KVUE — Austin may move into Stage 5 of the risk-based guidelines outlined by the city's health leaders if new coronavirus cases don't slow down, the top doctor said in a briefing two weeks after the Thanksgiving holiday.
The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Austin-Travis County is up 131 percent from one month ago. More than 300 are in the hospital, and 100 of those are in the ICU.
Dr. Mark Escott, Austin's health authority, said if we continue to see new cases at this rate, the city may need to scale things back even more by the start of the Texas legislative session on January 12.
"If the transmission stays as it has been, then we will start that legislative session in Stage 5," Escott said at a Travis County Commissioners Court meeting.
Austin and Travis County are currently in Stage 4 of the city's risk-based guidelines. In Stage 5, everyone is advised to avoid all gatherings with anyone outside of your household and avoid in-person dining and shopping. Under Stage 5, businesses, including restaurants, are also recommended to only operate through contactless options such as curbside and delivery.
Escott said he also might recommend pausing extracurricular activities at schools and imposing a city curfew if Stage 5 is deemed necessary.
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