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[ Austin COVID-19: Press Q & A]

[00:00:04]

ALL RIGHT, WE'RE LIVE.

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR JOINING THIS MORNING FOR OUR FINAL MEDIA Q AND A EVENT WITH OUR APH LEADERSHIP.

I APPRECIATE EVERYONE TAKING THE TIME TO JOIN THIS MORNING.

UH, I'M MATT LAURA.

I'M A PIO WITH THE CITY OF AUSTIN, AND WE HAVE THIS MORNING WITH US, UH, ADRIAN SERP, OUR INTERIM APH DIRECTOR, DR.

DEZ MAR WALKS OUR BRAND NEW AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY, JANET PICHETTE, APH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND CASSANDRA OWN APH CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR THE DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION.

WITH THAT, WE'LL START WITH SOME OPENING REMARKS FROM OUR LEADERSHIP, AND THEN WE WILL HAND IT OFF TO FOX SEVEN, WHO WILL BE OUR POLL REPORTER FOR THIS EVENT.

AND WITH THAT, I'LL HAND IT OVER TO YOU, ADRIAN.

GOOD MORNING, MATT.

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR JOINING US AGAIN THIS MORNING.

UM, I'M HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE THAT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH IS STILL ON A GOOD TRACK PARTNERING WITH THE COUNTY AND OTHER COMMUNITY AGENCIES TO MAKE SURE THAT AS WE SHIFT FROM OUR MASS VACCINATION STRATEGY, THAT WE'RE REALLY FOCUSING ON PLACE-BASED AND COMMUNITY POP-UP CLINICS SO THAT WE CAN GET OUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY EQUITABLE ACCESS TO THE VACCINE.

IT IS NOW MY GREAT PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE DR.

DEZ WALKS THE NEW HEALTH AUTHORITY FOR AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY.

DR.

WACHS, DR.

WACHS, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE MUTED.

THERE WE GO.

THANKS.

GOOD MORNING.

THANK YOU, ADRIAN.

UM, I'M PLEASED TO JOIN THE APH TEAM AS THE HEALTH AUTHORITY AND MEDICAL DIRECTOR FOR THE CITY OF AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY.

UH, I'VE BEEN IN PRACTICE, UH, INVEST REP COUNTY AND SURFACE THEIR LOCAL HEALTH AUTHORITY.

AND I'VE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH THE APH TEAM THROUGHOUT THE PAST, UH, SEVERAL MONTHS TO WORK, TO, UM, DECREASE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN RESPONSE TO THIS PANDEMIC.

AND THIS TEAM HAS DONE AN AMAZING JOB, UH, WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF DR.

SCOTT AND DR.

HAYDEN HOWARD AND ALL OF THE TEAM MEMBERS, UM, IN GETTING US TO THE POINT WHERE WE ARE NOW WITH A POSITIVITY RATE OF 2.2%, UM, SEVEN DAY AVERAGE, UH, HOSPITALIZATION OF 12 AND, AND REALLY DOING AN AMAZING JOB AT VACCINATING, THE MEMBERS OF THIS COMMUNITY.

UM, I LOOK FORWARD TO THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON ISSUES REGARDING CONTINUING TO VACCINATE, UM, THE POPULATION, PARTICULARLY OUR AT RISK COMMUNITIES, UM, TO WORK WITH BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS, TO FULLY OPEN UP OUR ECONOMY, UM, AND GOING BACK TO VACCINATION AND GETTING AS MANY PEOPLE BACK STATE AS WE CAN SO THAT WE CAN SAFELY REMOVE OUR MASK IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE RECENT, UM, UH, GOVERNORS DIRECTIVES, AND ALSO TO JUST WORK, TO BRING APH BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS BEFORE A PANDEMIC AND ALLOWING OUR STAFF TO GO OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY AND DO THE IN-PERSON ONE-ON-ONE, UM, PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE THAT HAS BEEN THE CORE OF THE APH, UM, ORGANIZATION.

SO AGAIN, THANK YOU FOR THIS OPPORTUNITY AND, UM, THANK YOU, ADRIAN.

HELLO.

GOOD MORNING EVERYONE.

THIS IS JANET PICHETTE CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST.

I JUST WANTED TO MAINLY TALK ABOUT, UH, NOT NECESSARILY TALK, BUT REFLECT ON WHERE WE HAVE COME OVER THE LAST YEAR.

UM, WE'VE COME A LONG WAYS IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

AT THIS POINT IN TIME, LAST YEAR, WE WERE BEGINNING TO EMBARK ON THE VERY FIRST PEAK OF THIS DISEASE PANDEMIC.

AND, UM, WE GET KNOW WHAT LIGHT AHEAD OF US.

AND THERE WAS A LOT OF HURDLES THAT WE CROSSED A LOT OF THINGS THAT HAPPENED AS FAR AS, UM, WE EXPERIENCED THE SECOND WAY WE, YOU KNOW, IMPLEMENTED MASKING AND SHELTERING IN PLACE AND ALL TYPES OF THINGS, BUT WE HAVE COME QUITE A WAY.

AND AS WE GET CLOSER TO HERD IMMUNITY AND OUR CASES FLATTENED OUT, I DO WANT TO REMIND THE PUBLIC THAT THOSE PREVENTION MEASURES THAT WE DISCUSSED OVER THE YEAR, WASHING YOUR HANDS, WEARING A MASK SOCIALLY, JUST INSANE, STAYING HOME.

IF YOU'RE SICK, THOSE, THOSE PREVENTION MEASURES APPLY TO MANY OTHER COMMUNICABLE DISEASES

[00:05:01]

AND ARE VERY EFFECTIVE IN REDUCING DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISKS.

SO, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU ARE IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU FEEL UNDER THE WEATHER, YOU MAY WANT TO EMPLOY SOME OF THOSE THINGS.

AND, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, WASHING YOUR HANDS THAT THAT ACT ALONE COULD PROBABLY ELIMINATE MANY FOODBORNE ILLNESSES AND OTHER RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES.

SO PEOPLE SHOULD CONTINUE TO PRACTICE THOSE PREVENTION MEASURES EVEN WITH COVID, UH, YOU KNOW, FALLING BEHIND US.

UM, I ALSO WANT TO REMIND PEOPLE THAT WE ARE, IT IS, UH, WE'RE IN JUNE, IT'S BEEN RAINY AND WET OUTSIDE, AND WE'RE EMBARKING ON A MOSQUITO SEASON.

I WOULD BE REMISS NOT TO MENTION THIS AT THIS POINT, AND FOR PEOPLE TO REMEMBER THAT IN THOSE WET CONDITIONS TO DRAIN ANY STANDING WATER THAT YOU HAVE, MAKE SURE THAT YOU WERE USING PRODUCTS THAT ARE, UH, CONTAIN DEET OR THINGS THAT ARE EFFECTIVE AGAINST MOSQUITO BITES AND, UM, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE DRESSING APPROPRIATELY SO THAT YOU DON'T GET BIT BY MOSQUITOES.

UH, BUT ALSO TO, UM, TO AVOID, UH, WHEN DOES SKEETERS ARE OUT AND ABOUT, AND THAT'S DURING THE DUSK AND DAWN AND, AND DURING THE DAY, JUST THROUGHOUT THE DAY, DEPENDING ON IF IT'S, UH, THE MOSQUITO THAT'S PREVALENT FOR ZIKA, BUT JUST THOSE PREVENTION MEASURES THAT ARE GOING TO REDUCE YOUR DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISK, UH, FOR A MOSQUITO BORNE ILLNESS.

SO WITH THAT ALTERNATE OVER TO CATHY DELEON, HEY, CASSIE, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU'RE STILL MUTED AS WELL.

WE WILL, WE'LL CIRCLE BACK TO, TO CASSIE LOOKS LIKE SHE'S HAVING SOME TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.

SO WITH THAT, WE'LL GO AHEAD AND WE'LL MOVE ON TO OUR, UH, PULL REPORTER FROM FOX SEVEN TO GO AHEAD AND ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA.

GOOD MORNING.

ALL RIGHT.

SO OUR FIRST QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATE STATE'S PLAN.

IT IS FOR DR.

WACHS.

SO IT IS WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED OR FORESEE TO HAVE AUSTIN TRAVIS COUNTY REACH HERD IMMUNITY? I THINK THAT, UM, THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE IS TO, UM, GET PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY FOLKS WHO HAVE HAD COVID-19 TO, UH, RECOGNIZE THAT THEY STILL HAVE THE RISK OF DEVELOPING COVID-19 AFTER THEY'VE RECOVERED, THEY WILL HAVE ANTIBODIES THAT ARE PRODUCED AS A RESULT OF HAVING CONTRACTED THE ILLNESS.

THAT THOSE ANTIBODIES WILL NOT A AS EFFECTIVE AT FIGHTING OFF ILLNESS.

THAT'S CAUSED BY SOME OF THE VARIANTS OF THE, UM, VIRUS THAT WE'RE NOW SEEING IN THE COMMUNITY AND THE ANTIBODIES THEMSELVES.

WE FEEL ONLY LASTS FOR A 90 DAY PERIOD OF TIME.

SO OUR BIG PUSH IS GOING TO BE TO AND EDUCATE THOSE IN OUR COMMUNITY WHO HAVE COVID-19, THAT THEY STILL SHOULD GET A VACCINATION.

AND ADDITIONALLY, IT'S GOING TO BE, UM, TALKING TO THE COMMUNITY AND EDUCATING THOSE THAT HAVE QUESTIONS AND NEED MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SAFETY OF THE VACCINE AND THE NEED FOR VACCINATIONS, SO THAT WE CAN REACH FOR TO ME TODAY.

THANK YOU.

THIS NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX A N SHOULD WE EXPECT CASES TO DROP THIS SUMMER AND POTENTIALLY PICK BACK UP IN THE FALL AND WINTER I CAN GO AHEAD AND ANSWER THAT.

UM, I DO HOPE, AND I HOPE THAT WE CONTINUE TO SEE A FLATTENING AND DIMINISHING OF CASES IN THE AUSTIN AREA.

UM, HOWEVER, UH, WE HERE AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, THE EPIDEMIOLOGY STAFF ARE WATCHING VERY CLOSELY.

SO ESPECIALLY THIS NEXT TWO WEEK PERIOD, UM, FOLLOWING MEMORIAL DAY TO SEE IF WE SEE ANY UPTICKS IN CASES, UM, THERE'S ALWAYS

[00:10:01]

THE POTENTIAL THAT WE COULD SEE UPTICKS OCCURRING.

I THINK WE'RE VERY OPTIMISTIC THAT PEOPLE GETTING VACCINE, UH, ONBOARD, UH, AND BECOMING VACCINATED WILL HELP REDUCE, UH, UH, THE TRANSMISSION RISKS FROM COVID-19.

UM, BUT AGAIN, UH, YOU KNOW, THERE'S ALWAYS THAT POSSIBILITY.

UH, WE TEND TO ALSO LOOK AT, UH, WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OTHER COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY THAT MAY HAVE, UH, HAD PEAKS IN CASES PRIOR TO WHAT WE DID.

UH, SO, YOU KNOW, IT'S, IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT AGAIN, WE WATCH, AND AS SOON AS WE ARE AWARE OF ANYTHING, WE TRY TO NOTIFY AND INFORM THE PUBLIC OF WHAT, UH, UPTAKES WE MIGHT SEE, BUT I AM FAIRLY OPTIMISTIC THAT IF WE REACH THE POINT AND WE'RE GETTING CLOSER TO HER IMMUNITY, EITHER THROUGH NATURAL INFECTION OR THROUGH VACCINATION, THAT WE WILL BE IN A GOOD SPACE THIS SUMMER.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE IS AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH DEVELOPING ANY KIND OF VACCINE INCENTIVE PROGRAM TO ENCOURAGE MORE RESIDENTS TO GET VACCINATED? IF SO, WHAT DATA IS INFORMING THE TYPE OF INCENTIVES CHOSEN AND START WITH THAT ONE, AND THEN, UM, HAVE MY COLLEAGUE KATH, KATHY I'LL JUMP IN.

SO AT THIS POINT IN THE, UM, IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID, WE ARE USING A VERY INTENTIONAL FOCUSED OUTREACH STRATEGY TO MAKE SURE THAT, UM, OUR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR WHO HAVE BEEN HARDEST HIT BY THIS DISEASE, BUT STILL HAVE THE LOWEST RATES OF VACCINE UPTAKE ARE NOT ONLY GIVING EQUITABLE ACCESS TO VACCINE.

AND THAT SPEAKS TO OUR PLACE-BASED AND STRATEGY, BUT ALSO WE ARE WORKING IN A WAY THAT, UM, SUPPORTS AND INCENTIVIZES THEM TO GET VACCINE.

AND SO WE ARE IN CONVERSATIONS WITH OUR PARTNERS AT THE COUNTY, AS WELL AS CITY LEADERSHIP TO SEE WHAT TYPE OF INCENTIVES MAKE SENSE, UM, ANECDOTALLY, AND FROM INFORMATION FROM OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS.

WE KNOW THAT THERE'S STILL A CONCERN WITH, UM, OUR WORKING COMMUNITY ABOUT BEING ABLE TO TAKE TIME OFF IN ORDER TO GET A VACCINE.

AND SO HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH LOCAL BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITY PARTNERS TO ALLOW THEIR WORKERS TO HAVE THE FLEXIBILITY, TO TAKE TIME, TO GO AND GET THE VACCINE.

UM, BUT WE WILL CONTINUE TO USE THE VACCINE UPTAKE DATA, UM, BROKEN DOWN BY ZIP CODE, UM, AGE, RACE, AND ETHNICITY, TO STRATEGIZE WITH OUR COMMUNITY ABOUT WHAT INCENTIVE INCENTIVES RATHER, AND STRATEGIES MAKE THE MOST SENSE.

UM, KATHY, DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT ADD TO THAT? IT LOOKS LIKE WE STILL DON'T HAVE YOUR, YOUR AUDIO CASSY, NOTHING LIKE THE LAST MEDIA Q AND A TO HAVE TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES.

WE CAN GO AHEAD AND MOVE ON TO THE NEXT QUESTION.

SOUNDS GOOD.

ALL RIGHT.

SO THE NEXT ONE IS FROM K O P RADIO AS PORTIONS OF THE POPULATION REMAIN UNVACCINATED AND COVID-19 LINGERS LONGER, LONGER.

CAN IT MUTATE INTO A VARIANT MORE DANGEROUS FOR, FOR ALL OF US? I'LL GO AHEAD AND ANSWER THAT.

UH, YOU KNOW, LIKE I'VE SAID THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THIS PANDEMIC, UM, VIRUSES, DON'T LIKE TO STAY COMFORTABLE IN THE HOST AND LIGHT TO BEGIN TO CHANGE ONCE BODIES PEOPLE ADAPT TO THAT VIRUS, UH, THEY LIKE TO MEDITATE.

SO, UM, THERE'S ALWAYS A PICE, UH, UH, POSSIBILITY THAT THERE WILL BE A NUMBER OF VARIANTS THAT ARE CIRCULATING CURRENTLY.

YOU KNOW, WE'RE FOLLOWING UP ON, UH, A NUMBER OF VARIANTS OF CONCERNS AND VARIANTS OF INTEREST, UH, AS DESIGNATED BY THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION.

AND SO, UH, WE'RE TRYING TO CLOSELY MONITOR THAT AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THAT SO THAT WE CAN, UM, UH, YOU KNOW, TRY TO ATTEMPT THOSE, UH, OUTBREAKS OR CLUSTERS OR CASES, UH, DOWN, UH, SO THAT WE REDUCE TRANSMISSION RISK IN THE COMMUNITY.

AND I AGREE WITH YOU, JANET.

NO, I'D ALSO LIKE TO ADD, AND THAT IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO GET OUR PEOPLE, UM, AS SOON AS THEY HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET OUT THERE AND, AND GET THE VACCINE, UM, SO THAT WE DON'T GIVE THE VIRUS A CHANCE TO

[00:15:01]

MUTATE IT, CAN'T, IT DOESN'T HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY IF IT DOESN'T HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY OR INFECT A PERSON.

SO WE NEED TO BE VACCINATING PEOPLE AS MUCH AS WE CAN.

THE NEXT QUESTION COMES FROM CVS.

AUSTIN HAS APH STORE TO, TO SEE ANY CLUSTERS OF CASES.

NOW THAT MASKING REQUIREMENTS HAVE EASED IN BUSINESSES OR INCREASING CAPACITIES.

UM, I'LL GO AHEAD AND ANSWER THAT AS WELL.

SO, UM, YOU KNOW, WE'VE ALWAYS SEEN CLUSTERING, UH, CASES IN VARIOUS SETTINGS, ALTHOUGH SOME OF THOSE CLUSTERS AND THE OUTBREAKS, UH, WHETHER IT BE IN THE NURSING HOMES, WHETHER IT BE IN THE SCHOOL SETTING OR WHATNOT, HAVE DIMINISHER IN BUSINESSES AND WHATNOT, UH, OR RELATED TO WHAT I CALL SUPER SPREADER EVENTS, SUCH AS WEDDINGS OR FUNERALS.

UM, HOWEVER, WE ARE CONTINUING TO SEE CLUSTERS AND MUCH OF OUR, OUR CASE INVESTIGATION AND FOCUS NOW WILL BE FOCUSED, UH, A LOT ON CLUSTER INVESTIGATIONS AND OUTBREAK INVESTIGATIONS, BECAUSE THOSE HAVE THE GREATEST POTENTIAL TO GET OUT OF CONTROL.

SO, UM, RIGHT NOW WE'RE SEEING, UH, WE, WE ARE SEEING SOME CONTINUED CLUSTERS IN SCHOOL SETTINGS.

UH, NOW THAT SCHOOL'S OUT, YOU KNOW, THERE'S A POSSIBILITY THAT PEOPLE WILL GATHER AFTER, UM, YOU KNOW, GATHER, UM, HAVE SOCIAL GATHERINGS, UM, OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOL SETTING, OR IT COULD BE RELATED TO ATHLETICS AND WHATNOT.

UM, BUT ANYHOW, YOU KNOW, OUR GOAL IS, AND, AND THE CLUSTERS HAVE MAINLY BEEN IN THESE SETTINGS BECAUSE MANY OF THESE PEOPLE, UH, CHILDREN WHO DON'T HAVE VACCINE ON BOARD RIGHT NOW.

SO, UM, YOU KNOW, WE'RE STARTING TO SEE LESS OR FEWER CLUSTERS ASSOCIATED WITH VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS, BUT THERE STILL EXISTS A TRANSMISSION RISK FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE, UH, LESS THAN, UH, 15 YEARS OF AGE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UH, AND WE ARE SEEING INCREASES IN HOSPITALS, HOSPITALIZATIONS IN THAT POPULATION.

UM, BUT YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, OUR GOAL IS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE IDENTIFY CLUSTERS EARLY AND WE ARE ABLE TO, YOU KNOW, INVESTIGATE AND, UH, TRY TO REDUCE THOSE, UH, TRANSMISSION RISKS THAT MAY RESULT FROM THAT OUTBREAK.

AND THIS IS A SORT OF A RELATED QUESTION, UH, FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT.

NOW THAT SCHOOLS AREN'T PERMITTED BY THE STATE TO ENFORCE MASK MANDATES AND VIRTUAL SCHOOLS OPTIONS, OR IN QUESTION, WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR SCHOOLS TO KEEP KIDS AND STAFF SAFE? OKAY.

UH, I'D LIKE TO TAKE THAT ONE, UM, APH AS STANDS ON THAT IS THAT WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THE USE OF MASKING, PARTICULARLY IN SETTINGS THAT ARE INDOORS.

UM, AND THERE ARE GROUPS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED, UM, WASHING HANDS, MAINTAINING SOCIAL, DISTANCING, ALL OF THE MEASURES THAT HAVE GOTTEN US TO THE POINT WHERE WE ARE NOW.

UM, AND THEN WE ALSO GRAY WITH CDC GUIDANCE THAT THOSE WHO ARE UNPACKS THAT ARE VACCINATED, UM, CAN FOLLOW THE GUIDE GUIDANCE THAT'S BEEN PUT OUT OR ALLOWING THEM TO NOT WEAR A MASK, UM, IN CERTAIN SETTINGS, BUT IN THE SCHOOLS, UM, AS WE RECOMMEND AT APH THAT MASK, THE WORN ONE POSSIBLE.

UM, AND I WOULD JUST LIKE TO ADD IN, UM, IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US NOW THAT, UM, CHILDREN AGES 12 AND UP ARE ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE.

THE BEST PROTECTION IS TO GET YOUR CHILD VACCINATED.

SO THERE'S MANY OPTIONS.

UM, IT IS THE PFIZER VACCINE.

SO MAKE SURE YOUR PROVIDER HAS THAT VACCINE OR THE PROVIDER THAT YOU'RE SEEKING TO PROVIDE TO PROVIDE YOUR CHILD WITH A VACCINE.

UM, TH THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET THEM FULLY PROTECTED AND PROTECTING THE REST OF YOUR FAMILY.

SO WE JUST WANT TO ENCOURAGE THAT, AND THERE'S JUST SO MANY OPTIONS AVAILABLE.

SO AS WE MOVE INTO THE SUMMER SEASON ATHLETICS, I KNOW A LOT OF CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED IN THAT IN SUMMER CAMPS.

IF THEY ARE AT THAT 12 YEAR OLD AGE, THEY COULD GET VACCINATED AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE POTENTIAL IMPACT THAT COVID COULD HAVE ON THEM.

CAUSE THEY'D BE PROTECTED.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM UNIVISION.

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT EFFORTS TO GET MORE MEMBERS OF THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY VACCINATED? AS WE KNOW, IT HAS BEEN ONE OF THE HARDEST HIT BY THIS PANDEMIC.

THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

I THINK WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF GOOD SUCCESS, UM, WITH WORKING WITH KEY ADVOCATES FROM THE, UM, HISPANIC AND THAT NEXT COMMUNITY WITHIN OUR, UH, WITHIN OUR CITY AND COUNTY, UM, TO HELP ENGAGE AND KNOW THAT THEY'RE TRUSTED SOURCES, UH, TO REALLY HELP,

[00:20:01]

TO PROMOTE WHERE FOLKS CAN GET TO VACCINE.

I THINK ONE OF THE IMPORTANT THINGS THAT WE WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW, BUT PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO MAY HAVE SOME CONCERNS ABOUT THEIR ABILITY TO SHOW ID, OR TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR, UM, STATUS.

UM, AND ALSO, UM, MAY HAVE SOME CONCERNS ABOUT THEIR, UM, INSURANCE STATUS THAT NONE OF THAT IS, IS A BARRIER FOR VACCINES.

SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO SHOW YOUR ID.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO, UH, DEMONSTRATE YOUR, UM, YOUR CITIZENSHIP STATUS.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE INSURANCE.

SO WE JUST WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THERE'S NO BARRIER TO GETTING VACCINE.

UM, BUT A KEY THING FOR US HAS BEEN TO MAKE SURE TO GO TO PLACES WHERE, UH, THE COMMUNITY TRUSTS, UM, AND TO, UM, OFFER VACCINE IN THOSE LOCATIONS, UM, AND REALLY BE AVAILABLE, UH, WHEN, UH, PEOPLE CAN TAKE THE TIME TO GET VACCINATED.

AND SO WE REALLY ARE WORKING THROUGH ALL THOSE DIFFERENT TYPES OF, UM, STRATEGIES TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE ABLE TO MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY'RE AT ENSURE THAT, UM, WHEN WE'RE PROVIDING A CLINIC THAT IT'S, UM, CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE, THE VACCINATORS ARE, UH, SPEAKING LANG, UH, INDIVIDUAL'S LANGUAGE, CHOICE PREFERENCES, UM, AND ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT, UM, WHOEVER IS LOOKING FOR VACCINE IS SUPPORTED AND, AND IS COMFORTABLE IN THE SPACE IF THEY'RE GETTING THE VACCINE.

THIS NEXT QUESTION IS FOR DR.

WACHS, WHAT ARE YOUR IMMEDIATE RECOMMENDATIONS TO GET AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC? UM, I THINK WE NEED TO STAY THE COURSE.

UH, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO VACCINATE, UH, PEOPLE.

WE NEED THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN VACCINATED TO ENCOURAGE THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS THAT VACCINES ARE THE, ARE THE WAY FOR US TO MOVE FORWARD FROM THIS AND GO BACK TO OUR NEW NORMAL OPEN OUR ECONOMY, OR OUR SCHOOLS SAFELY REMOVE OUR MASS SAFELY.

I BELIEVE THAT IN THE INTERIM, WE STILL WASH OUR HANDS STEP BACK SOCIAL DISTANCE AND WEAR MASKS.

UM, AND IF WE CONTINUE THAT COURSE, UM, WE'LL KEEP OUR NUMBERS DOWN AND MAINTAIN, UM, THEY, THIS, UH, CALM THAT WE'RE SEEING RIGHT NOW AND IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS, WE'LL TELL THE TALE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THOSE THINGS ARE ONGOING WITHOUT IT BEING A WATER DO SO.

AND, UM, YOU KNOW, THAT PEOPLE ARE MAKING THE RIGHT PERSONAL CHOICES, BEING VACCINATED AND CONTINUE DOING TO WEAR MASKS IN CROWDED PLACES AND WASH THEIR HANDS, ET CETERA.

SO, UM, WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER.

WE'VE GOTTEN TO THIS POINT AND IF WE KEEP THIS GOING, WE'LL, WE'LL BE SUCCESSFUL.

HERE'S ANOTHER QUESTION ABOUT SCHOOL.

SO NOW THAT THE STATEWIDE MASK MANDATE HAS BEEN LIFTED, DOES APH BELIEVE IT'S SAFE FOR KIDS ATTENDING SUMMER SCHOOL IN SUMMER CAMP CAMPS? I, I BELIEVE THAT THE, UM, SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE BEEN AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE SUCCESS OF MITIGATING THIS PANDEMIC.

UM, THEY HAVE SHOWN THROUGH THEIR LEADERSHIP THROUGH THE CONTACT TRACING THAT THEY DO FOR THE CASES THAT COME UP IN THEIR SCHOOLS, UM, AND THE COLLABORATION WITH APH AND THE STATE HEALTH SERVICES THAT THEY ARE COMMITTED TO SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN.

UM, WE, AS I SAID, RECOMMEND THAT PEOPLE THAT ARE UNVACCINATED WEAR MASKS, UM, THAT FOLKS AVOID CROWDS, UM, AND THOSE THINGS ARE, ARE, ARE GOING TO BE THE WAY THAT WE GET THROUGH THOSE.

UM, SO IT'S GOING TO BE, UH, YOU KNOW, TEACHING OUR CHILDREN THAT YOU COVER YOUR COUGH.

UM, UM, AND IF, IF YOU'RE NOT WEARING A MASK WASH YOUR HANDS, WE'RE GOING TO MAKE IT SUCH THAT HAND-WASHING IS A THING THAT WE DO IN SCHOOL AND, AND, AND KIDS, YOU KNOW, PARENTS AND CHILDREN NOT MAKING THAT CHOICE TO NOT COME TO SCHOOL WHEN THEY'RE SICK.

SO I THINK WE'VE MADE THIS A HABIT NOW ENOUGH THAT I THINK PEOPLE ARE MAKING THOSE GOOD CHOICES.

UM, AND I THINK THAT IT'S GOING TO BE, UM, SOMETHING THAT CONTINUES ON NOT JUST FOR THIS SUMMER, BUT IN THE COMING FALL.

SO, AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT, UM, IN, IN TERMS OF APH, HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND UNIVERSITIES IN TERMS OF GETTING MORE ADOLESCENTS VACCINATED OVER THE SUMMER BEFORE THE START OF THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR? YEAH, ABSOLUTELY.

AWESOME.

PUBLIC HEALTH IS COORDINATING WITH OUR UNIVERSITY PARTNERS AND OUR SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO

[00:25:01]

LOOK AT OPPORTUNITIES TO OFFER VACCINES.

UM, WE EVERY YEAR DO BIG PROMOTION FOR BACK TO SCHOOL SHOTS.

AND SO THOSE THAT ARE ELIGIBLE IN PARTS OF THOSE PROMOTIONS FOR PFIZER, FOR COVID VACCINE, UH, WHICH WOULD BE THE PFIZER VACCINE, WE WOULD REALLY WANT TO PROMOTE, UM, THAT, THAT VACCINE BEING AVAILABLE FOR THOSE STUDENTS.

SO, ABSOLUTELY WE'VE ALREADY DONE SOME, UH, MESSAGING TO, UM, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH E THREE ALLIANCE TO SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO THINK ABOUT HOW WE WANT TO PROMOTE, UM, VACCINE AVAILABILITY FOR STUDENTS, BUT THEN ALSO LOOKING AT, BEYOND COVID OTHER VACCINE PREVENTABLE DISEASE VACCINES THAT WE NEED TO MAKE SURE CHILDREN GET BEFORE THEY HIT SCHOOL NEXT YEAR.

SO IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT THAT CHILDREN GET THE COVID VACCINE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE, BUT IT'S ALSO REALLY IMPORTANT THAT CHILDREN GET, UM, STAY ON TOP OF THEIR VACCINE SCHEDULE.

SO AS WE'RE MOVING THROUGH SUMMER AND PREPARING FOR SCHOOL, ALWAYS BACK TO SCHOOL, VACCINE IS A PART OF GETTING READY, JUST LIKE BUYING YOUR SCHOOL SUPPLIES, GETTING YOUR BACKPACKS.

AND SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO THINK ABOUT COVID AS A PART OF THAT, GETTING READY FOR SCHOOL IS APH ALREADY PLANNING FOR COVID-19 BOOSTERS.

I'LL JUMP IN ON THAT ONE AS WELL.

UM, WE ARE ANTICIPATING THAT A BOOSTER VACCINE, UH, WILL BE SOMETHING THAT WE, UH, MAY HAVE TO ROLL OUT IN THE FALL NOTE, JUICERS HAVE NOT BEEN RECOMMENDED YET.

UM, AND REALLY, UM, AT THE LOOKING AT THE DATA THAT ALL OF THE CLINICAL TRIALS THEY'RE STUDYING TO SEE HOW WELL THE VACCINE HAS IS WORKING RIGHT NOW.

AND CURRENTLY WE KNOW THAT THE VACCINE WE HAVE, UM, AVAILABLE IN UNITED STATES IS VERY, VERY STRONG FOR, UM, FOR, UM, REDUCING COVID-19 DISEASE AND REDUCING DEATH, AND ACTUALLY ELIMINATING THIS, UH, FOR THOSE WHO ARE VACCINATED.

SO THAT'S VERY IMPORTANT.

UM, AND THEY LOOK TO SEE HOW LONG, UM, THE VACCINE, UM, IS EFFECTIVE AFTER WE'VE GOTTEN THE AFTER VACCINE INITIAL VACCINATION.

AND SO THAT STUDY IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT, UM, WE ARE PROTECTED ON AN ONGOING BASIS, BUT YOU ALSO KNOW THAT THE VACCINE MANUFACTURING IS LOOKING AT IF A BOOSTER BECOMES SOMETHING THAT WE NEED, THAT THE NEXT BOOSTER INCORPORATES THE VARIANTS THAT ARE CIRCLING CIRCULATING AROUND THE WORLD.

AND SO WE ANTICIPATE THAT THE BOOSTER, UH, WILL INCORPORATE A, MAYBE A DIFFERENT, UH, VACCINE AND NOT THE VACCINE WE CURRENTLY HAVE.

UH, SO THAT'S ANOTHER THING WE'RE CONSIDERING IS WHAT WOULD THAT LOOK LIKE? UM, SO WE ARE LOOKING AT ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENT THINGS.

UH, NOT EVEN WE HAVE STOOD DOWN OUR MASS VACCINE, UH, COMPONENTS RIGHT NOW, BUT WE ARE PLANNING IF WE NEED TO STAND UP ANOTHER TYPE OF LARGE MASS VACCINE, UM, SETTING, WE ARE PREPARING TO DO THAT IN THE FALL.

AND THIS IS A PART OF HOW WE PLAN FOR VACCINES.

EVERY YEAR WE ANTICIPATE BOOSTERS WILL HIT AT THE SAME TIME THAT FLU HITS, AND THEN WE ALWAYS DO MASS FLU CLINICS IN THE FALL.

SO WE ANTICIPATE WE WOULD DO VERY SIMILAR ACTIVITIES, JUST POTENTIALLY ON A LARGER SCALE.

UM, AND WE'VE TESTED THAT QUITE A BIT, THIS, UH, THE SPRING AS WE WERE LAUNCHING COVID VACCINE.

SO WE FEEL CONFIDENT AND READY, AND WE HAVE THE RESOURCES READY TO DEPLOY SO WE CAN MEET THAT COMMUNITY NEED.

SHOULD IT COME UP AS MASKING DISTANCING DISCIPLINES ARE LIKELY ABANDONED IS A MORE TYPICAL FLU SEASON ANTICIPATED THIS FALL.

UM, I'LL, I'LL TRY TO ANSWER THAT, UM, YOU KNOW, LOOSE SEASON EACH YEAR IS, UH, HOW IT'S HARD TO PREDICT SOMETIMES.

UM, WE DO MONITOR WHAT KIND OF STRAINS WERE, UH, CIRCULATING IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE, UH, AS A BEGIN TO PREPARE VACCINE AND PLAN FOR THE, THE, THE UPCOMING FLU SEASON, HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF COVID.

AND I THINK BECAUSE THE PREVENTION MEASURES SUCH AS MASKING, UH, AND SOCIAL DISTANCING, UH, THE FLU SEASON WAS RELATIVELY LIGHT.

SO IT MAY BE A HARD, HARD TO PREDICT, UH, WHAT ARE UPCOMING POLICES AND MIGHT LOOK LIKE.

UM, SO, YOU KNOW, WE ALWAYS ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GET VACCINATED FOR FLU WHEN THAT VACCINE BECOMES AVAILABLE.

IT, YOU KNOW, THE QUADRIVALENT STRAIN HAS FOUR DIFFERENT STRAINS THAT ARE AVAILABLE IN IT, A TWO FLU, A AND TWO FLU B STRAINS.

UM, BUT AGAIN, THOSE STRAINS THAT THEY SELECT ARE, ARE, ARE BASED ON WHAT THE EPIDEMIOLOGY SHOWS, UH, HAPPENING, UH, THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES THE YEAR BEFORE OR WHATEVER, UH, OR THROUGH, UH, THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE AND OTHER COUNTRIES.

SO IT'S GOING TO BE HARD TO WHAT THIS FLU SEASON WILL LOOK LIKE, BUT YOU CAN ALWAYS REDUCE YOUR RISK TO FLU BY WEARING YOUR MASK, WASHING YOUR HANDS, UM, GETTING YOUR FLU VACCINE AND STAYING HOME IF YOU'RE SICK AND SOCIAL DISTANCING.

OKAY, WELL, THIS BEING THE LAST Q AND A, AND WITH

[00:30:01]

CASES AND HOSPITALIZATION SIGNIFICANTLY DECLINING, WHAT GRADE WOULD WOULD YOU GIVE APH AND HOW IT DEALT OVER THE PAST YEAR WITH THE PANDEMIC? , I'LL, I'LL START THAT.

THAT'S A DIFFICULT QUESTION TO ANSWER, BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF FACTORS TO, TO BE CONSIDERED.

UM, I WOULDN'T GIVE US A B ONLY BECAUSE I THINK THE, THE EFFORT WAS A, I THINK THE WILLINGNESS TO RESPOND TO CHALLENGES WERE AN A, UM, I THINK, UM, WE HAD SOME RESOURCE AND TECHNOLOGY GAPS THAT AFFECTED OUR ABILITY, OUR, OUR EFFORTS TO MATCH OUR INTENTIONS AND OUR, OUR, OUR DRIVE.

UM, AND I SAY B BECAUSE WE STILL LEARNED A LOT.

I THINK COVEN WAS A VERY HARSH REMINDER OF, UM, THE INEQUITIES THAT WE HAVE IN CERTAIN COMMUNITIES WITH RESPECT TO QUALITY OF LIFE OUTCOMES, WITH RESPECT TO HEALTHCARE, WITH RESPECT TO HEALTH CARE ACCESS.

AND, UM, I SAY B BECAUSE I WANT US TO BE EVEN BETTER.

I KIND OF WANT US TO, TO THINK BEYOND COVID.

HOW DO WE, AS A CITY, AS A COUNTY, AS A HEALTH DEPARTMENT, HOW DO WE PLAN TO ADDRESS THOSE, UM, SYSTEMIC INEQUITIES MORE EFFECTIVELY SO THAT THE NEXT PANDEMIC, UM, WE ARE BETTER PREPARED, SO BE TO LEAVE ROOM, TO, TO LEARN, BUT MY APH TEAM IS FULL OF ALL STARS, AND I THANK THEM EVERY DAY FOR THEIR INTENSE COMMITMENT AND PROFESSIONALISM.

AND I'LL JUST ADD, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE CHALLENGES I THINK, UH, AS ADRIAN MENTIONED IN OUR RESPONSE, UH, WAS THAT, YOU KNOW, WE, I THINK WHAT THIS RESPONSE THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY HAS HIGHLIGHTED IS THAT PUBLIC HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE AND SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC HEALTH.

UM, A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T SEE WHAT PUBLIC HEALTH IS.

THEY WERE BEHIND THE SCENES.

I ALWAYS SAY, WE ARE THE INVISIBLE GUARDIANS OF THE COMMUNITY.

YOU DON'T KNOW THAT WE'RE OPERATING, UNLESS SOMETHING, HEY, HAYWIRE HAPPENS LIKE A DISEASE PANDEMIC OF THIS MAGNITUDE.

AND WE'RE HERE.

WE HAVE HAD A VERY DEDICATED, PASSIONATE GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ON THE CUSPS OF BURNOUT BECAUSE THEY HAVE WORKED DAY IN AND DAY OUT TO PROTECT THIS COMMUNITY.

UM, PUBLIC HEALTH IS NOT PRIMARY CARE.

WE DO NOT PROVIDE PRIMARY CARE SERVICES TO THE INDIGENT POPULATION.

WE ARE HERE TO PROTECT THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY AND VISITORS TO OUR COMMUNITY.

SO, YOU KNOW, UH, ONE OF THE STRUGGLES WE HAD AS, AS WE HAVE SAID, AND I SAID THIS TO A NUMBER OF PEOPLE, WE WERE, YOU KNOW, USING TECHNOLOGY THAT WAS 19TH CENTURY TECHNOLOGY.

WE WERE USING PAPER AND PENCIL WHEN WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN USING SOPHISTICATED THINGS.

AND, AND WE WERE BUILDING AN AIRPLANE AS WE FLEW IT.

AND SO I FEEL LIKE, YOU KNOW, WE DID GREAT.

AND THIS RESPONSE WAS SO MASSIVE THAT THERE'S SO MANY DIFFERENT COMPONENTS TO IT, THAT YOU MAY SEE A MASS VACCINATION CLINIC, OR YOU MAY SEE AN EPI RESPONSE THAT YOU DON'T SEE ALL THE UNDERLYING, UH, MACHINE PIECES THAT ARE WORKING, UH, BEHIND THE SCENES.

AND SO, YES, DEFINITELY A FOR EFFORT FOR OUR GROUP.

UH, WE HAVE A LOT OF HARDWORKING PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY THAT HAVE DEDICATED THEMSELVES OVER THE LAST YEAR IN PROTECTING AND PROTECTING AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY.

AND I WOULD JUST WANT TO ALSO KIND OF SHARE THE SUCCESS OF THE PANDEMIC AND HOW WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO RESPOND, UH, RAPIDLY.

OF COURSE, WE HAD BUMPS AND BRUISES ALONG THE WAY AS WE WERE TRYING TO MOBILIZE AND BUILD, AS JANET SAID, THE PLANE HAS TO BE FLUID.

UM, THOSE THINGS THAT HAD TO BE DEVELOPED AND PUT IN PLACE DID NOT EXIST PRIOR TO COVID.

UM, AND THEN ALSO JUST TRYING TO TRACK AND WATCH THIS BRAND NEW DISEASE.

UM, BUT I'D BE REMISS IF I DIDN'T COME IN THE TREMENDOUS WORK THAT THE DEPARTMENT DID, BUT ALSO THE TREMENDOUS WORK THAT OUR PARTNERS, UM, COLLAT IN COLLABORATION WITH AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH.

UM, WE MAY HAVE BEEN, UH, THE PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT LEADING THIS EFFORT, BUT THIS SUCCESS AND, AND THE ABILITY FOR US TO RAPIDLY RESPOND,

[00:35:01]

UM, IS GREATLY IN PART TO ALL OF THE COLLABORATIVE WORK ACROSS THE, UM, HOSPITAL SYSTEMS, ACROSS THE, UM, OTHER MEDICAL PROVIDERS ACROSS THE COMMUNITY, THE SCHOOL DISTRICT ALSO AT ISD DONATED TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF SPACE FOR US TO STAND UP MASS CLINICS.

UM, AND, AND ALL OF THE COMMUNITY PARTNERS JUST COMING TOGETHER AND SAYING, WE'RE GOING TO TACKLE THIS AND WE'RE GOING TO DO THIS TOGETHER.

AND SO THAT REALLY SPEAKS SO MUCH ABOUT US AS A COMMUNITY.

UM, YES, WE HAD SPIKES IN DISEASE, BUT THEN WE WERE IMMEDIATELY READY TO TACKLE IT.

AND YES, WE HAD STRUGGLES TRYING TO MAKE SURE THAT THE MASKING WAS STAYED IN PLACE, BUT WE WORK THROUGH THOSE KINKS AND WE MADE IT WORK SO THAT WE PROTECTED OUR COMMUNITY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

SO AS A WHOLE, THIS WAS A COMMUNITY EFFORT, UM, BEYOND JUST AWESOME PUBLIC HEALTH THAT WE WERE, I THINK WHEN YOU DETERMINE SUCCESS, THE FACT THAT WE, WE, OF COURSE, WE'VE LOST SOME FOLKS ALONG THE WAY WE'VE HAD PEOPLE DIED, BUT WE'VE ACTUALLY HAD, UM, GREAT WORK IN REALLY FLATTENING THE CURVE.

AS QUICKLY AS THOSE SPIKES HAPPENED, WE WOULD, WE WOULD WORK, GET TO WORK AND FLATTEN THE CURVE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE.

SO IT'S, IT'S, IT'S BEEN, UM, ALL OF US COMING TOGETHER AND MAKING IT HAPPEN.

THIS IS THE SECOND TO LAST QUESTION.

SO I AM GOING TO JUMP IN ON THIS, WHAT STILL NEEDS TO CHANGE SO THAT YOU'RE NOT FORCED TO BUILD AN AIRPLANE AS YOU FLY.

IF ANOTHER PANDEMIC OCCURS, I'D LIKE TO START OFF, UM, BY SAYING THAT THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION, BECAUSE WE'RE NOT THE ATTENDANT MIX, NOT OVER, WE'RE STILL, WE'RE STILL IN THIS TO WIN IT.

UM, AND WE'RE STILL WORKING TO HONE OUR MACHINE AND MAKE SURE OUR SYSTEMS THAT WE'VE BEEN USING THAT ARE SUCCESSFUL REMAIN IN PLACE, UM, AND BE READY FOR, UM, WHAT'S WHAT IS GOING TO COME.

UM, THE, THE COLLABORATION THAT'S, UH, CASSIE TALKED ABOUT HAS BEEN REALLY KEY TO OUR SUCCESS, UM, COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE PARTIES INVOLVED AT ALL LEVELS OF, UM, PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL PROVIDERS AND HOSPITALS AND NURSING HOMES AND SCHOOLS AND, AND NEIGHBORS.

UM, ALL OF THAT IS WHY WE ARE WHERE WE ARE TODAY, AND THAT MUST CONTINUE AND, AND, AND FOSTERED AS WE GO FORWARD.

EVEN AFTER WE GET TO A POINT WHERE WE SAY THE PANDEMICS OVER THOSE COLLABORATIONS MUST BE CONTAINED, MAINTAINED, BECAUSE THEY REALLY ARE THE CADENCE OF THE SUCCESS OF WHAT'S HAPPENED HERE.

I WOULD AGREE WITH THAT.

DR.

WALKS BY, I ALSO THINK THAT THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION HAS, UM, SET THE TONE FOR THAT.

THE AMERICAN RELIEF PACKAGE INCLUDES SPECIFIC LANGUAGE ABOUT SUPPORT FOR PUBLIC HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE, UM, AND SUPPORT FOR THE PUBLIC HEALTH WORKFORCE.

AND SO THAT NATIONAL INVESTMENT WILL TRICKLE DOWN TO, UM, LOCAL MUNICIPALITIES.

AND, UM, I'M HOPEFUL THAT HERE IN OUR COMMUNITY, WE WILL BE ABLE TO PUT THOSE DOLLARS TO GOOD USE SPECIFICALLY INFRASTRUCTURE BOOKS SHOULD THOUGH, LIKE, I KNOW HOW A LOT OF THE DATA WAS BEING INPUTTED IN THE BEGINNING WAS ANTIQUATED, THINGS LIKE THAT.

UM, ARE WE UP TO SPEED? UM, HAVE THOSE SYSTEMS BEEN MODERNIZED OR DO WE STILL HAVE A WAYS TO GO? UM, I'LL ANSWER THAT.

UM, AS FAR AS LIKE, THERE'S SOME THINGS THAT ARE NOT MODERNIZED, OBVIOUSLY WE STILL RECEIVE MULTIPLE LABORATORY REPORTS VIA FAX MACHINE.

UM, THERE'S NOT A ELECTRONIC, I MEAN, THERE ARE WAYS TO RECEIVE IT ELECTRONICALLY.

I THINK THAT'S IMPROVED OVER TIME.

UM, YOU KNOW, UH, BUT THERE ARE STILL SOME PROVIDERS WHO, WHO ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO REPORT TO LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH DISEASES OF NOTIFIABLE CONDITIONS, WHETHER IT BE RABIES COVID, UM, AND THOSE TYPES OF THINGS.

AND WE FOLLOW UP WITH THEM, BUT WE STILL, UH, THEY, THEY STILL RELY HEAVILY ON FAX MACHINES TO GET THAT INFORMATION TO US.

HOWEVER, WE HAVE MADE HUGE IMPROVEMENTS AS FAR AS LIKE WORKING WITH PROVIDERS TO GET LINE LISTINGS AND DATA FEEDS INTO OUR SYSTEM.

UH, THE SYSTEM THAT WE ARE CURRENTLY USING, WHICH IS ON A SALESFORCE PLATFORM IS TIED TO OUR TESTING, UH, YOU KNOW, SO THAT ONCE WE GET TESTS, WE CAN BEGIN DOING THE CASE INVESTIGATION AND CONTACT TRACING.

SO THE SYSTEM THAT WE HAVE IN PLACE,

[00:40:01]

UM, IS, UH, CURRENTLY OPERATING VERY EFFECTIVELY AND, UH, WE'RE ABLE TO, YOU KNOW, PULL INFORMATION OUT.

IT'S WHAT FEEDS OUR DASHBOARD ON A DAILY BASIS.

IF YOU, UH, SEE ANY OF OUR DASHBOARDS THAT ARE ON OUR, UH, COVID WEBPAGE, UH, MANY OF THOSE ARE FED FROM THE DATA FEEDS THAT, UH, WE, UH, ANALYZE ON A DAILY BASIS.

UM, SO I DO THINK THERE HAVE BEEN VAST IMPROVEMENTS, UH, AND, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE THINGS LIKE, UH, DIRECT DATA FEEDS BACK TO THE STATE TO IMPROVE DATA REPORTING AND TIMELY REPORTING INTO THE STATE AS WELL.

ALTHOUGH THERE'S ALWAYS AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT THAT I THINK CAN CONTINUE.

AND I'M HOPING AS, UH, UH, ADRIAN MENTIONED THAT THE AMERICAN RELIEF PACKAGE AND FUNDING THAT GOES TO THE CDC AND TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS AND LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS, UH, CONTINUES TO FOCUS ON THOSE EFFORTS OF IMPROVING, UH, YOU KNOW, DISEASE, UH, REPORTING AND, UH, ALLOWS US TO IMPROVE OUR EPI INVESTIGATION IN A TIMELY WAY, BECAUSE, UH, I THINK THAT WILL HELP, UH, CONTROL ANY TYPE OF EPIDEMIC OR OUTBREAK THAT WE MAY HAVE IN THE FUTURE.

AND I, AND I JUST WANT TO ADD, UM, YOU KNOW, LOCALLY, THERE'S DEFINITELY THINGS THAT WE, UM, SEE IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE THAT, UM, CAN IMPROVE THE PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM, AGAIN, NOT JUST FROM PUBLIC HEALTH, BUT ALSO FROM ALL OF THE PROVIDERS THAT FEED INTO THE SYSTEM.

IT'S SOMETHING ELSE TO THINK ABOUT IS WE'RE A PART OF A LARGER STATEWIDE PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM AND NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM.

AND SO THERE'S INFRASTRUCTURE GAPS THAT ARE ALL ALONG THAT CONTINUUM.

AND, UM, THIS IS A REAL OPPORTUNITY AS JANET SAID, PUBLIC HEALTH.

IS THERE ALWAYS, UM, BUT THE SYSTEMS HAVEN'T BEEN FORTIFIED TO THE LEVEL THAT, UM, WHEN A PANDEMIC LIKE THIS HITS, UM, THERE ARE SOME GAPS AND THIS, UH, WAS AN IMPORTANT, UM, OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO IDENTIFY WHERE THOSE GAPS ARE AT ALL OF THOSE DIFFERENT LEVELS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM.

AND I THINK IMPORTANT WORK IS AHEAD OF US TO, UH, REFLECT ON HOW WE CAN IMPROVE AND THEN REFLECT ON HOW WE WOULD MOVE FORWARD, UM, AND, UH, TAKE THOSE LESSONS LEARNED INTO OUR ONGOING PROGRAMMING AND OUR ONGOING, UM, DECISION-MAKING AT ALL OF THOSE LEVELS, LOCAL STATE AND NATIONAL THIS WITH MASS EVENTS RETURNING TO OUR AREA, WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS? AND THEN I'D JUST LIKE TO TACK ON ONLY ABOUT 53% OF TRAVIS COUNTY RESIDENTS OVER THE AGE OF 12 ARE FULLY VACCINATED, BUT IF YOU LOOK AROUND THINGS LOOK PRETTY MUCH AS THEY DID PRE PANDEMIC.

SO WHAT CONCERNS DO YOU HAVE IF ANY, ABOUT THESE MASSIVE, UM, I'LL START WITH THAT.

UM, WE ARE READY, WILLING, AND ABLE TO WORK WITH EVENT PLANNERS AND BUSINESSES THAT ARE PLANNING EVENTS.

UM, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THAT'S A VITAL PART OF THE AUSTIN ECONOMY.

UM, AND WE ARE, OUR TEAM IS READY TO HELP WITH PLANNING, UM, LOOK AT BEST PRACTICES SO THAT WE CAN DO THESE THINGS IN A SAFE MANNER, UM, ENCOURAGING MASKING, UM, WHERE NECESSARY, UM, LOOKING AT, UM, OUTDOOR VERSUS INDOOR WITHOUT DOOR BEING A LOT MORE OF A, UM, A SAFER ENVIRONMENT FOR THESE THINGS TO OCCUR.

SO, UM, THE APH TEAM IS READY TO, UM, WORK AND MEET WITH THOSE INDIVIDUALS AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE, ARE LOOKING AT DOING EVENTS.

AND I'LL ALSO JUST ADD THAT, UM, PART OF THE EPIDEMIOLOGIC RESPONSE HERE AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH IS, UH, WHAT WE CALL SITUATIONAL AWARENESS.

UH, WE ARE MONITORING AT ALL TIMES CIRCULATIONS OF ANY TYPE OF DISEASE, WHETHER IT BE EBOLA, LASSA FEVER, UH, COVID 19, THE VARIANTS OF COVID-19 THAT ARE CIRCULATING THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

AND THE REASON WHY IS, YOU KNOW, IF ANYBODY SAW THE NEWS THIS MORNING AND SAW HOW CROWDED AUSTIN AIRPORT WAS DISEASES ONLY AN AIRPLANE RIDE AWAY, IT DOESN'T MATTER WHERE YOU ARE.

IF YOU'RE IN EUROPE, IF YOU'RE IN, IN ASIA, UM, IT, YOU COULD BE ANYWHERE AND IT'S JUST A, UH, AIRPLANE RIDE AWAY.

AND SO WE WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, UH, A DIVISION OF GLOBAL MIGRATION AND QUARANTINE OFFICE.

THAT'S BASED OUT OF HOUSTON, UH, TO FOLLOW AND MONITOR TRAVELERS WHO MAY RETURN INTO

[00:45:01]

THE AUSTIN AREA OR WHO, UH, DEPART IN AUSTIN, UH, TO BE PART OF THE EVENTS AND FESTIVITIES THAT OCCUR IN CENTRAL TEXAS.

SO, UM, THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THEY ASK US TO MAINTAIN AND MONITOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS, AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT AT THEIR DIRECTION, THAT WE ARE ALSO, YOU KNOW, UH, VERY INTERESTED IN MONITORING SOME OF THESE EVENTS TO, TO SEE IF, UH, PEOPLE WHO ARE BRINGING ILLNESS IN, UM, UH, YOU KNOW, THAT'S PART OF OUR, OUR SCREENING AND WORKUP, SHOULD SOMEONE PRESENT TO THE HOSPITAL OR WHATNOT.

SO, SO, YOU KNOW, WE ARE DOING THAT DISEASE SURVEILLANCE, THAT SITUATIONAL AWARENESS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE AWARENESS AT ALL TIMES OF WHAT KIND OF DISEASES ARE CIRCULATING THROUGHOUT THE, THE WORLD AND THE UNITED STATES.

THAT IS FOR OUR QUESTIONS.

AND I'M SORRY ABOUT THAT BARKING DOG.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO FOX SEVEN FOR, UH, BEING OUR POOR REPORTER FOR, UH, OUR FINAL, UH, MEDIA Q AND A EVENT.

AND WITH THAT, I WILL GO, UH, BACK AROUND LEADERSHIP AND SEE IF YOU HAVE ANY FINAL COMMENTS ON WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO, UH, TELL OUT TO THE COMMUNITY.

AND WE'LL START WITH ADRIAN.

THANK YOU, MATT.

UM, MY MESSAGE IS THE SAME, NO MATTER WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND YOU, YOU AS A CITIZEN HAS THE POWER TO MAKE THE CHOICE.

THAT'S BEST FOR YOU.

MY FAMILY REAL QUICK STORY.

MY SON IS 14 FIRST DAY OF CAMP YESTERDAY.

HE'S GOT HIS MASK ON, CAUSE HE ALREADY KNOWS HE WALKS IN.

HE DOESN'T SEE ANY KIDS WITH MASK ON AND HE ASKED, THE COUNSELOR ARE MASS REQUIRED HERE.

AND THE COUNSELOR SAYS, WELL, IT'S YOUR CHOICE.

AND HE LOOKS AROUND AND HE SAYS TO ME, MOM, I'M GOING TO TAKE THIS OFF AND PUT IT IN MY POCKET BECAUSE I KNOW WE'RE GOING TO BE OUTSIDE ALL DAY.

I HAVE MY HAND SANITIZER.

AND IF I FEEL UNSAFE, I'M GOING TO PUT MY MASK BACK ON.

AND THEN THE FIVE MINUTES THAT I HAD TO MAKE THE DROP-OFF, I WAS LIKE, OKAY, WE'LL TALK MORE ABOUT IT.

WHEN WE GET HOME.

MY POINT, THE POINT OF THAT STORY IS YOU CAN USE INFORMATION THAT'S READILY AVAILABLE TO MAKE THE CHOICE THAT BEST FITS YOU, SUITS YOU AND MEETS YOUR COMFORT LEVEL.

AND SO I ENCOURAGE YOU TO CONTINUE TO MASK CONTINUE, CONTINUE TO DISTANCE, CONTINUE TO WASH YOUR HANDS.

WHEN YOU HAVE ACCESS TO SOAP AND WATER AND NOT KEEP YOUR LITTLE HAND SANITIZER WITH YOU.

IF A 14 YEAR OLD TEAM, BOY CAN GET THAT DOWN.

I'M CONFIDENT THAT AS A COMMUNITY, WE CAN ALL ADAPT THOSE SAME DECISION-MAKING STRATEGIES TO DO WHAT'S BEST FOR OURSELVES AND OUR NEIGHBORS.

THANK YOU.

I HA I JUST WANT TO SAY ONCE AGAIN, I AM HUMBLED BY THE CONFIDENCE AND PLEASED TO BE HERE, UM, THAT, UH, I'M JUST REALLY EXCITED TO BE PART OF THE APH TEAM.

UM, THE PANDEMIC'S NOT OVER, SO PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DO THE SOCIAL DISTANCING HAND-WASHING AND MASK WHEN APPROPRIATE, BUT PLEASE, YOU KNOW, SOMEBODY WHO'S SITTING ON THE FENCE NEEDS A LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT BEING VACCINATED, ENCOURAGE THEM TO GET THE VACCINE.

WE WANT TO GET TO 70%.

I'D LOVE TO SIT OUTSIDE ON JULY 4TH WITH THE FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS AND WATCH THOSE FIREWORKS, UH, JUST LIKE WE ALL WOULD.

AND, UM, IT'D BE REALLY NICE TO LISTEN TO MUSIC AGAIN.

UM, SO LET'S DO IT AUSTIN.

WELL, THANKS EVERYONE FOR, UH, ALL THE HARD WORK AND EFFORTS TO GET US WHERE WE ARE OVER THE LAST YEAR.

WE'VE MADE SOME HERE WE'VE, WE'VE, UH, JUMPED SOME HUGE HURDLES AS FAR AS, UH, THE FIRST AND SECOND WAVE GOES ABOUT IMPLEMENTATION OF VACCINE OPERATIONS, BUT IT IS AS DR.

WATSON, ADRIAN HAVE BOTH MENTIONED THAT WE WERE NOT, THIS IS, WE'RE NOT OVER IT.

THIS IS NOT OVER YET.

UH, I'D LIKE FOR IT TO BE OVER, TRUST ME, WE'VE BEEN WORKING MANY, MANY LONG HOURS.

AND, UH, WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE OUR FAMILIES, UH, MORE FREQUENTLY, BUT, UM, YOU KNOW, AND I WON'T BELABOR THE POINT OF PREVENTION MEASURES.

ALTHOUGH THEY SAY, IF YOU HEAR IT MORE THAN ONCE OR THREE TIMES, IT SINKS IN.

SO, UH, WASH YOUR HANDS, AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE, WEAR YOUR MASK, A SOCIAL DISTANCE AND STAY HOME IF YOU'RE SICK.

UH, AND WITH THAT, I'LL ADD ONE OTHER, UH,

[00:50:01]

PREVENTION MESSAGE AND THAT'S FOR MOSQUITO SEASON.

AND THAT IS TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU AVOID BEING OUTSIDE AT DARK DUSK AND DAWN.

UH, WHEN MOSQUITOES ARE BITING WHERE DATE OR OTHER RELATED PRODUCTS, UH, MAKE SURE YOU'RE DRESSED APPROPRIATELY APPROPRIATELY TO AVOID MOSQUITO BITES AND DRAIN ANY STANDING WATERS, UH, TO REDUCE AN ENVIRONMENT FOR MOSQUITO BREEDING AND WITH I'LL TURN IT OVER TO KATHY DAILY ON, THANK YOU, JANET.

I JUST WANT TO SHARE A FEW STATISTICS, UM, FOR THE COMMUNITY TO CONSIDER AS WE MOVE INTO THE WEEKEND AND YOU ARE MAKING THE DECISION WHETHER OR NOT TO GET THE VACCINE, IF YOU HAVEN'T YET, OR YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENCOURAGE SOMEONE TO GET THE VACCINE.

WE HAVE A NATIONAL GOAL TO, UH, GET ALL ADULTS, UM, VACCINATED AND THE EFFORT TO TRY TO GET UP TO 70% OF ALL ADULTS VACCINATED BY JULY 4TH.

SO WE RIGHT NOW IN TRAVIS COUNTY ARE SITTING AT ALMOST 66% OF ALL ADULTS VACCINATED WITH THEIR FIRST DOSE.

AND THAT'S WHAT THAT GOAL IS.

IT'S BY JULY 4TH, ALL ADULTS, 70% GET THAT FIRST DOSE.

SO 70% FIRST DOSE BY JULY 4TH, WE'RE ALMOST THERE.

WE JUST REALLY WANT TO ENCOURAGE THE REST OF OUR COMMUNITY.

THAT MAY BE ON THE FENCE.

THEY'RE NOT THERE YET, BUT WE WANT TO GET THEM VACCINATED TO TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY THIS WEEKEND, TO FIND A PROVIDER THAT SUITS THEM.

THERE'S LOTS OF CHOICES FOR VACCINE AND IT'S, IT'S FREE.

IT'S AVAILABLE IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT LOCATIONS.

SO ONE, I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO GET VACCINATED.

WE ALREADY KNOW THAT, UM, OVER 730,000 INDIVIDUALS IN TRAVIS COUNTY HAVE GOTTEN THEIR FIRST DOSE.

THAT'S MORE THAN HALF OF OUR POPULATION.

WE'RE GETTING THERE, BUT WE STILL HAVE MORE WORK TO DO AND THE COMMUNITY CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN.

SO WE REALLY WANNA ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO GET OUT, GET VACCINATED SO THAT WE CAN ATTAIN THAT 70% OF ALL OF OUR ELIGIBLE POPULATION GET HAD THEIR FIRST DOSE VACCINE BY JULY 4TH.

WITH THAT, I AM EXCITED TO WISH YOU A HAPPY AND A FUN WEEKEND AND JUST ENJOY THE SUMMER.

THANK YOU, AUSTIN.

THANKS CASSIE.

AND THIS CONCLUDES OUR FINAL MEDIA Q AND A, UM, WITH THAT I'D LIKE TO THANK AD INTERIM DIRECTOR SYRUP, UH, CASSIE DELI ON DR.

WACHS AND JANET PICHETTE FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING.

IT WAS THAT EVERYONE HAVE A GREAT AND SAFE WEEKENDS.

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