As the incidence of coronavirus in Travis County continues to decline, social removal orders can be eased just in time to enjoy cooler fall conditions with friends.
Mayor Steve Adler first considered possible changes to social distancing orders during a virtual public briefing Monday night.
Adler said that once Travis County’s seven-day moving average drops to 10 new hospitalizations, health officials could allow larger gatherings, especially outdoors.
The average for seven days on Monday night is 13, according to the city board.
Dr Mark Escott, the Austin-Travis County Provisional Health Authority, reiterated Adler’s statements to commissioners during a public hearing on Tuesday.
Over the past three weeks, Escott said the moving average for hospital admissions has risen between 1
Escott did not say how soon she believed the seven-day moving average would drop to 10. However, she said residents should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing to help push the average even further.
If Travis County still moves to Stage 2, it will mean that residents will again be allowed to gather in groups of 25 or less.
As of Tuesday afternoon, residents were allowed to gather at no more than 10.
Escott told commissioners last week that the coronavirus was likely to be the third leading killer in Travis County this year.
The region’s top health authority added that several false messages were circulating in the community, which it hoped to clear. One misconception is that COVID-19, a disease caused by the coronavirus, is as dangerous as the flu. A second falsehood is that masks do not help prevent the spread of the virus.
Both are far from the truth.
Hoping to illustrate the danger of the disease, Escott told commissioners last week that COVID-19 was likely to be the third largest killer in the area by the end of this year.
According to vital Austin Public Health records from 2018, for example, cerebrovascular disease has caused 337 deaths in Travis County. Accidents (512 deaths), heart disease (1,092 deaths) and cancer (1,229 deaths) are the top three leading causes of death in 2018, officials said.
As of Monday this year, the county has registered 426 deaths from COVID-19.
This is an evolving story; check for updates.