Austin Public Health revises risk-based guidelines chart | FOX 7 Austin

AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Public Health has adjusted its risk-based guidelines chart to accommodate for updated information regarding hospital capacity and current data.

The changes were made to the "Recommended threshold: 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions" part of the chart, as according to the hospital systems, the five-county Austin MSA has approximately 1,500 beds available to treat COVID-19 patients.

The revisions also account for average length of hospital stay, which, according to APH, fluctuates daily. Currently the majority of hospitalized COVID-19 patients stay in the hospital nine days or less.

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The triggers for the different stages have been revised to give the community the ability to remain in Stage 4 for a longer period of time before crossing into Stage 5. The new stage thresholds are:

In Stage 4, the exact hospitalization average trigger will depend on the rate of increase. A faster increase in the daily average will trigger Stage 5 risk recommendations when the number reaches the lower end of this range. As of June 28, the 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions is 52.

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The previous stage threshold triggers were:

According to APH, the risk stages system illustrates the regression and progress of several factors, including doubling time, healthcare capacity, and testing positivity rate on a seven-day moving average. These key indicators will inform recommendations on the tightening or loosening of restrictions on physical distancing, mass gatherings, business operations, and other safety measures in the months ahead. 

Austin-Travis County is currently in Stage 4. At this stage, higher-risk individuals (those over the age of 65 and those who have chronic medical conditions) should avoid social gatherings and any gatherings greater than two people. They should also avoid all non-essential travel and avoid dining and shopping unless it is essential. At all times and levels, APH continues to urge the community to continue:

Given the increased demand for testing, APH is now prioritizing testing for those who are symptomatic, in a congregate setting, employed with critical infrastructure and vulnerable populations. 

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