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Declining cases bring Austin COVID risk level down to Stage 3

(Sonia Garcia)

Austin Public Health is downgrading to Stage 3 of its COVID risk-based guidelines as of Tuesday, attributing the shift to declining COVID hospital admissions and more vaccinations in the community.

At Stage 3, APH recommends those vaccinated continue to mask up indoors only in private settings and are free to go without a mask when outdoors, dining or shopping. Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals are asked to mask up both indoors and outdoors when not able to socially distance. Additionally, high-risk individuals are advised to avoid crowded indoor venues and unessential travel.

COVID hospitalizations have been in the Stage 3 threshold since the start of the month with a moving average of new hospitalizations at 19.4 as of Monday. Austin Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said almost all hospitalized are unvaccinated in Austin.

"Now is not the time to let our guard down. While our numbers are dramatically better than they were at the peak of this surge, we need to remain committed with the widespread, highly transmissible Delta variant," Walkes said.

COVID cases have been on a steady decline since the end of August after a summer surge that impacted hospitals. The positivity rate of COVID has dropped 60% from 14.8% to 5.9% from its peak in early August.

Hospitals are seeing relief with local ICU patients decreasing over 62% from 237 patients on Aug. 22 to 90 on Oct. 11. Pediatric cases continue to be a concern with eight kids admitted to hospitals Monday and two going to PICU.

Health officials are urging residents to wear a mask to continue showing less COVID risk in the community and to get vaccinated. Of those eligible for the vaccine, 71% are fully vaccinated.

"When we work together to wear masks, get vaccinated, and stay home when we are sick, we can protect our community, our hospitals, our healthcare workers, and drive COVID cases down," APH Health Director Adrienne Sturrup said.


1923 Lake Austin mansion demolition request pitting preservationists and some neighbors against owner and city preservation office
Austin Monitor

By Jonathan Lee

The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.

The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'

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Freaky Floats and other Austin food & drink news
Austin Motel

What's new in Austin food & drink this week:

  • Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
  • Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
  • Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
  • Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
  • Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
  • Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
  • The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
  • Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
  • P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.