The second weekend of the pageant kicks off Friday. Event organizers are demanding attendees to exam negative for COVID-19 or display evidence of vaccination.

Pichette claims, even now, it is apparent cases were current inside of the group, so persons really should keep vigilant. She said if you have indications of COVID-19, like runny nose, fever or a sore throat, you ought to continue to be household to not location other folks at hazard.

“It’s just not worthy of it,” she explained.

Although hospitals are faring improved than they had been a thirty day period back, Walkes warns there are continue to a lot of persons in ICUs and on ventilators who will go on to need to have care for quite some time. She claimed this is due to the fact the delta variant is triggering much more serious sickness than previous variations of the virus. Area hospitals acquired further staff members to enable manage the current surge in COVID sufferers, most of whom were being unvaccinated, but Walkes stated these contracted staffers will be leaving in the coming months.

“So, it is likely to be even far more crucial for our group to defend by itself and get vaccinated,” Walkes explained.

So considerably, 71.45% of persons suitable for the COVID-19 vaccine in Travis County are fully vaccinated from the virus, in accordance to state details. Williamson County has also crossed the 70% mark. In Hays County, 63.4% of suitable individuals are entirely vaccinated.

Approval of a vaccine for persons underneath age 12 could be coming soon. This week, Pfizer asked for the Meals and Drug Administration authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for young children ages 5 to 11.

When the vaccine is permitted for that age team, Austin Community Health and fitness says it’ll be all set to distribute the vaccine at its clinics around the community and at colleges.

“We know it can take a exclusive type of nurse to administer a shot to our little tots,” interim APH Director Adrienne Stirrup mentioned. “We’re staffed up, and … we are ready to go.”

Got a suggestion? Electronic mail Marisa Charpentier at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.

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