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APH shifts down to Stage 4 COVID guidelines as new omicron subvariant detected in Austin


Austin Public Health has downgraded the city to Stage 4 COVID guidelines for the first time since before the omicron surge as case numbers and the area's community transmission rate continues to drop.

Positivity rates have also dipped significantly since the omicron surge peaked in mid-January, when more than one in three COVID tests in Austin came back positive.

Here are the Stage 4 guidelines:

  • Fully vaccinated and/or boosted residents should mask up when gathering with anyone outside their household, including while dining, traveling and shopping
  • Partially and fully unvaccinated individuals, including those who need their booster dose, should also mask up and avoid gathering with people outside of their household. APH recommends limiting travel and shopping to essential trips only and use curbside options whenever available.
While numbers have dipped significantly in the month since omicron's peak, a lab also reported the first case of omicron's BA.2 subvariant in Austin-Travis County this week. The subvariant is 39% more transmissible than omicron but is not more resistant to vaccines and boosters than previous variants, according to APH.


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