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Austin adopts new COVID guidelines aligned with CDC

(Laura Figi/Austonia)

A week after all COVID-19 city and county orders were lifted, Austin Public Health has released new guidance to reduce any future strain on healthcare systems.

The new risk-based guidelines are aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention metrics and include three levels, in which the community risk level is currently low. COVID cases have been the lowest in the pandemic since last week, although Monday saw an uptick in positive cases with at least 100 traced to SXSW.

At the current low level, precautions such as mask-wearing and social distancing are optional when gathering, dining and shopping for both vaccinated and at-risk individuals. This further aligns with the city lifting COVID orders last week for the first time since March 2020.

Here are the stages:

The levels will be determined using a combination of new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 population in the past seven days, the percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past seven days.

“We continue to adapt our response as we enter a new phase of this pandemic,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “While we enjoy the progress we’ve made, we should remember that this isn’t over yet; the potential for new variants still poses a threat.”


A mortgage banker walks us through the math on purchasing a 'mid-price' Austin home

So you want to buy a house?

To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.

Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.

Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.

So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.

Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.

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