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?
Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said it reflects the relatively low number of COVID-related hospital admissions reported over the last couple of days.
On Monday, 11 people were admitted to hospitals in the Austin metro, far below the seven-day moving average of 26 at the time. Yesterday, 13 people were, and the moving average had fallen to 19.
The seven-day moving average number of daily hospital admissions has declined over the last two days, from 22.3 to 19.1.(Austin Public Health)
Escott attributed the drop in admissions to increased vigilance among Austinites after he and other local health officials sounded the alarm last week.
"As people respond, as people take more protective actions … we see an impact on transmission," he said on Wednesday. "We see an impact on cases. We see an impact on hospitalizations. That's exactly what we want to happen."
While updating council members and county commissioners on the local COVID situation yesterday, Escott cited the latest projections from the COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, which estimated there was a 100% chance the pandemic was growing locally.
But researchers hadn't yet included the latest hospital admissions data in their model, Escott explained. Once they did, it estimated there is a 38% chance the pandemic is growing locally.
This is "fantastic news," Escott said Wednesday. He also added that the projections are subject to change as people recommit to protective behaviors, such as masking and social distancing, or abandoning them.
For example, researchers at the consortium projected last month that Austin could reach a Stage 2 level of risk by October. "Unfortunately that was too optimistic, and we missed that mark," Escott said.
(COVID-19 Modeling Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin)
Although the projections now suggest around 250 hospital beds will be needed for COVID patients in the metro by Thanksgiving, down from 700 yesterday, Austin isn't out of the woods yet.
The consortium currently estimates there is a 79% chance the pandemic is growing in the Dallas area and an 88% chance it is in the El Paso area, where hospitals are already at capacity and a countywide curfew is in effect.
"This is certainly something we have to pay attention to because, as we saw this summer, surges in other jurisdictions across the state often predated surges of our own," Escott told commissioners Tuesday.
Another concern is a significant increase in the number of new COVID cases reported at long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes.
In the last two weeks, Austin-Travis County facilities reported 40 new cases—or four times the number reported in the previous two-week period.
Metro hospitals are preparing for a possible surge, and the field hospital at the Austin Convention Center "stands ready to take on additional patients," Escott said Wednesday.
In the meantime, local health officials stressed the importance of increased vigilance—despite pandemic fatigue—as the holiday season gets underway.
"We can't all surge at the same time," Escott said.
More today on COVID:
- There is a 96% chance the pandemic is growing in Austin - austonia ›
- COVID-19 'does spread silently' as Austin hits record high - austonia ›
- Austin's COVID cases decline after surge, but danger remains ... ›
- Austin parents are reimagining Halloween safely amid COVID-19 - austonia ›
- Austin's COVID curve is flat, despite increases across Texas - austonia ›
- Austin sees highest number of COVID cases since August - austonia ›
- Austin officials say reopening roll back is the next 'logical step' - austonia ›
- Everything we know about COVID-19 in Austin right now - austonia ›
- Austin sees COVID cases increase ahead of Thanksgiving - austonia ›
- Austin Mayor Steve Adler criticized for wedding, travel amid COVID - austonia ›
- Austin Mayor Steve Adler criticized for Cabo trip amid COVID - austonia ›
So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
Right now, you can get the fourth night FREE when you book three nights with the promo code BONUS! Check out the Offers page for full details and more promo codes!