ASL Stage Four News Conference - Austin/Travis County

Last week the three of us talked publicly about a concern that we were seeing and that was in relation to both a substantial increase in new cases as well as an increase in hospitalizations and last week we had another discussion about our concerns that our primary indicator for staging the new hospital admissions was heading towards that number of 20 and we were concerned about it crossing over into 20.

That happened last night and you know having looked at that as well as a number of supporting indicators we've made the decision to transition to a stage four in terms of risk in the Austin Travis County area.

Really the critical changes are the advice in relation to a gathering sizes. If you remember all the stages involved the masking and the social distancing and the personal hygiene and there's going be variation based upon whether or not an individual themselves or in their household is at higher risk for complications for those individuals they need to be more protective they need to take less risk and that's the things that I spoke about earlier that is limiting gatherings to two or less that's in eliminating social gatherings that aren't essential particularly those as Sarah Eckhardt said earlier that don't involve protective behaviors the masking and the social distancing.

For those who are at lower risk you know that thresholds a little higher that's 10 individuals in a gathering space you know this is again not about shocking people we don't want people to live in fear we want them to be smart we want them to understand the evidence and be informed when the situation changes and quite clearly the situation has changed in Travis County in the last week now we've seen an increase in hospitalizations we’ve seen an increase in cases we’ve seen an increase in the ICU's and the ventilator use and substantial change in our doubling time these are all warning signs and we are empowered to make the change we are empowered to flatten a curve again and if we follow those guidelines in the staging criteria in the category four stage four the orange stage then we have a better chance of flattening the curve again.