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[00:00:05]

GOOD

[· Dr. Mark Escott Interim Austin Travis County Health Authority · Dr. Michael Pignone, Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Dell Medical School · Andy Brown, Travis County Judge · Steve Adler, Austin Mayor]

MORNING.

I'M LASHONDRA SHAW PIO FOR THE CITY OF AUSTIN.

AND I AM THE MODERATOR FOR TODAY'S NEWS CONFERENCE.

SPANISH INTERPRETATION IS AVAILABLE ON ATX IN THREE TO START DR.

MARTIN AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY WILL FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY DR.

MICHAEL PENNONI CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNAL MEDICINE, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS DELL MEDICAL SCHOOL.

THEN ANDY BROWN, TRAVIS COUNTY JUDGE FOLLOWED BY STEVE ADLER, AUSTIN MAYOR.

WE WILL THEN OPEN IT UP TO THE POOL REPORTER WHO WILL ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA, DR.

SCOTT, GOOD MORNING.

THE CITY OF AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY ARE HEADED FOR A DIRE SITUATION.

WHILE TODAY OUR HOSPITALS CAN MANAGE THE LOAD OF COVID-19 PATIENTS AND ALL OTHERS WHO SEEK MEDICAL CARE AT OUR COMMUNITY.

MY CONCERN IS THAT THERE'S A GROWING THREAT OF THE RAPID AND UNSUSTAINABLE INCREASE IN HOSPITALIZATIONS.

IN THE COMING WEEKS.

WE'VE SEEN A RAPID INCREASE IN ALL THE METRICS WE WATCH AS INDICATORS OR HOW THE PANDEMIC IS PROGRESSING IN AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY AND CENTRAL TEXAS CHASES HAVE INCREASED 80% SINCE DECEMBER THE FIRST 200 PEOPLE, MORE THAN, UH, ARE HOSPITALIZED MORE THAN ON DECEMBER THE FIRST AND THE LAST EIGHT DAYS.

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN OUR ICU IS UP 50%.

OUR POSITIVITY RATE AS A COMMUNITY IS NOW OVER 13% AND STILL INCREASING.

WE ARE WORKING HARD TO LIMIT THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 AND ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE PARTNERSHIPS WITH CHIEF NAM KID AND THE TEXAS DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, WHO IS PROVIDING US A SITE FOR A MOBILE INFUSION CENTER FOR MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES, UH, WHICH WE EXPECT TO BE OPERATIONAL EARLY NEXT WEEK.

WE'RE ALSO IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING STRIKE TEAMS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY EMS, AND OUR HOSPITALS TO PROVIDE MOBILE UNITS WHO CAN GO OUT TO NURSING HOMES TO PROVIDE THAT MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY TO THOSE IN NEED THERE TO HELP FURTHER LIMIT THE STRESS ON OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

WE HAVE SEEN COVID-19 DEVASTATE CITIES LIKE EL PASO, WHERE MORE THAN 1600 HAVE ALREADY DIED IN THAT CITY.

AND THEN THE DEATHS ARE STILL BEING COUNTED FOR MOST PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

SO WE'RE 542 DEATHS IS A NUMBER.

IT'S A STATISTIC, BUT FOR 542 FAMILIES, THERE'S A NAME THERE'S MEMORIES.

THERE'S A DEEP SENSE OF LOSS.

NOW IMAGINE A SURGE LIKE THAT, THAT HAPPENED IN EL PASO HAPPENING HERE THAT WOULD MEET ANOTHER 2000 NAMES AND 2000 FAMILIES SUFFERING.

THIS, THIS DEVASTATING DISEASE TODAY IS THE DAY THAT AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY AND CENTRAL TEXAS CAN SAY, NOT HERE.

IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN HERE.

TODAY IS THE DAY TO JOIN US IN THE DEFENSE OF OUR CITY, OF OUR COMMUNITY, OF OUR FAMILIES, OF OUR LOVED ONES, OUR FRIENDS.

AND ALL I'M ASKING THAT YOU DO IS TO STAY HOME, THAT YOU AVOID GATHERINGS, PARTICULARLY OVER THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND.

AND IF YOU HAVE TO GO OUT OF YOUR HOME, DO SO WITH A MASK ON FOLLOW THE SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES, WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY, USE HAND SANITIZER, AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE.

WE KNOW THAT YOU'RE TIRED.

WE KNOW THAT YOU'RE LONELY.

WE KNOW THAT YOU'RE DONE WITH COVID, THAT COVID IS NOT DONE WITH US, AND WE HAVE TO RALLY TOGETHER RIGHT NOW BECAUSE TOGETHER WE CAN BEAT COVID-19, BUT IT WILL TAKE ALL OF US WORKING TOGETHER TO WIN THIS WAR.

AND WITH THAT, I WILL TURN THE MICROPHONE OVER TO DR.

MICHAEL PENNONI TO PROVIDE A FEW WORDS, SCOTT I'M MIKE , I'M THE CHAIR OF INTERNAL MEDICINE AT DELL MEDICAL SCHOOL.

I WANT TO ECHO A COUPLE OF THINGS THAT DR.

S SCOTT SAID, FIRST OF ALL, WE'VE DONE REALLY WELL AS A COMMUNITY UP TO THIS POINT IN PRACTICING THE SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES AND OTHER EFFECTIVE MEANS OF REDUCING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.

WE'VE AVOIDED MANY OF THE CRISES AND DEATHS THAT OTHER COMMUNITIES HAVE SUFFERED.

AND FOR THAT, I'M VERY THANKFUL TO ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY.

I ALSO WANT TO BE PARTICULARLY THANKFUL TO ALL OF OUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS.

THEY'VE WORKED SO HARD OVER THE PAST 10 MONTHS.

WE'VE LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT HOW TO TAKE CARE OF PATIENTS WITH COVID AND WE'VE HAD REALLY GOOD OUTCOMES, BUT I WANT TO REINFORCE THAT'S BECAUSE WE'VE DONE

[00:05:01]

A GOOD JOB AS OUR COMMUNITY AND NOT OVERWHELMING OUR HOSPITALS.

AS DOCTOR, AS SCOTT MENTIONED IN THE LAST MONTH, ALL THESE STATISTICS ARE HEADING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION.

WE'VE HAD TOO MANY NEW CASES, TOO MANY NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS AND TOO MANY PEOPLE IN THE ICU THAT PUTS INCREDIBLE STRESS ON OUR CAREGIVERS AND IS HARD ON THE FAMILIES AND THE PATIENTS THEMSELVES HAVE TO SPEND TIME IN THE HOSPITAL TIME IN THE ICU TIME, AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES.

WE ALL HAVE A ROLE IN PREVENTING MORE CASES.

IF WE WORK REALLY HARD, NOW WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE NEXT MONTH, GIVE US TIME TO START VACCINATING PEOPLE AND REALLY TURN THE TIDE ON THIS ILLNESS.

AGAIN, LIKE WE DID IN THE SUMMER.

THE DIFFERENCE NOW IS THAT THE WHOLE COUNTRY IS IN THE MIDST OF A CRISIS.

IT'S PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT THAN THIS TIME THAT WE REALLY, THOSE MEASURES OF STAYING HOME, WEARING OUR MASS AVOIDING UNNECESSARY TRIPS TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF CASES SO THAT WE DON'T OVERSTRESS OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

ANY MORE, OUR PROVIDERS ARE WORKING HARD, BUT THEY'RE TIRED.

WE NEED TO HELP THEM OUT, DO OUR PART, AND WE'LL ALL GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER.

THANK YOU.

THANKS.

SO WITH NEW YEAR'S AROUND THE CORNER, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO KEEP THE NUMBER OF COVID CASES, AS LOW AS POSSIBLE TO PREVENT AN UNSUSTAINABLE SURGE THAT'S GOING TO, THAT COULD OVERWHELM OUR CURRENT HOSPITAL AND ICU CAPACITY.

OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS TO PROTECT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF OUR COMMUNITY.

AND WE BELIEVE THAT THIS ORDER WILL SAVE LIVES.

THE CONDITIONS THAT DR S GOT DESCRIBED, AND THE STORIES SHARED BY THE OTHER DOCTOR AND DR.

HAYDEN YESTERDAY, CALL ON US TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO SAVE LIVES AND TO HELP THE HEALTHCARE HEROES WHO ARE SERVING OUR COMMUNITY.

WHEN DR.

S GOT GETS CONCERNED, I AM CONCERNED WHEN DR.

HAYDEN AN ICU DOCTOR AND A PULMONOLOGIST GETS CONCERNED, I GET CONCERNED.

WE'VE LOST 542 PEOPLE TO COVID IN OUR TRAVIS COUNTY COMMUNITY.

THAT'S 542 FAMILIES WHO ARE ENTERING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON WITHOUT THEIR LOVED ONES BECAUSE OF THIS DEVASTATING DISEASE.

AND WE DON'T WANT TO LOSE ANYONE ELSE.

AND THAT'S WHY LAST NIGHT, MAYOR ADLER AND I ISSUED NEW ORDERS, LIMITING DINE-IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE SERVICE BETWEEN 10, 10:30 PM AND 6:00 AM.

THIS ORDER IS SET TO RUN, UH, BETWEEN DECEMBER 31ST AND JANUARY 3RD.

AND UNDER THIS ORDER, BUSINESSES WILL HAVE TO END INDOOR AND OUTDOOR DINING IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE SERVICES BETWEEN THOSE HOURS, BUT THEY CAN CONTINUE DOING CONTACTLESS SERVICES, SUCH AS CURBSIDE DRIVE THROUGH TAKEOUT AND DELIVERY.

AND I WOULD ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE SERVICES AND TO HELP OUR RESTAURANTS GET THROUGH THIS PERIOD BY ORDERING CURBSIDE DRIVE THROUGH AND TAKE OUT DELIVERY.

I KNOW THAT I WILL BE DOING THAT.

WE ARE ALSO ASKING THE PUBLIC TO STAY AT HOME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

WE'RE WORKING HARD TO PREVENT A CRISIS OF UNDERSTAFFED ICU BEDS IN TRAVIS COUNTY, THE DANGEROUS TRAJECTORY OF NEW CASES, HOSPITALIZATIONS, ICU OCCUPANCY, AND POSITIVITY RATES IS REAL.

AND IT'S RIGHT NOW, IT'S HAPPENING.

NOW.

THIS ORDER IS INTENDED TO BE AS NARROW A CURTAIL AS POSSIBLE TO CURTAIL THE BEHAVIORS THAT WE KNOW ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE SPREAD OF COVID PEOPLE, EATING, DRINKING, AND CELEBRATING WITHOUT A MASK ON WITH PEOPLE, WITH WHOM THEY DO NOT SHARE A HOUSE WITH WHOM THEY DO NOT LIVE.

THIS ORDER IS ONLY FOR THREE DAYS TO HELP THE COMMUNITY TURN THE CORNER ON THE VERY DANGEROUS TRAJECTORY THAT WE'RE ON.

IN ADDITION, WE ARE WORKING WITH THE TEXAS DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE TO TRY TO BRING A MOBILE INFUSION CENTER TO TRAVIS COUNTY.

AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WHEN PEOPLE IN A HIGH RISK CATEGORY TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID, THEY CAN GET AN INFUSION, WHICH IN PEOPLE WILL REDUCE THE SEVERITY OF THEIR SYMPTOMS. THIS IS ARRIVING TODAY TO, UH, SOUTHEAST TRAVIS COUNTY.

IT'S AN 18 WHEELER, IT'S A TRAILER BASICALLY THAT IS MODIFIED TO PROVIDE THESE SERVICES.

AND I'M GOING TO WORK WITH, WITH THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND THE TEXAS DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND DR.

S SCOTT AND EVERYONE ELSE TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS GETS UP AND RUNNING AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

WE HAVE A TEAM WORKING TO ENSURE THE RAPID MASS DISTRIBUTION OF THE VACCINE TO THE PUBLIC OVER THE COMING MONTHS.

AND WE, AND, AND LET ME ADD THE EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF THE VACCINE OVER THE COMING MONTHS.

WE'VE ASKED FOR ALL OF YOU TO SACRIFICE A LOT THIS YEAR.

AND RIGHT NOW WE'RE ASKING YOU TO CANCEL YOUR NEW YEAR'S EVE CELEBRATIONS AS THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO GATHER IN PERSON WITH PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOMES.

WE'RE ALL VERY TIRED, BUT WE'RE ALSO VERY CLOSE TO BEING IN A BETTER PLACE.

THE VACCINE IS AROUND THE CORNER.

WE NEED TO STAY VIGILANT AND CONTINUE TO SAVE LIVES, INCLUDING THOSE OF HEALTHCARE WORKERS THAT ARE SACRIFICING THEIR WELLBEING TO CARE FOR COVID PATIENTS.

SO PLEASE STAY HOME AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND DO NOT GATHER

[00:10:01]

WITH ANYONE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD.

WHEN YOU GO TO WORK OR TO RUN ERRANDS, WEAR A MASK, WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN AND WASH, WATCH YOUR DISTANCE.

AND THEN I'M GOING TO SAY PART OF THIS IN SPANISH TEMPURA, FESTIVA, AND NAVIDAD HANUKKAH, A CABIN, THEY ASSOCIATE IR KWANZAA AS COUNTRY, THAT THE IN THE WESTERN COMMUNITY, THAT FEDERAL , THEY COME US IN IT'S EFFECT THE MONETA JUST PROPORTIONALLY ANOTHER, A NEW ASTROS COMMUNITY THAT IS NEW STRS COMMUNITY.

THAT IS LATINAS, THE AFRO AMERICANAS .

I LOVE WELTER IN SUSTAINED NIBLEY THEY KNEW LACK CAPACITY THAT AS WELL, THE NEW ESTRO HOSPITAL , YOU KNOW WHAT PRO OR THEN ISTOP PROGRAM.

OTHER HECTARE STATE.

THEY GSE MEDIA .

HE SAYS THE LEMON YANA AND MOST PERDIDO KENYAN, THOSE QUARANTINE PERSONAS ACCOUNTS ARE THEY COVID IN NEW ESTORIL COMMUNITY THAT THEY'RE CONDUCTED AT TRAVIS IS THIS YEAR I KENYAN TOES, QUARTER ENTITLES, FAMILIAR SCAPE.

SARAH, KATE CREDO, THE BUSINESS OWNER AND FAMILY THAT DEVASTATED DORA PERSONNEL.

NO ALGO CAKERY MUST BEAR, YOU KNOW, CONDADO, UH, TRAVIS.

LET'S SEE WHETHER THEY SUE.

SO GODDESS THOSE GET A MUSLIM ISMAL WHEN ASKED ABOUT CASINOS POLICES IS SALAD, ABLAZE, LACUNA, STARLA WELTER.

INCLUDED US LAST DAY.

LAST TRAVEL.

HER DAUGHTER IS THE LAST ALLUDE KARISTAN SACRIFICE CANDLE TO BE IN A STAR PATTERN.

THERE ARE LAWS PASSED THE DENTIST ON COVID GRASS.

YES.

AND I'LL PASS IT NOW ON TO MAYOR ADLER, JED BROWN.

THANK YOU, DR.

ASCOT, DR.

NANDI, THANK YOU.

THE SITUATION IN AUSTIN IS NOW CRITICAL.

UH, WE HAVE THUS FAR DONE PRETTY WELL, RELATIVELY SAVING LIVES IN OUR COMMUNITY RELATIVE TO THE OTHER CITIES IN TEXAS AND IN CITIES AROUND THE, AROUND THE COUNTRY.

UH, AND FOR THAT AS A COMMUNITY, WE SHOULD BE PROUD.

UH, WE SHOULD ALSO RECOGNIZE THAT THE REASON THAT THAT IS TRUE IN AUSTIN IS BECAUSE AT CRUNCHTIME, OUR COMMUNITY HAS BEEN ONE THAT'S BEEN WILLING TO STEP UP, HAS EFFECTIVELY STEPPED UP, UH, IN ORDER TO PUSH BACK, UH, SURGES.

UH, WHEN THEY HAVE HAPPENED, WE ARE NOW FACING OUR MOST DANGEROUS SEARCH, UH, PROSPECTS, UH, THE INDICATIONS, UH, THAT WE COULD BE FACING SOMETHING MORE SEVERE AND MORE EXTREME THAN, THAN WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THE, IN THE PAST.

I WANT TO MAKE REAL CLEAR THAT THIS IS NOT ABOUT GOVERNMENT, AND IT'S NOT ABOUT POLITICS AS, UH, UH, JUDGE BROWN SAID, UH, WE ARE LISTENING TO THE DOCTORS, TO THE SCIENTIST, TO THE SCHOLARS, TO THE EDUCATORS, AND THEY ARE TELLING US, AND THEY ARE TELLING US ALL, THEY'RE TELLING YOU THAT EACH OF US MUST ACT, AND WE MUST ACT NOW TO SAVE LIVES.

YOU KNOW, WE, WE JUST HEARD LAST NIGHT FROM THE THREE HOSPITAL SYSTEMS, UH, IN OUR CITY, ASCENSION SETON, BAYLOR SCOTT, AND WHITE AND ST.

DAVID'S AND THEY SAID, QUOTE, WE MUST ASK THE PUBLIC TO A SENSE OF URGENCY.

AND THAT'S TRUE.

AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE ASKING THE PUBLIC TO DO NOW, BUT THE PUBLIC CAN DO THIS,

[00:15:01]

NOT BECAUSE WE'RE ASKING, BUT BECAUSE THEY'RE SEEING THE SAME NUMBERS THAT THE DOCTORS AND THE PHYSICIANS AND THE EXPERTS ARE SAYING, AND DR.

S SCOTT WENT THROUGH THOSE, THE EXTREME INCREASES THAT WE'RE SEEING IN THE NUMBERS MOST SERIOUSLY, I THINK, UH, AND OVER 50% INCREASE IN OUR ICU BEDS IN THE LAST EIGHT DAYS, WE'RE NOW UP IN THE A HUNDRED AND THIRTIES, THE HOSPITALS HAVE TOLD US FROM A PLANNING PERSPECTIVE THAT WE SHOULD NOT EXCEED 200 ICU BEDS WITH COVID PATIENTS, OR THE SYSTEM IS OVERSTRESSED, AND WE'VE GONE FROM 84 UP TO THE MID ONE THIRTIES IN EIGHT DAYS.

YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU SIT ACROSS THE TABLE WITH SOMEONE NOT WEARING A MASK, IT'S DANGEROUS.

AND THAT'S WHY THE FOCUS OF THE ORDER OF THE JUDGE BROWN.

AND I ENTERED AT THE SUGGESTION AND ADVICE OF OUR PHYSICIANS AND DOCTORS AND EXPERTS, UH, DR.

ASCOT HAYDEN IS TO LIMIT AND AS NARROW AWAY, AS WE COULD ACT OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE TO BE UP LATE SITTING ACROSS THE TABLE FROM ONE ANOTHER, WITHOUT THEIR MASKS ON, WHICH IS WHAT HAPPENS AT A RESTAURANT OR A BAR.

WELL, WE ARE FINDING, AND WHAT THE NUMBERS INDICATE IS THAT THIS VIRUS IS SPREADING IT'S SOCIAL GATHERINGS, WHICH MEANS THAT PEOPLE GET TOGETHER WITH THEIR EXTENDED FAMILIES, UH, WITH THEIR NEIGHBORS, WITH THEIR FRIENDS AND THEY RELAX AND THEY TAKE OFF THE MASKS.

IT'S ALMOST AS IF WE'RE WILLING TO WEAR THE MASKS WHEN WE'RE AROUND STRANGERS, BUT WHEN WE'RE AROUND PEOPLE, WE KNOW WE TAKE THE MASKS OFF.

WE DON'T SERVE THE SAME DISCIPLINE SOMEHOW OR ANOTHER.

WE THINK THAT IF WE KNOW THE PERSON, THEY'RE LESS LIKELY TO BE CARRYING THE VIRUS.

AND THAT'S JUST NOT HOW THIS VIRUS WORKS.

THIS VIRUS DOES NOT KNOW WHO IS OUR FRIEND AND WHO IS OUR FAMILY.

UH, THIS VIRUS GOES AFTER EVERYBODY.

SO WE'RE ASKING PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY WITH RESPECT TO SOCIAL GATHERINGS, SHOW THE DISCIPLINE, WHERE THE MASKS SOCIAL DISTANCE AND STAY AT HOME AND CELEBRATE AND BE WITH YOUR, YOUR FAMILY, UH, AS THE SAFEST OPTION THAT YOU CAN, THAT YOU CAN TAKE.

YOU KNOW, WE, WE, WE CAN ACT WITH WHAT WE CAN CONTROL, WHICH IS WHY WE'RE LOOKING AT RESTAURANTS AND BARS, ACTIVITIES, WHERE PEOPLE TAKE OFF MASKS AND ARE WITH ONE ANOTHER.

WE'RE ASKING PEOPLE NOT TO, UH, I WENT AT 10 30, UH, NOT TO JUST GO HOME AND THEN HAVE SOCIAL GATHERINGS IN THEIR, IN THEIR HOMES.

UH, WE'RE ASKING YOU TO, TO GO HOME, TO BE WITH YOUR HOUSEHOLD, UH, JUST DON'T GO HOME AND PARTY.

YOU KNOW, IT'S UP TO US.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT EVERY ONE OF US TAKE THE ACTION THAT WE CAN TAKE TO REDUCE THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

WE HAVE TO AVOID WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IN OTHER CITIES LIKE EL PASO.

THE DOCTOR, AS SCOTT TALKED ABOUT, WE'VE ALL SEEN THE VIDEOS FROM NEW YORK CITY AND OTHER PLACES AS WELL.

IF WE DON'T GET THIS DONE, THEN PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY WILL DIE.

NEEDLESSLY.

I WANT TO JOIN IN THE THANKS AND THE APPRECIATION FOR OUR HEALTHCARE WORKERS, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, UH, THE PHYSICIANS, THE MEDICAL ATTENDANCE, UH, EVERYONE THAT'S WORKING SO HARD TO HELP KEEP THIS COMMUNITY SAFE.

WE HAVE TAKEN LIMITED ACTION TO HELP US ARREST THE GROWTH IN CASES, HOSPITALIZATIONS, AND DEATHS THAT WE'RE SEEING.

IF WE CAN HANG ON JUST A LITTLE BIT LONGER, WE CAN GET OVER THIS HILL, GIVE US THE TIME FOR THE VACCINE TO GET WIDELY DISTRIBUTED AND TO GET OUR HOSPITALIZATION RATES DOWN.

IF WE DON'T ACT NOW, BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO SUFFER.

EVEN MORE.

FAMILIES WILL SUFFER OUR WAY OF LIFE WILL SUFFER AND IT'LL TAKE US EXPONENTIALLY LONGER TO RETURN TO, TO LIFE THAT IS MORE NORMAL.

IT IS UP TO US AND WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER NOW.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

PAIR NOW TO OUR POOL REPORTER, MARTY SALAZAR FROM VIEW MARTY.

GOOD MORNING.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

OUR FIRST QUESTION IS FROM KVU.

CAN YOU CLARIFY HOW THE CURFEW DOESN'T VIOLATE THE GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE ORDER? THEY'RE TELLING US THAT IT DOES NOT, UM, UH, VIOLATE THE ORDER BECAUSE IT'S JUST AN OPERATIONAL, UH, UH, UH, CONSTRAINT.

UH, AND THE REASON THAT WE'RE DOING THIS IS BECAUSE

[00:20:01]

IT FOCUSES ON THE ACTIVITY WHERE PEOPLE ARE TOGETHER WITHOUT WEARING MASKS.

UH, AND THAT'S WHAT THE EXPERTS TELL US IS, IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST POINT OF, OF POTENTIAL RISK.

UH, SO WE HAVE A NARROWLY TAILOR ORDER, UH, THAT FOCUSES ON OPERATIONAL CHANGE TO PROTECT AGAINST THE MOST DANGEROUS SITUATION THAT WE CAN CONTROL.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS, AUSTIN, GOVERNOR ABBOTT SAID LAST NIGHT, HIS EXECUTIVE ORDER, PROHIBITS CITIES FROM HAVING ORDERS LIKE THIS IN PLACE.

WHAT RECOURSE DO YOU HAVE? AND CAN YOU STILL ENFORCE THESE RESTRICTIONS? YOU KNOW, AGAIN, WHAT I WOULD SAY IS THAT, YOU KNOW, WE'RE, WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, YOU KNOW, OF, UH, THE LAWYERS AND, AND SYSTEM WE'LL WE'LL WORK THROUGH THOSE.

UH, BUT OUR PLEA IS TO THE BUSINESSES AND TO THE PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN THIS COMMUNITY.

WE KNOW WHAT IT WILL TAKE FOR US TO REDUCE THE RISK AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN.

AND IT'S PEOPLE BEING AROUND OTHER PEOPLE WITHOUT THEIR MASKS ON.

UH, SO WE'RE ASKING EVERYBODY TO HELP ASSIST IN EVERY WAY THAT THEY CAN, UH, TO, TO LIMIT THOSE KINDS OF ACTIVITIES.

CERTAINLY, UM, UH, LATE AT NIGHT HERE, AS WE GO INTO THE NEW YEAR'S EVE, UH, WEEKEND ARE URGING PEOPLE TO, TO CELEBRATE THIS WEEKEND AT HOME WITH THEIR FAMILIES.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FOR ME, EITHER AUSTIN, HOW EXACTLY WILL THE RESTAURANTS AND BAR CURFEWS BE ENFORCED, ESPECIALLY SINCE THERE HAVE ALREADY BEEN BARS AND RESTAURANTS THAT HAVE EXPRESSED THAT THEY WILL CONTINUE TO HOST THEIR NEW YEAR'S EVE EVENTS WHO WAS IN CHARGE OF THESE INFORMANTS, WILL OFFICIALS GO AROUND TO ENTERTAIN DISTRICTS AFTER 10:30 PM TO MAKE PAINT, TO MAKE PLACES ACTUALLY CLOSE AGAIN, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE OUR ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL, UH, OUT, UH, ON THURSDAY AND FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHT, UH, ENFORCING OUR, OUR, OUR RULES AND ORDERS, UH, ISSUING CITATIONS.

UM, BUT THIS IS ALSO A MESSAGE THAT WE WANT THE COMMUNITY TO BE ABLE TO, TO HEAR.

UH, OUR HOPE IS THAT THAT BUSINESSES WILL CLOSE.

OUR HOPE IS THAT PEOPLE, UH, WON'T GO OUT TO, UH, TO BUSINESSES, UH, THAT ARE OPEN LIGHT AND THAT THEY, EVERYONE IN THIS COMMUNITY WILL DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN IN A, IN A, IN A SELFLESS WAY, UH, TO TRY TO KEEP THIS COMMUNITY AS SAFE AS WE CAN MAKE IT INTO AVOID AS MENTALLY NEEDLESS DEATHS, AS WE'RE AS WE CAN.

LET ME JUST ADD ONTO THAT.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO REALIZE THAT THE STATE OF TEXAS IS IN A CRISIS SITUATION.

AS A STATE, WE HAVE MORE THAN HALF OF OUR REGIONS WITH HOSPITALIZATIONS GREATER THAN 15% TODAY IN TEXAS, COVID-19 REPRESENTS ONE IN FIVE OF EVERY PERSON HOSPITALIZED IN THE STATE OF TEXAS.

UH, IT'S, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE POLICIES THAT WE HAVE HAD HAVE NOT WORKED TO CURB THE SPREAD OF DISEASE, THEY HAVE NOT WORKED TO CURB THE SPREAD OF PEOPLE NEEDING HOSPITALIZATIONS AND ICU CARE.

IT HAS NOT WORKED TO CURB.

THE DEATHS ASSOCIATED COVID-19.

NOW IS THE TIME TO LOOK AT THE POLICY.

AGAIN, NOW'S THE TIME TO RECONSIDER THOSE DECISIONS SO THAT WE CAN PROTECT TEXAS.

AS THE MAYOR SAID, WE HAVE VACCINE ROLLING OUT DAILY ACROSS THE STATE OF TEXAS.

NOW'S THE TIME THAT WE HAVE TO PROTECT OURSELVES.

NOW'S THE TIME THAT EVERY SINGLE HOSPITALIZATION AND DEATH IS PREVENTABLE, WE HAVE INCREDIBLY EFFECTIVE VACCINES, 95% EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING TRANSMISSION, ABOUT A HUNDRED PERCENT EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING SEVERE DISEASE.

NOW IS THE TIME TO TIGHTEN THE BELT.

NOW IS THE TIME TO PUSH THE TRENDS DOWN.

NOW IS THE TIME TO SAVE LIVES, NOT NEXT WEEK, NEXT, NEXT MONTH, OR IN THE SPRING, SOMETIME IT'S TODAY.

AND WE AS A COMMUNITY IN CENTRAL TEXAS AND ACROSS THE STATE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND NOW IS THE TIME.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM FOX SEVEN.

HOW DO YOU THINK THIS IS GOING TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM HOSTING BIG PARTIES AT THEIR HOMES? WILL ENFORCEMENT STAFF BE VISITING HOMES?

[00:25:02]

I'LL START BY SAYING, I, I DON'T THINK THERE'S INTENTION OF, OF HAVING POLICE DRIVE THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOODS, BUT OBVIOUSLY THERE'S A STATE ORDER.

THERE'S LOCAL ORDERS, UH, LIMITING, GATHERING SIZES TO 10.

WE'RE ASKING PEOPLE TO DO THE RIGHT THING.

WE'RE ASKING PEOPLE TO LOVE YOUR NEIGHBORS AND TO NOT HOLD THOSE PARTIES, WHICH WE KNOW ARE DANGEROUS, NOT TO, I'M NOT A LAWYER, BUT THE PUBLIC HEALTH IS TELLING YOU THOSE ARE DANGEROUS.

IF PEOPLE HOLD THEM ANYWAY, THEN, YOU KNOW, I, I THINK THEY'VE GOT TO BE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT POTENTIAL LIABILITY IN THE FUTURE.

SHOULD ONE OF THEIR GUESTS BECOME ILL.

ONE OF THEIR GUESTS BE HOSPITALIZED OR DIE FROM COVID-19.

THE MESSAGE IS VERY CLEAR.

IT IS DANGEROUS.

AND WE'RE AT A TIME WHERE WE HAVE TO LIMIT THE RISK AS MUCH AS WE CAN TO AVOID AN OVERWHELMING SURGE WHERE BY THE END OF JANUARY, WE NEED 1,500 HOSPITAL BEDS AND MORE THAN 500 ICU BEDS THAT WE JUST DON'T HAVE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KSAN MANY BARS, ESPECIALLY ON NEW YEAR'S EVE TWO BETTER THAN $1,000 IN A SINGLE HOUR OR LESS ARE THE CITATIONS AT ALL, PROGRESSIVE, PLEASE EXPLAIN HOW THIS HAS ENOUGH INCENTIVE OR TEETH FOR BARS TO CLOSE.

DINE-IN THE TOOLS THAT WE HAVE TO HELP FACILITATE AND PUT INTO EFFECT THE ADVICE AND THAT ARE COMING FROM DR.

ASCOT AND FROM THE PHYSICIANS AND THE EXPERTS ARE WHAT THE TOOLS ARE, UH, AND, AND JUDGE BROWN.

AND I, AND OTHERS WILL DO EVERYTHING WITHIN OUR POWER, UH, TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY AS SAFE AS WE POSSIBLY CAN USING WHATEVER TOOLS ARE AVAILABLE TO US.

BUT ONE OF THE BIG MESSAGES HERE I THINK IS THAT, THAT WE'RE NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO ENFORCE OUR WAY TO A COMPLIANCE LEVELS IN THIS CITY, UH, THAT ARE, THAT ARE REALLY NECESSARY TO KEEP US SAFE.

THAT'S GOING TO INVOLVE THE INDIVIDUAL CHOICES THAT PEOPLE MAKE ABOUT WHERE THEY GO AND THEY DON'T GO.

AND THAT BUSINESSES MAKE ABOUT, UH, HOW THEY OPERATE AND WHAT THEY DO.

UH, SO A BIG PART OF WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE TODAY IS TO SEND A VERY CLEAR MESSAGE TO EVERYONE IN OUR COMMUNITY, THAT EVERYONE HERE IS DEPENDENT ON ONE ANOTHER TO TRY AND KEEP THIS COMMUNITY AS SAFE AS WE POSSIBLY CAN.

ONE OF THE BIG SPIKES THAT WE'RE LOOKING RIGHT NOW, THAT DR.

S SCOTT HAS SHARED IS THE INCREASED POSITIVITY IN OUR COMMUNITY, WHICH HAS GONE UP BY ALMOST A THIRD, UH, IN THE LAST WEEK OR SO.

UH, THAT'S AN INCREDIBLY HIGH NUMBER.

AND THE AGE GROUP, THAT'S SEEING THE GREATEST RISE IN POSITIVE POSITIVITY ARE PEOPLE THAT ARE OVER 80 YEARS OLD.

AND WE KNOW THAT WHEN PEOPLE IN THAT AGE GROUP GET THIS VIRUS, THE CHANCES THAT THEY WILL NOT SURVIVE ARE THE GREATEST.

THIS IS A CONCERN, IS THE NUMBERS EVERYWHERE.

YOU LOOK ARE A CONCERN, AND IT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE COMMUNITY AS INDIVIDUALS TO UNDERSTAND THAT BECAUSE IT IS ONLY BY OUR COLLECTIVE ACTION, UH, THAT WE CAN, WE CAN SAVE OURSELVES.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE STATESMAN AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY BARS AND RESTAURANT OWNERS ARE PREPARED, ARE PREPARING TO LOSE, TO POTENTIALLY LOSE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

IF THEY HELP THEY'RE CHANGING THE QUESTION.

I'M JUST GONNA MOVE ON TO THE NEXT QUESTION FROM THE NEXT STATION FROM COOP RADIO.

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE HOW THE JEANETTE GENERAL PUBLIC CAN IDENTIFY THEIR ELIGIBILITY FOR THE VACCINE WHERE THEY, WHERE THEY CAN GET IT? AND IF IT REQUIRES A DOCTOR'S PRESCRIPTION ALONG WITH AN APPOINTMENT, UH, SO I'M HAPPY TO, TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION.

SO RIGHT NOW, WE'RE, WE'RE STILL IN THE PROCESS OF GETTING THROUGH THE ONE EIGHT GROUPS.

OUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS ARE FIRST RESPONDERS, UH, BUT THE STATE HAS BEEN VERY CLEAR AND I APPLAUD, UH, COMMISSIONER HELLER STAT FOR, UH, CLARIFYING HOW THIS YEAR ROLL OUT.

AND THAT CLARIFICATION WAS IF YOU HAVE A VACCINE AND YOU HAVE PEOPLE IN THE ONE V GROUP, WHICH ARE PEOPLE OVER THE AGE OF 65, OR BETWEEN 16 AND 65 WHO HAVE UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS, WHICH PUTS THEM AT HIGHER RISK FOR SEVERE DISEASE,

[00:30:01]

YOU SHOULD PUT THE VACCINE IN THEIR ARMS. UH, SO WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT WE'RE NOT DOING ONE A AND THEN ONE B, WE ARE DOING ONE A AND ONE B TOGETHER.

THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES HAS AN INTERACTIVE MAP ON THEIR WEBSITE OF ALL THE PROVIDERS ACROSS THE STATE OF TEXAS THAT HAVE BEEN GIVEN BACK SEEN MY RECOMMENDATION IS THE SAME RECOMMENDATION I GAVE TO, TO MY DAD, WHICH IS FIND THE ONE CLOSEST TO YOU AND CALL THEM AND FIND OUT IF YOU CAN GET ON THE LIST, AS SOON AS THEY HAVE VACCINE AVAILABLE, THEY'LL CALL AND LET YOU KNOW, UH, I'M HAPPY TO SEE THAT WE ARE STARTING TO WORK THROUGH OUR NURSING HOME AND LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY, RESIDENTS AND STAFF AS WELL, BUT THE FASTER WE CAN GET THE VACCINE OUT, THE BETTER OUR CHANCES OF, OF GETTING TO A LIFE WHICH LOOKS MORE NORMAL AND CERTAINLY IN THE SHORT TERM, HELPING TO IMPACT THE, THE, THE GROWTH OF, OF CASES IN THE HOSPITAL AND OUR ICU'S.

UH, SO PLEASE REACH OUT, LOOK AT THAT LIST, REACH OUT TO THOSE PROVIDERS AND, UH, SEE IF THEY HAVE VACCINE AVAILABLE FOR YOU.

IF YOU'VE HIT ON THAT ONE B GROUP.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE STATESMAN MAYOR, STEVE ADLER, VAGUELY MENTIONED LAWYERS GETTING INVOLVED WHEN TALKING ABOUT THE NEW CURFEW AND THE GOVERNOR'S RESPONSE.

CAN YOU MORE CLEARLY EXPLAIN THE NEXT STEPS BEING TAKEN TODAY TO ENSURE THE CURFEW IS NOT IN BREACH OF STATE ORDERS? IS THERE A CHANCE THAT THESE LOCAL ORDERS WILL BE CALLED OFF TONIGHT TO CLARIFY THE, UH, THE COMMENT THAT I MADE, UH, IT WAS THE QUESTION WAS ASKING ABOUT A LEGAL QUESTION, AND I WAS SUGGESTING THAT THAT'S FOR, FOR, FOR OTHERS TO DECIDE, UM, AT THIS POINT, WHAT JUDGE BROWN AND I ARE TRYING TO DO IS TO PUT INTO EFFECT WHAT THE MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND EDUCATORS AND PHYSICIANS ARE TELLING US WHAT WE NEED TO DO IN ORDER TO BEST TRY TO KEEP THE COMMUNITY SAFE.

UH, AND THAT'LL CONTINUE TO BE, UH, OUR DIRECTION.

UH, WE'RE DOING IT IN A WAY THAT OUR LAWYERS TELL US, UH, IS, IS, IS APPROPRIATE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS, AUSTIN, ARE YOU CONSIDERING EXTENDING HIS BUSINESS FOR OTHER WEEKENDS UNTIL THE SURGE GOES DOWN? CONSIDERING THERE HAVE BEEN PICTURES AND VIDEOS THAT HAVE GONE VIRAL SHOWING, PACKED BARS, WHAT RESOURCES ARE YOU MAKING AVAILABLE FOR BARS AND RESTAURANTS THAT WOULD BE LOSING OUT ON A LOT OF MONEY FROM NEW YEAR'S EVE? SO WE HAVE, UH, STEPPED UP ENFORCEMENT, UH, IN AS THE, AS A COMMUNITY.

UH, IN FACT, IT'S POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE DOWN TO, TO GET A LIST OF, UH, OF LOCATIONS, UH, THAT, UH, UH, WHERE IT'S BEEN NECESSARY TO GIVE WARNINGS AND THEN CITATIONS, UH, AND PEOPLE CAN LOOK AT THAT AND DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT THOSE ARE COMMERCIAL ESTABLISHMENTS THAT THEY WANT TO, TO, TO SUPPORT, AND WE'RE CONTINUE THOSE KINDS OF ENFORCEMENT, UH, EFFORTS.

UH, AND, AND MOSTLY WHAT WE WILL DO IS TO CONTINUE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE BRINGING THE INFORMATION AND DATA TO THE COMMUNITY, UH, THE ADVICE OF THE DOCTORS, SO THAT EACH ONE OF US INDIVIDUALLY CAN MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT HOW BEST TO KEEP OUR FAMILIES SAFE, UH, AND HOW TO DO OUR PART, TO KEEP THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM ONLY VC ON, AT SOME POINT, DOES THE CITY PLAN TO IMPLEMENT A CURFEW LIKE THE ONE IN SAN ANTONIO THAT ORDERED PEOPLE TO STAY HOME FROM A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME, I'LL START OUT.

SO THIS ORDER THAT WE HAVE ORDERED IS THE MOST NARROW ORDER THAT WE COULD THINK OF TO ADDRESS THE THING THAT DR S SCOTT AND THE DR.

HAYDEN AND THE OTHER DOCTORS ARE TELLING US AS NEEDED.

AND THAT IS TO STOP PEOPLE FROM GOING TO, UH, BARS, WHERE THEY TAKE OFF THEIR MASK AND TALK WITH PEOPLE, UH, AND GET CLOSE TO PEOPLE WITH WHOM THEY DON'T LIVE.

IT IS THE MOST NARROWLY TAILORED THING THAT WE COULD THINK OF THAT WILL ADDRESS THE EXACT NEEDS AND REQUESTS OF WHAT DR.

S SCOTT AND THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY ARE SAYING WE SHOULD DO TO GET THROUGH COVID AND QUIT, TRY TO STOP THE NUMBERS FROM INCREASING AS MUCH AS THEY ARE.

UM, SO THAT'S, THAT'S THE DIRECTION WE WENT.

[00:35:01]

AND, UM, OUR HOPE AGAIN IS THAT THIS AND PEOPLE'S EFFORTS COUNTY-WIDE WILL HELP LEAD TO LOWER NUMBERS OF PEOPLE IN THE ICU BECAUSE OF COVID.

I WOULD JUST ADD THAT WE REALLY DON'T WANT TO GET TO THE POINT, UM, OF THE CONDITIONS THAT WE'RE SEEING IN EL PASO WE'VE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THE PAST WHEN NUMBERS ARE STARTING TO SURGE UP TO TAKE STEPS, TO TURN THE CURVE, UM, YOU KNOW, BACK TOWARDS FLAT.

AND I THINK IT'S REALLY THAT WE ACT NOW, BEFORE WE GET TO THE LEVEL WHERE THERE'S SO MUCH, UM, LOSS OF LIFE AND, UM, AN INJURY, UH, WHERE WE NEED TO TAKE MORE DRASTIC MEASURES.

SO, UM, YOU KNOW, WE'VE TALKED A LOT TODAY ABOUT ENFORCEMENT, BUT THIS IS REALLY ABOUT THE PUBLIC DOING THE RIGHT THING.

IF WE'RE RELYING ON CITATIONS AND ENFORCEMENT, WE'VE KIND OF ALREADY LOST THE BATTLE.

WE REALLY NEED TO DO THE RIGHT THING TO PROTECT THE MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY, TO PROTECT OUR HEALTHCARE WORKERS AND, UM, YOU KNOW, REALLY TO, UH, TO KEEP PEOPLE ALIVE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX N PLEASE EXPLAIN THE CONTEXT FOR BRINGING IN THESE MOBILE INFUSION CENTERS, HOW MUCH OF THIS IS DUE TO WANING HOSPITAL AND ICU STAFFING, WHO WILL OPERATE THESE CENTERS AND WHO IS ELIGIBLE SLASH TARGETED FOR TREATMENT.

UH, SO I'M HAPPY TO TAKE THAT QUESTION.

UH, SO THE MOBILE INFUSION CENTER IS, IS GOING TO BE PROVIDED TO US THROUGH THE TEXAS DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, WHO WILL BE PROVIDING THE STAFFING AS WELL.

AND WE'RE GRATEFUL FOR THEIR PARTNERSHIP.

UH, WE HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS, UH, WHO HAVE BEEN PROVIDING THIS MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY AT THEIR FACILITIES, UH, LARGELY AT THEIR INFUSION CENTERS.

THE CHALLENGE WE HAVE IS, AS WE'VE BEEN DISCUSSING, THE HOSPITALS ARE EXTREMELY BUSY RIGHT NOW.

AND, YOU KNOW, WE CONTINUE TO, TO STRESS THE ABILITY TO DO THINGS LIKE PROVIDE THE PREVENTION THERAPY.

THAT'S WHY WE'VE, WE'VE BEEN WORKING WITH, UH, THE DIVISION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT TO HELP US PROVIDE THIS EXTERNAL FACILITY THAT WE CAN DIRECT PATIENTS TO THAT WHO, WHO QUALIFIED, UH, THAT'S INDIVIDUALS OVER THE AGE OF 65, AS WELL AS YOUNGER INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE SIGNIFICANT UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS.

THERE ARE SOME SPECIFIC CRITERIA, AND THERE ARE SCREENING PROCESSES FOR THOSE.

AND AS WE ARE WORKING ON AN AUTOMATED SCREENING PROCESS, FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO TEST POSITIVE THAT WERE TESTED THROUGH AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, TO ALERT THEM THAT THEY MAY BE A CANDIDATE, UH, AND CAN BE REFERRED FOR THE THERAPY FOR OTHERS.

WE'RE ASKING OUR PHYSICIAN COMMUNITY TO REFER FOLKS TO THIS CENTER ONCE IT'S OPERATIONAL, SO THAT WE CAN GET ABOUT FOLKS THROUGH THIS CENTER AND HOPEFULLY PREVENT A SEVERE DISEASE IN DEPTH.

UH, THIS THERAPY HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE SUCCESSFUL, UH, AT REDUCING THE RISK OF SEVERE DISEASE AND DEATH FROM, FROM COVID-19.

SO WE'RE HOPEFUL THAT IT WILL HELP CONTRIBUTE TO DECREASING THE STRESS ON OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE STATESMAN, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS AS THEY PREPARE TO SACRIFICE EVEN MORE INCOME AS RESIDENTS USHER IN THE NEW YEAR? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THOSE PREPARING TO BREAK THE CURFEW? I'LL SAY THAT, THAT WE NEED YOUR HELP.

I'LL SAY THAT, THAT THIS CITY, THIS STATE, THIS COUNTRY HAS FACED TRYING TIMES IN THE PAST, AND EVERY SINGLE TIME WHEN IT'S OVER, WE ARE STRONGER AND MORE PRODUCTIVE AND MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN WE WERE BEFORE.

THAT IS THE NATURE OF US AS AMERICANS AND AS TEXANS, BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP TODAY.

WE KNOW IT'S HARD.

I GREW UP IN A FAMILY WITH A SMALL BUSINESS, A RESTAURANT.

I KNOW IT'S HARD.

I KNOW YOU'RE WORKING ON TIGHT MARGINS, BUT WE'VE GOT TO STAY THE COURSE A LITTLE BIT LONGER.

WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT MONTHS OR YEARS.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A SMALL AMOUNT OF TIME, BUT IN THAT SMALL AMOUNT OF TIME, WHAT WE DO, THE DECISIONS THAT WE MAKE WILL HAVE A LASTING IMPACT ON, ON HUNDREDS, PERHAPS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UH, SO PLEASE HELP US OUT AND DO THE RIGHT THING.

THERE ARE TWO MESSAGES HERE.

THE FIRST IS THAT, UH, WE NEED, UH, RESTAURANTS AND, AND, AND BARS TO, TO HELP WITH THE PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE WE HAVE IN THE CITY.

BUT THERE'S ALSO THAT ECONOMIC ISSUE.

WE ARE NOT CLOSING THE RESTAURANTS

[00:40:01]

AT 10 30.

UH, RESTAURANTS CAN REMAIN OPEN AND DO DELIVERY AND TAKE OUT.

AND WE'RE ENCOURAGING PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY TO RECOGNIZE THE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP THAT THIS PARTICULAR INDUSTRY IS GETTING REALLY MUCH GREATER, UH, THAN GETTING HIT MUCH GREATER THAN, AND THEN MOST OTHER INDUSTRIES IN THE CITY.

SO WE'RE ASKING EVERYONE TO SUPPORT THE RESTAURANTS, UH, DO TAKE OUT, DO DELIVERY IF YOU'RE ABLE TO DO THAT, BUY GIFT CARDS, UH, TIP AND OVERTIP, UH, THE, THE, THE FOLKS THAT ARE INVOLVED, UH, BECAUSE THESE PEOPLE AND THESE BUSINESSES ARE TAKING A SEVERE AND SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL HIT FOR THE GREATER GOOD.

UH, AND, AND WE, AS A COMMUNITY CAN HELP MITIGATE THAT.

AND WE NEED TO ALL RIGHT PANEL MEMBERS.

THIS IS THE LAST QUESTION FROM COOP RADIO.

DOES THE CITY AND COUNTY HAVE THE VACCINE DOSES NECESSARY TO SUPPORT PHASE ONE, A AND ONE B ALONG WITH THE RECENT GUIDANCE GIVEN BY THE GOVERNOR? OH, WE DON'T YET HAVE ENOUGH DOSES TO COVER ALL OF ONE, A AND ONE B UH, YOU KNOW, ONE DAY IS, IS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.

I WILL SAY THAT I'VE BEEN VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE WORK THAT OUR HOSPITALS HAVE BEEN DOING.

UH, THE UT DELL MEDICAL SCHOOL, UT HEALTH AUSTIN, ASCENSION SETON ST.

DAVID'S, BAYLOR, SCOTT, AND WHITE.

THEY'RE DOING A GREAT JOB OF GETTING VACCINES OUT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

I'LL TELL YOU THAT THE STATE'S REPORTING DEBT ON VACCINES IS, IS WAY OFF.

UH, I THINK THEY'RE RECORDING SOMEWHERE AROUND SEVEN OR 8,000 DOSES ADMINISTERED IN TRAVIS COUNTY.

UH, EACH OF OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM SAYS INDIVIDUALLY DONE MORE THAN THAT, UH, WITH MORE THAN 10,000 AT MOST OF THEM ADMINISTERED ALREADY.

UM, THERE'S A DATA LAG IN THAT REPORTING, BUT, BUT REST ASSURED THAT THE PROVIDERS THAT HAVE VACCINE ARE GETTING IT OUT THE DOOR AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

AND WE CAN EXPECT IN THE COMING WEEKS THAT MORE AND MORE VACCINE WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE ONE BIG GROUP.

ONCE WE CAN COVER THE ONE B GROUP THAT COVERS THE VAST MAJORITY OF INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE GOING TO HAVE A SEVERE ILLNESS OR DEATH FROM COVID-19.

UH, AND I EXPECT THAT BY THE END OF FEBRUARY, THAT, YOU KNOW, A SIGNIFICANT PORTION, PERHAPS ALL IN THAT GROUP THAT WANTS A VACCINE WILL BE ABLE TO GET IT.

UM, BUT WE HAVE TO STAY THE COURSE.

WE HAVE TO CONTINUE THE PROTECTIONS, UH, UNTIL THAT TIME HAPPENS.

AND FOR A BIT LONGER AFTER THAT, WHILE WE, UH, TRY TO ACHIEVE HERD IMMUNITY THROUGH VACCINATION, UH, AGAIN, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAVE LIVES THROUGH VACCINATION, WHICH MEANS WE HAVE TO BE MORE CAREFUL NOW TO PREVENT THE SPREAD SO THAT MORE PEOPLE HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY TO BE VACCINATED IN THE FUTURE.

THANK YOU, DR.

SCOTT, THAT CONCLUDES OUR NEWS CONFERENCE FOR TODAY.

WE'D LIKE TO SAY THANK YOU TO DR.

MICHAEL PENNONI.

JUDGE ANDY BROWN, MAYOR STEVE ADLER, AND TO OUR POOL REPORTER MARI SALAZAR FROM K VIEW.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

HAVE A SAFE DAY .

* This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Speech-to-Text.