AUSTIN (KXAN) — In a launch Friday morning, well being leaders introduced the 900th COVID-19 loss of life in Austin-Travis County and highlighted the rising variety of folks in space hospitals, most of that are unvaccinated. State knowledge exhibits that solely 13 ICU beds can be found within the Austin space proper now.
Dr. Jan Patterson, an infectious illness specialist with the College of Texas San Antonio, and a member of the Texas Medical Affiliation’s COVID-19 process drive, says the combat in opposition to COVID-19 has drastically modified due to the delta variant.
“It’s actually far more contagious than the frequent chilly, we expect it’s far more contagious than flu now,” Dr. Patterson stated. She added that when you would usually unfold the flu to 2 or three folks, the delta variant is being unfold at a price of eight or 9.
Maureen Johnson-León, an information fairness specialist with the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, says estimates present the delta variant is 60% extra transmissible than the unique pressure of the virus.
“It actually implies that responding to it has to occur additionally extra rapidly,” Johnson-León stated.
Drastic modifications wanted to keep away from Stage 5
Whereas the Austin-Travis County space is at the moment in Stage 4 risk-based tips, APH additionally stated in its launch that we “may transfer to Stage 5 as hospitalizations proceed to rise.”
Mayor Steve Adler echoed that sentiment Friday, saying we look like on the trail to that almost all restrictive tier. Although the COVID-19 risk-based mannequin solely addresses private habits, the mayor went a step additional and inspired companies to take accountability as effectively.
“I believe it could be nice if folks which can be operating massive venues requested folks to put on masks. I believe it could be nice if companies stated, to guard my staff, I’m going to be wanting folks coming into my shops, or my retailers, to be placing on a masks,” Mayor Adler stated. “They’ve the flexibility to do this underneath legislation with none questions and they need to go forward and try this.”
Johnson-León with the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium informed KXAN they’re working carefully with the Metropolis of Austin to attempt to keep away from a shift to Stage 5. She pressured that to do it, behaviors want to vary rapidly.
The danger-based tips are what Dr. Desmar Walkes, the native well being authority, has beforehand stated are a private “name to motion.” Due to an govt order signed by Gov. Greg Abbott, native governments can not mandate masks or vaccinations, amongst different restrictions.
The governor stated the chief order supplies uniformity throughout Texas, and permits folks “the person proper and accountability to determine for themselves and their youngsters whether or not they’ll put on masks, open their companies, and have interaction in leisure actions.”
Mayor Adler expressed frustration with the chief order Friday. When requested if any courtroom battles had been on the horizon, the mayor stated no selections have been made but however that the Metropolis, County and native well being authority are having a look at methods to “hold the neighborhood as protected as we presumably can.”
Apart from the really helpful tips set out by Austin-Travis County, Dr. Patterson says people who find themselves immunocompromised have to be further cautious.
She really helpful reconsidering journeys and going again to work in-person, however added: “For those who’re going again to a setting the place persons are vaccinated and persons are sporting masks once they’re in conferences and in teams, that’s a reasonably protected setting, however it’s a must to watch out that that’s what you’re moving into.”
She stated for vaccinated people who find themselves not immunocompromised, put on your masks to journey, to work and in public indoor settings.
Chilly and flu season making a summer season look
Whereas chilly and flu season is usually in colder months, Dr. Patterson says alongside the delta variant, they’ve seen a surge in flu instances this summer season, together with different respiratory diseases.
“The attention-grabbing factor as that because the masks have come off we’ve seen extra respiratory viruses,” she stated. “We’re seeing the identical quantity of respiratory viruses that we see in the course of the winter season for example.”
Dr. Patterson says after we relaxed COVID-19 precautions, she believes it allowed different respiratory viruses to roar again as effectively.
Protections in opposition to the delta variant, and in opposition to COVID-19, additionally defend in opposition to the flu. These greatest practices being issues like good hygiene, staying dwelling whenever you’re sick and social distancing.