From the City of Austin: Austin Public Health (APH) has published a color-coded chart to help residents of Austin-Travis County understand the stages of risk and provide recommendations on what people should do to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new risk-based guidelines set out five distinct stages of risk, from the lowest threat, Stage 1, through the most serious, Stage 5, along with recommended behaviors for each stage. View the Risk-Based Guidelines HERE.
Based on an assessment using provisional modeling, Austin Public Health currently considers Austin-Travis County to be in the Stage 3 risk category.
For lower-risk individuals, defined as those with no substantial underlying health conditions who have a lower risk of complication and death from COVID-19, the recommendations are as follows:
Stage 1: Practice good hygiene, stay home if sick, and avoid other people who are sick. APH is working on recommendations for maximum sizes of gatherings. Individuals are advised they are safe to return to work at all businesses.
Stage 2: Includes the recommendations for Stage 1 and adds: Maintain social distancing and wear fabric face coverings in public. Individuals are urged to avoid dining and shopping except with precautions, and to avoid gathering in groups of more than 25 people. They are advised they are safe to return to work at essential and reopened businesses.
Stage 3: Includes the recommendations for Stage 2 and also urges individuals to avoid non-essential travel, all social gatherings, and any gatherings of more than 10 people.
Stage 4: Includes the recommendations for Stage 3 and advises individuals they are safe to return to work, and dine and shop, only at “expanded essential businesses”. This category will be defined shortly.
Stage 5: Includes the recommendations for Stage 4 and urges individuals to avoid all gatherings outside of the household and avoid dining and shopping except as essential. In this stage it is considered safe to return to work at essential businesses only.
APH is currently exploring the most effective indicators to help determine the level of risk in the local community. Provisional triggers are being modeled based on the number of hospitalizations because of their general correlation with numbers of cases, use of ventilators, deaths, and availability of effective treatment and vaccination. While the new guidelines are primarily designed as a resource to help individuals modify their behavior to protect themselves and others against transmission of COVID-19, they will also be used to inform APH recommendations around when restrictions on gatherings, business operations, and events should be loosened or tightened in the months ahead.
By encouraging a cautious, phased approach to normalizing activity, underpinned by medical data, APH hopes to minimize the risk of a further spike in transmissions that would cause further economic disruption and hardship to the community.
Risk Based Guidelines – FINAL(1)
For additional information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.