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(Baylor Scott & White Health/Facebook)

Austin Public Health officials held a moment of silence at a press conference Friday after the city tied for its record-high number previously set on July 24, 2020 with 12 COVID deaths. The city also saw 36 Austinites lose their lives to COVID this week, the highest of this summer's surge.

The single-day death toll was the highest since July 24, 2020, while the weekly deaths for the week of Sept. 3 nearly doubled from a week prior, when 19 residents lost their lives to COVID. The first surge spiked to 38 deaths in the week of July 23, 2020.

Weekly death rates are now higher than the same time last year as one child (with previous health conditions) died from COVID in the Austin area for the first time. The week of Sept. 4 saw nine deaths in 2020.

Austin Public Health officials said they were "cautiously optimistic" as cases and hospitalizations dipped for the first time in the third summer surge, but deaths and pediatric cases remain a concern as Austin public schools work to curb the surge in their in-person classrooms.

At the press conference, Austin Public Health officials said schools and large events with both unvaccinated and vaccinated people, including the University of Texas' first home football game on Saturday, could continue to add to the surge.

"The tailgating and parties are the places where we're really, really concerned that there may be some transmission, because those are situations where people will be close together in close contact congregating likely en masse and for long periods of time," Austin Public Health Authority Desmar Walkes said. "We want this to be a successful game for UT fans and that mask is really going to make a difference."

Austin Public Health officials reminded Austinites to stay safe during Labor Day weekend festivities, especially if unvaccinated, and do some "self-care" by wearing masks and getting vaccinated.


(Bob Daemmrich)

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Jordi is an Austin-based rapper who represented Texas at the 2021 Red Bull Batalla. (Esparza)

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