Adler: "Now is crunch time" in COVID-19 fight

Talk 1370 Newsroom
June 27, 2020 - 5:45 pm

    AUSTIN ( -- Mayor Steve Adler says Travis County is at a critical point in the fight against COVID-19 and a recent surge in cases and hospitalizations.

    Adler penned a letter to the community Saturday with his thoughts on the past week, saying now is the "most important time we've had so far" for everyone to be taking every precaution they can.

    Here’s why… The scientists, doctors and modelers at the University of Texas are telling us that on the current trajectory that we're on, we could well hit the capacity of our available COVID-19 hospital beds by mid-July. We have a window now, a very small window, maybe seven days -- maybe two weeks, to have people really change behaviors. To wear masks, to social distance so we can disrupt and at least slow the rate of our current trajectory.  
    The problem with this virus is that hospitalizations (the key indicator) is a trailing indicator. The people who are going to be in the hospital today got the virus three weeks ago. The people in the hospital three weeks from now are just getting the virus today. Even if we take drastic action, Austin’s hospitalization numbers are still going to continue to rise for the next three weeks. If we wait until we see things are bad, then we’ve waited too long. That's the way the virus has played out in cities across the world and it’s why many cities get caught short. I need you to know that NOW is crunch time. We must change our behaviors now to change course.
    As the Governor is saying, everybody should stay home if you can – especially if you are over 65, have an immune compromising disease or illness, or are someone in a susceptible community.  Or, if you are around someone like that.  Or around someone else who might be around someone like that.  We should all be avoiding public spaces as much as possible. If you do leave your home (to be inside or outside), we need to be masked if you’re around other people, keeping distance, and practicing superb hygiene (hand washing and being mindful of the surfaces we touch). All businesses, commercial entities, and venues are required to require face coverings for all employees and visitors over 10.

    Adler continued, saying individual choices will add up to the collective community response and determine the lives lost and those saved.

    In the letter, Adler also pointed out concern from the White House, including Dr. Deborah Birx, who listed Austin in a group of metro areas across the country categorized as "concerning" - with Austin having the highest metro positivity rate over the past week.

    Friday night, Adler said that Austin Public Health is changing its guidance for COVID-19 testing, once again limiting testing to only those who are exhibiting symptoms, due to demand outpacing the available supply of tests. Officials continue to urge anyone who has health insurance coverage to contact their doctor or insurance provider for testing services, freeing up the City's testing for uninsured patients.

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