COVID-19 News

Austin enters final Stage 5 in risk-based coronavirus guidelines

Austin enters final Stage 5 in risk-based coronavirus guidelines

Coronavirus COVID-19
Austin has returned to Stage 5 — the final step on the COVID-19 risk chart. Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images

KVUE — The City of Austin on Wednesday, December 23, officially entered Stage 5 in its risk-based COVID-19 guidelines, marking the final and most strict stage of recommendations.

This comes after the area surpassed the hospitalizations threshold on December 21, with a rolling seven-day average of 50.1. Travis County health officials previously said they would consider moving to the next stage once that metric rose above 50.

While hospitalizations were a big driving factor, other metrics that play a role in moving stages include how many people are in the ICU, how many ventilators are being used, the positivity rate and the seven-day moving average of new cases.

On December 22, Interim Medical Director and Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said Austin Public Health would be monitoring trends for a few days before making the call to move from Stage 4 to Stage 5.

In Stage 5, everyone is advised to avoid all gatherings with anyone outside of your household and avoid in-person dining and shopping. Businesses, including restaurants, are also recommended to only operate through contactless options such as curbside and delivery. 

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