COVID-19 watch

Austin stay-home order extended through mid-December as COVID-19 cases plateau

Austin extends stay-home order to mid-December as COVID cases plateau

Downtown Austin skyline
The order, set to expire August 15, has been extended until December 15. Nicholas McComber/Getty Images

KVUE — Stay-home orders in Austin and Travis County are extended until December 15 as Austin's coronavirus cases plateau.

In an announcement on Friday, August 14, Austin and Travis County leaders adopted revised orders to slow the spread of the virus. In addition to the orders, leaders are asking citizens to continue to practice good hygiene, practice social distancing, and wear face coverings.

Mayor Steve Adler said the city extended the "Stay Home, Work Safe" order to December 15; the order was set to expire on August 15. Earlier on Friday, Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe also extended Travis County's mask mandate and disaster declaration.

The order extension continues the provisions from the previous order, which include wearing fabric face coverings when in public; socially distancing six feet away from others; and practicing excellent hygiene by washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds, cleaning high-touch surfaces, and sneezing and coughing into your elbow.

Read the Austin order here and the Travis County order here.

As schools reopen campuses, the Austin order stipulates each school must follow a phased-in approach based on risk-based stages, unless that would result in a loss of funding from the Texas Education Agency. Those stages include 100 percent virtual learning at Stage 5, up to 25 percent on-campus learning at Stage 4, up to 50 percent on-campus learning at Stage 3, up to 75 percent on-campus learning at Stage 2, and up to 100 percent on-campus learning at Stage 1.

While hospital ICU capacity has left the surge stage, Austin remains in Stage 4 of its COVID-19 response, according to Austin Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott.

"We are still concerned about the fact that we are plateauing right now," Escott said on August 4. "And in terms of new cases, we're seeing a small increase in the number of positive cases."

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