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Austin to remain at Stage 4 COVID risk level even as hospitalizations fall
(Austin Public Health)

The moving average of daily new COVID-related hospitalizations is now 39.9, just under the threshold for a Stage 3 risk designation. But Austin Public Health will not lower it until other indicators, such as ICU capacity, improve.

Although the daily average of new COVID-related hospitalizations dropped today below the threshold for a Stage 3 risk designation, the city will remain in Stage 4.


"We've seen over and over again that when we rush to open things, if we don't have the appropriate protections in place, it leads to cases surging and shutting the City down again," Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said in a statement issued Thursday, "and we do not want to be in that situation moving into the fall."

The seven-day moving average of daily new hospital admissions is currently 39.9, just under the upper limit of 40 for a Stage 3 designation.

While the hospital admissions rate is the key indicator used to determine the risk level, it is not the only one. APH also monitors other trends, such as the average number of daily new confirmed cases, ICU capacity and the doubling time—or how long it would take for the current caseload to double.

APH will consider a drop down to Stage 3—and the recommended increases in reopenings and social gatherings that come with it—only when ICU capacity improves and the rates of new daily confirmed cases and hospital admissions decline further.

For now, ICU capacity is "still very limited," according to the statement.

Austin's three hospital systems—Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health and St. David's HealthCare—reported an ICU occupancy rate of 83% on Tuesday, down from a high of 89% in mid-July.

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