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Austin could drop to Stage 4 restrictions by mid-February

After the region reached a peak in confirmed COVID-19 cases and related hospital admissions, ICU bed usage and ventilator usage over two weeks ago, Austin Public Health officials said the area could dip back down to Stage 4 restrictions in just two weeks.


Moving into Stage 4 will still require strict precautions, including avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, avoiding non-essential travel and maintaining basic social distancing and mask-wearing. Businesses are also asked to keep capacity below 50% at this stage, despite state orders that allow for up to 75%. In Stage 5, residents are encouraged to avoid gatherings completely and businesses are encouraged to provide only contactless options.

Despite seeing a slight uptick in COVID cases over the past few days, COVID hospital admissions continue to be on a decline with 41 admissions reported yesterday and a seven-day moving average of 68. To move to Stage 4, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott says COVID-related hospital admissions need to dip to a moving average below 60.

"I bring it up to 60 because the modeling indicates to us that once we drop below 60, we would be safe to transition back to stage four of our community-based risk," Escott said in the briefing.

City of Austin

With daily confirmed case numbers and related hospital admissions continuing to decline, Dr. Escott predicts Austin could drop below the 60-admission threshold by Feb. 18.

Despite this development, APH stressed the situation is still not under control. According to Escott, the continued overall decline in hospitalizations and positive cases hinges on adherence to the appropriate precautionary measures.

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