Austin Public Health issues color-coded, 5-stage risk chart as number of new COVID cases remains stable
In an effort to balance COVID containment with economic stability, Austin Public Health debuted a color-coded chart that identifies the local risk of coronavirus spread and issues recommendations for high-risk individuals, the public at large and the workplace.
"This document is not designed to guide policy," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said at a virtual press conference Thursday morning. "This document is designed to guide individual behavior based on their risk."
The Austin metro is currently at Stage 3, with Stage 5 being the highest. At this level, APH recommends people continue to maintain social distancing, wear masks, restrict social gatherings to 10 people or fewer and limit visits to reopened businesses.
APH developed the chart in collaboration with the city's expert panel, researchers at the University of Texas and elected officials. The local risk level is now included in the Travis County COVID-19 dashboard and will be updated daily based on a number of factors.
"As much as we'd like to identify one highly reliable trigger, there are lots of triggers," Dr. Escott said, comparing the local COVID-19 forecast to predicting the weather—a lot of factors come into play.
Texas businesses began a phased reopening May 1. So far, local data does not indicate a new surge has begun. The doubling rate is now 23 days, and the daily increase in new confirmed cases has remained relatively steady for about six weeks.
"This is why we're willing to accept more risk," Dr. Escott said.
But he continued to urge Austin residents to keep up certain precautions, including social distancing and wearing masks while in public, and said we likely won't see the full impact of recent policy changes for another couple of weeks. "What we are seeing in the flattening of the curve is the effect of the treatment," he said. "The treatment has to continue."
At Stage 1, the guidelines allow for gatherings in large groups, the reopening of all businesses and an end to social distancing and masking. But Dr. Escott said we are unlikely to return to normal until a vaccine is widely available.
Like the local Stay Home-Work Safe orders, the chart's guidelines are largely unenforceable.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt (who has since stepped down) extended those orders last week, despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's advancing reopening plan. On Tuesday, Attorney General Ken Paxton's office sent a letter to the local officials asking them to "correct" their orders, which he said conflict with state rules, and threatened litigation.
In a video update posted to Facebook, Adler said the letter politicizes the pandemic. "I will not follow the attorney general's office down that path," he added.
Dr. Escott said he believes this chart system complements the governor's orders and is in service to the goal of preserving public health while also supporting the economy.
"I know there's been a lot of controversy regarding masks," he said. "I think it is a small step that individuals can take to protect other people—to protect themselves. It is really something that is critical that we consider if we really want to keep business open; if we want to protect workers of those businesses; if we want to protect ourselves and our families."
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The Austin City Council on Friday unanimously approved a measure to add to the November ballot the massive $7.1B "Project Connect," a 20-year overhaul of Austin's transit system that would include a new light rail and "rapid bus" lines.
The council plans to add it to the ballot in a formal order next week, members said. Then it's up to voters to decide whether to approve it.
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Life was so sweet for live music junkies living in the Live Music Capital of the World—up until the venues closed, the stages went dark, and the world of Austin music closed down.
Miss your places? Miss your people? Miss blowing all your money on music?
Jagtronica Wednedsays, Purple Bee TV<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a2cab8a9562f05e4d4667d82dfca7bd"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/KbeRftaXIZg?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Interstellar grooves and psychedelic explorations improvised by a full band - live in the <a href="http://purplebeetv.org" target="_blank">Purple Bee</a> studios. Wednesdays 8 p.m.</p>
Patrice Pike Band Keep the Faith Livestream<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a94897344c627ae7362202afe441fa05"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/PatricePikeBand/videos/324002002065701" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>Iconic hard rock favorite unplugs in her home space. Thursdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. </p>
Afro Jazz Saturdays at the Sahara Lounge<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d5519cfcd8eee1dc9add8a63b3c1b66f"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/SaharaLoungeATX/videos/217338429591881" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>Join this East Austin gem of a bar for regular virtual live shows from the stage, including a regular online residency by African jazz musicians Ibrahim Aminou and Aboubacar Sylla. Saturdays 8 p.m. https://www.facebook.com/SaharaLoungeATX</p>
KUTX Livestreams<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="950f84e2286e0dc0304d59aa99edfbc1"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/QNVfbrr_v0M?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>This local Austin-centric arm of KUT hosts various performance livestreams nearly every day of the week. Find their schedule here. </p>
Live in the Virtual Gallery with Bonnie Whitmore<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vbWVkaWEucmJsLm1zL2ltYWdlP3U9JTJGY29udGVudCUyRjU2ZTVkNGU4MWQwN2MwNzQzZDI4MWQ2MyUyRjE1OTYxNDgzMjQ1MjctTlQ2VlFQM1ZNM0daR0VMNTQ1OEElMkZCVyUyQmF1Z3VzdC5wbmclM0Zmb3JtYXQlM0QxNTAwdyUyNmNvbnRlbnQtdHlwZSUzRGltYWdlJTJGcG5nJmhvPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGaW1hZ2VzLnNxdWFyZXNwYWNlLWNkbi5jb20mcz00OCZoPWQ0YmY4MjkzMTA2OTRkNjdjNzQ1ZmNhODhjNGQ3ZDI4YWY3YTE2ZDgyZjM3OTI4MjVkOGJmY2U3MTk0NjU2YWYmc2l6ZT05ODB4JmM9MTI2MDUxNzQxNiIsImV4cGlyZXNfYXQiOjE2NDg3MTY2NzJ9.J2ntaGHE00UZvxWETyI9XZ3xC3iC1nAAo8bk38ILkyA/img.jpg" id="72e14" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dc34d23c5508b20dfea2642717052bfd" />August 2020 — Bonnie Whitmore
BettySoo's Nobody's Happy (Online and Isolated) Hour<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.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.gaEmnDK5F-J8rgXWUIAnXGHJOveE-ub3wm8UUPTLrhA/img.jpg" id="82829" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d4fa34ac0fa355da87c02e8572d3fe46" />BettySoo's Nobody's Happy Hour - Summer 2020
DJ Mel's Living Room Dance Party<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="45581c8bb0ae6cf0ddbe03e775d6825f"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=3446714958713944" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>A streaming staple practically since the day the venues shut down, DJ Mel Cavaricci (aka DJ Mel) spins from his living room. Saturdays 6-10p.m.</p>
Dreadneck Wednesdays from the Flamingo Cantina<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.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.Txy1LrSKsTPNG0dDU0xjlU2KkBu5cmcE8txaOdO8I_M/img.jpg" id="7c376" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ebccf8a39ef46845384013bb233d0747" />Dreadneck Wednesdays Live Stream w/ Mau Mau Chaplains
James McMurtry's Wednesday residency<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="46c8760066753cce717a6a3335d5f43d"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/8637988681/videos/608632053134073" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>A fixture on the alt-country music scene in Austin and beyond, McMurtry brings his weekly residency at Continental Club home to you (from his place) with opening acts. Wednesdays 8 p.m. </p>
Not at Donn's Depot<div class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b8a0b32db58eccac4a2695a8eb2f4747"><div class="fb-video" data-href="https://www.facebook.com/chrisgageaustin/videos/10159892023859008" data-allowfullscreen="true"></div></div><p>The slightly obvious but oh-so-telling title for pianist Chris Gage's Monday livestream, where he tickles the ivories from his home studio, joined occasionally by wife Christine Albert, and recreates his popular and long-running Monday residency at Donn's. Mondays 8 p.m. </p>
Jackie Venson<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d41a9251d5c15ad731ae31c77455a79a"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/43xotR5fRNM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Austin born-and-bred singer songwriter, brings her guitar and her truth-telling music to her live-streaming page. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 9 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. <a href="https://jackievenson.com/livestream/" target="_blank">https://jackievenson.com/livestream/</a></p>
The Austin Justice Coalition is clearly frustrated with city leadership, which has not responded to its request to cut $100 million in funding from the Austin Police Department and remove Chief Brian Manley (or make him resign).
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The group behind a petition to put a citywide public-camping ban on the November ballot in Austin said Thursday that they were "engaging a highly respected local Democratic litigator" in their efforts to fight a city ruling earlier in the week that their petition did not enough valid signatures.
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David Frost, 22, had never attended a protest before the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in May. Then the cell phone-wielding Austinite became a key player in a series of events that touched off major change in the Austin Police Department.
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