Over 29% of Travis County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, and 12% are fully vaccinated, state data revealed Friday morning.
Austin Public Health, one of the county's vaccine hub providers, has given nearly 140,000 cumulative first and second doses since March 20, according to APH data.
With over a quarter of residents at least partially vaccinated, cases are also on the sharp decline. Since March 18, there have been only six new COVID cases at long-term care facilities, a 98% drop since Jan. 21. Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said that early prioritization of long-term care residents and staff has helped limit cases.
"Every person living in a long-term care facility is someone's loved one–mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers," Escott said. "By prioritizing them at the beginning of vaccine distribution, additional lives were saved and has improved the ability of family members to more safely visit their loved ones in these facilities."
Although new cases have risen slightly in the past two days, with 106 new cases on March 25, the downward trend line continues. For five days from March 16-21, new cases in Austin were under 100 daily, according to APH's COVID dashboard.
The state will allow all adults over age 16 to qualify for vaccinations starting Monday, March 29, but Austin still isn't quite ready to open up to everyone. Although 29% of residents are vaccinated, Austin is going to continue to prioritize those in 1A, 1B and 1C categories.
So far, over 60% of residents 65 years or older have been at least partially vaccinated in Travis County, and 23.4% of total doses administered by APH have gone to those 60 or older.
APH continues to receive 12,000 weekly shipments, but the city is expecting more doses next week and is anticipating a much higher vaccine supply going into April.
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Giga Texas, the massive Tesla factory in southeast Travis County is getting even bigger.
The company filed with the city of Austin this week to expand its headquarters with a new 500,000-square-foot building. The permit application notes “GA 2 and 3 expansion,” which indicates the company will make two general assembly lines in the building.
More details about the plans for the building are unclear. The gigafactory has been focused on Model Y production since it opened in April, but the company is also aiming for Cybertruck production to kick off in mid-2023.
While there is room for expansion on the 3.3 square miles of land Tesla has, this move comes after CEO Elon Musk’s recent comments about the state of the economy and its impact on Tesla.
In a May interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley, Musk said the gigafactories in Berlin and Austin are “gigantic money furnaces” and said Giga Texas had manufactured only a small number of cars.
And in June, Musk sent a company wide email saying Tesla will be reducing salaried headcount by 10%, then later tweeted salaried headcount should be fairly flat.
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