Austin mayor says all ought to put on masks once more as COVID-19 circumstances spike

AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a joint particular assembly hosted by the Metropolis of Austin and Travis County, Mayor Steve Adler requested residents to begin masking up once more in response to a spike in circumstances, breakthrough circumstances and hospitalizations in Travis County.

The mayor stated though authorities municipalities cannot require masks due to an govt order from Gov. Greg Abbott, he hopes companies and residents will choose to masks up once more, vaccinated or not, to forestall the realm from going right into a extra restrictive Stage 4.

Austin is at the moment in Stage 3 of Austin Public Well being’s COVID-19 risk-based chart, wherein unvaccinated persons are inspired to put on a masks for all actions (indoor and out of doors gatherings, journey and eating/procuring), whereas those that are vaccinated ought to solely put on them for journey. The rules for Stage 4 say those that are vaccinated ought to put on masks for these actions, and suggests those that usually are not vaccinated keep residence until the exercise is “important.”

Adler additionally addressed considerations about college students returning to high school within the fall: “We do not need to become involved in a authorized difficulty with the Governor, and need to attempt to keep away from that if we will, but when there was a means proper now to order that each one college students should put on masks at school, we’d be doing it.”

He, together with Austin Public Well being officers and different native leaders are urging all dad and mom to make their youngsters put on masks to high school when courses begin within the fall. Moreover, native leaders can even be encouraging lecturers and different adults at school buildings to masks up, as properly.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an govt order in Might that bans college districts and different “governmental entities in Texas,” from requiring or mandating masks.

Abbott stated that counties, cities, public well being authorities or authorities officers can’t require folks put on masks.

Adler elaborated in an interview with KXAN following the assembly, saying, “We wish folks to do that voluntarily. We wish folks to do that as a result of it is the precise factor to do.”

Adler says many people who find themselves vaccinated do not understand they may nonetheless doubtlessly be transmitting the virus to those that aren’t.

“I do know everyone is drained. Individuals who’ve taken the vaccine, say, ‘Hey, I’ve already performed the whole lot that I am alleged to do. I’ve performed the whole lot proper.’ However we’ve tens of hundreds of youngsters in our metropolis underneath 12 who cannot take the vaccination proper now,” Adler stated. “And our infectivity degree in the neighborhood is so excessive, and getting increased, that these youngsters are at risk.”

The mayor can also be asking companies to play an enormous position in curbing the uptick in circumstances by permitting workers who have not but been vaccinated break day to get vaccinated — or to coordinate with Austin Public Well being to host a vaccine occasion on the office.

Moreover, Adler stated, “For those who’re a enterprise that has prospects coming indoors, please require your prospects to put on a masks similar to we did earlier than. Companies clearly can do this underneath the regulation.”

Adler advised KXAN that as of Monday, of the 70 to 80 folks in native ICUs, all however one had not gotten a vaccine.

“Folks want to know simply how quickly the numbers are rising in our hospitals and in our intensive care models,” he stated. “They’re rising so quickly that we might be per week to 10 days away from actual important challenges.”

Adler says the rise in COVID-19 admissions has put such a pressure on hospital assets that the entire native hospitals have requested further assets from the state. Nonetheless, he says the state is dealing with comparable staffing points, so it is not clear whether or not it will likely be capable of assist hospitals domestically.

KXAN requested Governor Abbott’s workplace for remark following the mayor and different native leaders’ feedback Tuesday.

The governor’s press secretary stated in an announcement:

“Vaccines are the best protection in opposition to contracting COVID and changing into critically in poor health, and we proceed to induce all eligible Texans to get the vaccine. Since vaccines first turned out there in December 2020, Governor Abbott has labored intently with DSHS and TDEM to extend the entry and ease for all Texans who desire a COVID vaccine to get one…. The COVID vaccine will at all times stay voluntary and by no means compelled in Texas.”

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