Austin, Texas – Austin Public Health (APH) updated the COVID-19 Risk-Based Guidelines today, May 4, to clarify personal behavior recommendations for those who are fully vaccinated versus those who are partially or not vaccinated.
Individuals who are vaccinated may:
- Attend private indoor gatherings in Stages 1-5, with precautions recommended in Stages 3-5
- Attend private outdoor gatherings in Stages 1-5, with precautions recommended in Stages 4-5
- Travel in Stages 1-5, with precautions recommended
- Dine and shop in Stages 1-5, with precautions recommended in Stages 2-5
Individuals who are partially or not vaccinated may:
- Attend private indoor and outdoor gatherings in Stages 1-2, and Stage 3 if low risk, with precautions recommended
- Travel in Stages 1-2, and Stage 3 if low risk, with precautions recommended
- Dine and shop in Stages 1-2, and Stage 3 if low risk, with precautions recommended
Regardless of vaccination status or stage, individuals need to continue to follow the additional requirements of local businesses, venues and schools, as the Health Authority Rules remain in place through May 18.
“We want people to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “Now and certainly in the future as the vaccination rate improves, there will be improved freedom associated with vaccination. In other words, the need to continue masking and the other necessary precautions will continue to decrease for those who are vaccinated.”
Additionally, the threshold to enter Stage 2 has been updated to 5-14 new hospital admissions on the 7-day moving average. The threshold to enter Stage 1 has also been updated to less than 5 new hospital admissions on the 7-day moving average or 70%-90% herd immunity is achieved through vaccination.
While APH monitors the 7-day moving average of COVID-19 new hospital admissions as the primary key indicator for the Risk-Based Guidelines, additional key indicators, including positivity rate, the doubling time of new cases and current ICU and ventilator patients, are monitored to determine the current staging.
“As a result of both declining length of hospital stays and declining mortality rates, we feel comfortable reassessing the transition of stages,” added Dr. Escott. “We expect that there is going to be a long tail in terms of achieving vaccine herd immunity or completely getting COVID-19 out of our community. So, we expect that we may see a slow declining plateau of cases, and as the vaccination rate improves in the community, and we hit 70% to 90% vaccinated we could look at transitioning to Stage 1 safely.”
Austin-Travis County remains in Stage 3 of the Risk-Based Guidelines, with a current 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions of 17.
For additional COVID-19 information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.