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December 24, 2020 • 1:37 pm CST
(Vax Before Travel)

The City of Austin and Travis County, Texas, released orders on December 23, 2020, related to the move to Stage 5 of the COVID-19 risk-based guidelines. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this is the first time that Austin-Travis County has moved to the highest risk stage. The “Stay Home, Mask, and Otherwise Be Safe” orders will be in effect until January 11, 2021.

"This change was made based on a rapid increase in hospital admissions, cases, and test positivity rates across the community. Other key indicators for stage changes include the number of patients in the ICU, ventilator usage, and the 7-day moving average of cases trending upward."

According to data sources, Travis County's population of about 1.3 million residents has experienced 528 fatalities related to COVID-19.

"We are entering a dangerous time,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown, in a media statement. “If our community does its part and follows the Stage 5 recommendations being presented today, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and the necessity for more restrictive measures."