TODAY: Travis County health officials to update public on coronavirus – News – Austin American-Statesman

Travis County health officials on Friday are set to hold their weekly public update regarding the area’s status and response regarding COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Dr. Mark Escott, interim Austin-Travis County health authority, will be joined by Janet Pichette, the Austin-Travis County chief epidemiologist, for the virtual briefing at 11 a.m.

The public can watch the briefing live on the Austin Public Health website, or check back to the American-Statesman for updates as they become available.

Earlier this week, government and health officials hinted they were on the verge of easing social distancing orders as coronavirus cases in the Austin-Travis County area have seen a decline in recent weeks.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, speaking at a virtual public briefing Monday night, said once Travis County’s seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions for the coronavirus drops to 10, health officials may allow for larger gatherings, especially outdoors.

The seven-day average as of Friday morning was 12, with 15 new hospital admissions reported Thursday evening, according to the city’s online data dashboard.

Escott echoed Adler’s statements to county commissioners during a public meeting Tuesday morning.

In the past three weeks, the moving average for new hospital admissions for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has bounced between 12 and 18, Escott said.

He did not say how soon he expects the seven-day average to drop to 10. He did say, though, that residents should still avoid crowds and wear masks to help continue the downward trend.

Travis County is currently in Stage 3 of Austin Public Health’s risk-based guidelines, which allow social gatherings of no more than 10 for people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms.

If Travis County does move into Stage 2, the most significant change would be that gatherings could increase to a maximum of 25 people.

According to Austin Public Health, any changes to Adler’s orders must align with Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening plan for Texas.

This is a developing story; check back for updates.

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