The mountain of COVID-19 data released every day in Austin is easier to understand with visual aids.

Once a week, Austonia is taking a look at the previous seven days of COVID-19 statistics, all with the very helpful graphics of Austin resident and Reddit user Rational Anarchy, who has been producing daily visuals and posting them in the forum.

(Updated July 31. All graphics: Rational Anarchy/Reddit)

Travis County’s daily confirmed new COVID-19 cases decline, steadily 

Local officials reported steady declines in the number of new COVID-19 cases and average daily hospital admissions this week, after both trend lines plateaued last week.

"We're proud of the progress that we've made, and I think this is a result of a community that has been engaged together to really get a lid back on this," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott told City Council earlier this week.

While the seven-day moving average of new daily confirmed cases has dropped significantly—to 218 as of Thursday evening from a high of more than 550—it remains significantly higher than it had been until early June.

But Travis County’s reported COVID-19 deaths continue to rise

Death data does not yet show a plateau, however.

As of Thursday evening, Travis County reported 266 deaths, up from 229 a week ago. The 14-day moving average is now nearly six deaths per day, up from less than two a month ago. A week ago, the 14-day moving average of daily deaths was five.

The county's case fatality rate is also slightly higher than it was earlier this month: 1.3% as of Thursday evening, compared to 1.1% on July 9.

Dr. Escott attributed the increase to the fact that most of the patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the last week or so have been over 60—and at much higher risk of death.

While COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Austin metro are declining

The total number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 is also declining. As of Thursday evening, 388 people were hospitalized with the virus in the metro area, compared to 438 a week ago.

But ICU occupancy and ventilator use have only plateaued

While overall hospitalizations have declined, ICU occupancy has plateaued—and remains a concern. Austin's three hospital systems—Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health and St. David's HealthCare—reported an ICU occupancy rate of 83%, the same as the week prior.

"The ICUs are still stressed," Dr. Escott told county commissioners this week. "The personnel are stressed."

Ventilator use is showing a similar trend, despite the positive developments in other datasets, with 97 patients still requiring them.

Combined with the high proportion of hospitalized patients who are over 60 years of age, the ICU occupancy rate and ventilator usage suggest more fatalities to come.

"So I think this tells us … that we can expect that our death numbers are going to increase as these individuals have increased their representation among hospitalized individuals," Dr. Escott told council members.

Austin’s COVID-19 cases are most concentrated on the East Side 

New COVID-19 cases in Austin remain most densely concentrated on the city's East Side—and specifically in the ZIP codes 78660, 78753 and 78744.

Austin Public Health has opened testing sites in these areas to serve those most in need and has also targeted outreach to the city's Latino and Black populations, who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized with and dying from COVID-19.

Austin’s older residents remain most at risk of dying from COVID-19

While young people aged 20-39 make up nearly half of the total confirmed COVID-19 cases, they are much more likely to avoid hospitalization and recover.

In sharp contrast, people 60 years and older make up only 12% of confirmed COVID-19 cases but account for 83% of reported deaths, according to Austin Public Health.

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