After a few weeks of steady decline, the number of new coronavirus cases in Travis County is hitting a troublesome plateau, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said Tuesday.
"This makes us concerned that we are no longer headed in a good direction, that we are flattening out" rather than improving, Escott told the Travis County Commissioners Court. "Particularly because we are about 30 days from the start of in-person schooling, we have to do better."
Nevertheless, Escott said, the various statistics Austin Public Health uses to track the spread of coronavirus in the region show that Travis County has entered Stage 3 territory, potentially giving way to less stringent public-health restrictions in the coming weeks.
But Escott said he is not ready to make that call, which would expand the number and type of businesses considered safe to be open.
For officials to be comfortable downgrading the county to Stage 3 restrictions, Escott said they would need two weeks' worth of numbers supporting that level.
"We've seen over and over again, across the country and across the globe, that when communities relax too soon, it results in a bounce of cases and a repeat surge," Escott said.
Better news, he said, is that ICU and hospital-bed usage in Austin are still down, and the city has more than enough ventilators to handle a large surge in cases.
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You've seen and heard messaging from the city, transit opponents, and the big money PACs. You've probably read Emma Freer's in-depth, multi-part series, a fact-based exploration of Project Connect—and the tax rate election proposal, known as Proposition A, that would fund it—from multiple perspectives.
Chances are, if you moved to Austin in the past two years, it was probably for a tech job.
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With films like Coco streaming on Disney+ and Day of the Dead Barbies lining Walmart shelves, it is clear that the commercial aspects of Dia de los Muertos are alive and well.
(Chris Caselli/Mexic-Arte Museum)
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Today is going to be a windy one, according to The National Weather Service, which predicted breezy conditions in the Austin area and South Central Texas.
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In round figures the 18 active candidates running for the five seats on the Austin City Council raised a quarter-million dollars just in the last few weeks alone and they spent more than a half-million dollars during the same period. Total fundraising to date is nearly $1.2 million.
Social media bots may have influenced the 2016 election, but experts at The University of Texas are more worried about social media influencers changing the outcome of this year's presidential race.
Yesterday UT models projected an early November surge in Austin. Today they dramatically say otherwise.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin estimate there is a 38% chance the COVID-19 pandemic is growing locally, down from an estimated 100% chance yesterday.
What accounts for this 62% overnight drop?
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