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Austin Public Health issued post-Thanksgiving guidelines on Friday, recommending that residents avoid higher-risk activities such as attending crowded, indoor gatherings; going on hayrides with people outside of one's household; traditional caroling and other door-to-door activities; and traveling for events.


"COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising locally, across Texas and the United States," APH Director Stephanie Hayden said in a statement. "It is critically important that everyone do their part to combat COVID-19 by avoiding gatherings and travel this holiday season."

As of this morning, it appeared the traditional Black Friday crowds would not materialize at local big box stores.

APH also issued recommendations for people who did gather over Thanksgiving or otherwise engaged in higher-risk activities. The department recommends getting testing three to five days after gathering and staying home for a week as a precaution, even if the test results are negative. Those who test positive should isolate themselves, and those who don't get tested should quarantine for 14 days.

As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, Travis County reported an average of 273 new COVID cases each day, up from 222 a week ago. The average number of new COVID-related hospitalizations each day is now 37, up from 32 a week ago, according to APH.

Austin-area hospital systems—Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & white Health and St. David's HealthCare—report 74% overall occupancy and 82% ICU occupancy.

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Grant Weddle, 23, isn't totally sure how he contracted COVID-19.

"I had this girl, we weren't dating … but we were talking and hanging out and whatnot," he told Austonia. She went out to the bars one night in early December, and after spending time with her, they had both developed symptoms.

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U.S. House Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, met with members of the Texas National Guard on Friday.

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, spent the afternoon of Jan. 6 barricaded in his office in the Rayburn House Office Building, with a sofa and a baseball bat as protection against what he called the terrorists on the other side of the door.

"It was a really dark day for the United States," he told Austonia.

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