Austin health officials worry about second wave of COVID-19

Talk 1370 Newsroom
May 28, 2020 - 9:12 am
Austin SoCo South Congress street

AUSTIN ( -- Are Austinites taking too many risks as the state re-opens businesses? That's the fear from Austin's health leaders.

Officials spoke Wednesday on the concern over a potential second wave of COVID-19 cases that could hit Austin in June.

"The [University of Texas] model, other models, are all suggesting that beginning mid-June and particularly toward the end of June that we may see a significant increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations," said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Health Authority for Austin and Travis County.

Escott says while the concern is there, actions that Austinites take will ultimately affect whether the models are right or not.

"The models aren’t predicting the absolute future. It's important for us to remember that we as a community can change what that future looks like," Escott said.

Part of the response plan for local health officials is continuing to increase the availability of testing. Right now, Austin Public Health can administer 1,750 tests a day, but officials say only about 200 tests are being performed. Officials hope to continue to ramp up that capacity, with plans to administer as many as 40,000 COVID-19 tests in the month of June - which would more than double the number of tests performed since the beginning of the pandemic.

Another update from health officials is expected later Thursday, Escott said.

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