AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin well being leaders formally introduced Friday they’re shifting to Stage 4 risk-based tips in response to a current spike in COVID-19 instances and hospitalizations, largely fueled by the elevated presence of the delta variant. This would be the first time since February that our space has been in a stage that restrictive.
It begs the query: Can Austin-Travis County actually implement these tips? The reply, plainly, is not any. Well being leaders described the steering as a private “name to motion.”
“We’re asking that everyone take heed of the place we’re and work collectively to carry the case numbers down to assist us get by this,” Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Well being Authority, stated Friday.
The COVID-19 risk-based tips particularly deal with mask-wearing primarily based on vaccination standing. Stage 5 is essentially the most restrictive stage, which recommends unvaccinated folks go away house just for important outings.
The decision for private accountability Friday additionally got here with various questions on what well being consultants suggest on the subject of companies, college districts and enormous occasion venues. The rules don’t change native guidelines or laws for any of these entities.
“We’ve not made any modifications to capacities, we’re making this play to particular person residents,” Dr. Walkes stated.
Waterloo Information has been requiring masks of their retailer since final week, after the realm moved to Stage 3 tips (KXAN photograph/Grace Reader)
The Well being Authority stopped simply in need of asking companies to require masks, however did say companies have total been a robust companion in serving to maintain folks in our space protected in the course of the pandemic.
Dr. Meena Iyer, the Chief Medical Officer for Dell Youngsters’s Medical Heart, stated youngsters in hospitals with the delta variant are total sicker than youngsters docs had been seeing this time final yr. She steered college students and all college employees put on masks when the varsity yr begins lower than a month from now.
However what if I am vaccinated?
The shift to Stage 4 restrictions means some vaccinated folks, who beforehand haven’t been inspired to put on their masks except touring or required by federal legislation, are digging by their closets to search out their face coverings once more.
Liana Fonseca seems to be away as she receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine March 9, 2021. (AP Photograph/Marta Lavandier)
“It is a delta variant problem, in that it is a way more simply transmitted virus,” Dr. Walkes stated.
Dr. Walkes says they’re nervous about vaccinated residents carrying the delta variant to unvaccinated folks. The Well being Authority has beforehand reported that roughly 1 / 4 of individuals with breakthrough instances do not expertise signs, they usually concern many others do not get examined in any respect.
One of many Travis County residents who has gotten COVID-19 after being vaccinated is Dr. Bob Hunnicutt, a retired doctor.
He says he, and members of his household, all bought the virus after being absolutely vaccinated. Nonetheless, he urged his neighbors Friday to get vaccinated and says his sickness would have been a lot worse had he not been.
“I’m grateful that I had that vaccine,” he stated.