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Local COVID cases plateau after slight uptick; health authority urges caution ahead of flu season

After a recent uptick in new confirmed COVID-19 cases, it appears the trend line is plateauing again and the local positivity rate is holding steady, at around 6%, Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott told county commissioners on Tuesday.

"We've had this increase since the beginning of September that's leveling off a bit," he said.


Escott attributed the increase to new cases among older children and young adults. In the last week, he said, more than half of the confirmed COVID cases reported in Travis County have been among the 10-19 and 20-29 age groups.

Despite this trend, however, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations fell over the same time period—and continues to decline. This is because younger people who contract the disease have a much lower risk of requiring hospital care than older people.

The seven-day moving average number of daily new COVID hospital admissions is 14, down from nearly 18 on Sept. 1.

Additionally, in the last three weeks the number of hospital beds filled by COVID patients has declined 45%, the number of ICU beds filled by COVID patients has declined 49% and the use of ventilators by COVID patients has declined by 56%.

"We're very pleased with our hospital capacity right now," Escott said. "Once again, there's plenty of room for folks in the hospital."

There is still concern, however, that Austinites may be delaying preventative care for fear of taking up space at area hospitals or contracting COVID. Escott encouraged residents not to do this and to stay up to date with their regular appointments—especially immunizations.

The looming flu season has sparked fears of a "twindemic."

Last year, which saw a particularly bad flu season, local ICUs hit capacity from flu patients alone, Escott told commissioners.

"Our hospitals cannot handle surges of both," he said. "We're going to have to ration care."

Escott encouraged Austinites to get vaccinated before the flu season picks up later this fall. He also advised continued caution, especially for those at high risk, or who live with high risk individuals, of contracting COVID-19.

"It's the circumstances of social gatherings (where) we're seeing transmission," he said, explaining that new cases have been tracked to college parties and family gatherings.

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Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway