Link

Social

Embed

Download

Download
Download Transcript

[COVID-19: Press Q & A]

[00:00:09]

GOOD MORNING.

I'M LASHONDRA SHAW PIO FOR THE CF AUSTIN.

AND I AM THE MODERATOR FOR TODAY'S MEDIA AVAILABILITY.

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

DESMO MAR WALKS AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY WILL FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY INTERIM AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP, THEN JANET PICHET, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, AND THEN CASSANDRA DE LEON AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION.

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

WALKS OVER TO YOU.

GOOD MORNING, HERE IN AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY, WE ARE EXPERIENCING A SURGE DUE TO THE DELTA VARIANT.

AND THIS SURGE IS SOMETHING THAT WE, AS A COMMUNITY CAN TAKE STEPS TO, UM, CHANGE BY CHANGING BEHAVIORS, MASKING TO STOP THE SPREAD VACCINATIONS, UH, SO THAT WE DON'T BECOME INFECTED STAYING HOME.

IF WE'RE SICK AND AS A COMMUNITY, IF YOU'RE BEING TESTED AND FINDING THAT YOU ARE POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, PLEASE GO AND GET SOME EVALUATION DONE BY A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER.

WE NOW HAVE SERVICES IN OUR COMMUNITY CALLED MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY INFUSION THERAPY, WHICH CAN BE USED EARLY ON IN TREATING COVID-19 SO THAT YOU WILL DECREASE THE CHANCES OF BEING HOSPITALIZED.

IT'S FOR THOSE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE AND ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA ARE THAT YOU ARE SOMEONE WHO HAS THE POTENTIAL FOR DEVELOPING A SEVERE CASE OF COVID THAT MAY REQUIRE HOSPITALIZATION.

AS OUR HOSPITALS ARE NOW EXPERIENCING HOT, LARGER NUMBERS OF CASES.

THIS IS IMPACTING OUR ICU BED CAPACITY, AND IT IS LARGELY DUE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT VACCINATED IN OUR COMMUNITY.

SO WE ALSO URGE THAT PEOPLE GO AND GET VACCINATED.

NOW, AS A REMINDER, WE ARE NOW IN STAGE FIVE.

SO IF YOU ARE VACCINATED AND DO GO OUT IN PUBLIC, PLEASE AVOID LARGE CROWDS.

HOWEVER, IF YOU ARE IN A LARGE CROWD, WEAR A MASK, IF YOU'RE UNABLE TO ADEQUATELY SOCI SOCIAL DISTANCE OUTDOORS, PLEASE WEAR A MASK IN THOSE.

WE ALSO ASK THAT IF YOU ARE UN-VACCINATED AND UNPROTECTED FROM COVID-19 BY VACCINATION, THAT YOU WEAR A MASK.

AS WE NOW ARE OPENING OUR SCHOOLS, WE ARE URGING OUR PARENTS TO HAVE THEIR CHILDREN WHERE MASS.

WE KNOW THAT WE ARE NOT ABLE TO VACCINATE CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 12.

AND IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE PROTECT THEM BY HAVING CHILDREN WEAR MASK AND STAFF WORE MASK IN THIS CONGREGATES SITUATION.

AND NOW PASS THIS OVER TO DIRECTOR STIR.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

I START TO WALK SAID WE ARE IN A STAGE DUE TO THE DELTA VARIANT.

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT WE HAVE RESOURCES AT OUR DISPOSAL.

THE FIRST IS THE AMAZING TEAM AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, WHO ARE WORKING DAY AND NIGHT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE NOT ONLY PROVIDING VACCINATIONS, BUT AS THE COMMUNITY DEMAND FOR TESTING HAS INCREASED FOR RAMPING UP THOSE OPERATIONS.

WE'RE WORKING WITH OUR PARTNERS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE ADEQUATE ISOLATION FACILITIES TO HELP RESIDENTS STAY SAFE, AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TIRELESSLY TIRELESSLY TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY.

THE OTHER TOOL AT OUR DISPOSAL IS A MASKING.

WE CAN MASK OUR WAY OUT OF THIS SEARCH.

THE THIRD TOOL IS VACCINATION.

WE CAN VACCINATE OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC.

AND WITH THAT, I'LL PASS IT OVER TO JANET PICHET.

UH, GOOD MORNING.

UM, AS BOTH DR.

ROCKS AND ADRIAN HAVE MENTIONED, UH, WE ARE SEEING AN EXPONENTIAL GROWTH OF CASES IN THE AUSTIN TRAVIS COUNTY AREA AND THROUGHOUT THE STATE.

UM, YOU KNOW, THIS HAS BEEN HAPPENING SINCE EARLY JULY.

WE THOUGHT WE WERE AT AN ALL TIME LOW AND WE WERE HOPE HOPING THAT THINGS WOULD FLATTEN OUT, BUT WE'RE SEEING A HUGE INCREASE IN CASES, UH, AND CONTINUE

[00:05:01]

TO SEE THAT, UM, AS HISTORY HAS SHOWN BASED ON H ONE N ONE, UM, AND SOME OF OUR PREVIOUS SPIKES, I ANTICIPATE THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO SEE, UH, CASES INCREASE OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS BEFORE THINGS GET BETTER.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE ARE SEEING CLUSTERS IN CONGREGATE SETTINGS, SUCH AS LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES, BUT WHAT WE ARE SEEING BASED ON OUR INVESTIGATIONS IS THAT VACCINE IS WORKING.

AND FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO'VE BEEN VACCINATED.

IF THEY ARE, UH, EXPERIENCING A BREAKTHROUGH INFRACTION, WE ARE SEEING THAT THEY LIKE THE GOVERNOR ARE ASYMPTOMATIC, OR THEY ARE EXPERIENCING A LESS SEVERE ILLNESS.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, THEY ARE NOT THE INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE SURGING OUR HEALTHCARE CAPACITY CURRENTLY.

SO I WOULD IMPLORE TO, TO THOSE CITIZENS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN VACCINATED TO CONSIDER STRONGLY CONSIDERED, UH, YOU KNOW, GETTING VACCINATED AND PROTECTING OUR COMMUNITY AT LARGE AND TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN WHO ARE, ARE A VULNERABLE POPULATION WHO ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE AT THE CURRENT TIME.

UM, AND WITH THAT ALTERNATE OVER TO, UH, CASSIE DELEON, THANK YOU, JANET.

AND GOOD MORNING, WE KNOW, UH, FROM THE OTHER PANELISTS, UH, CONVERSATION THAT WE'RE HAVING AND FROM AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, THAT VACCINE IS OUR BEST TOOL TO HELP PROTECT US FROM THIS VIRUS.

UM, AND WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE THOSE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED TO SEEK THAT VACCINE.

WE ALSO ARE, UM, WORKING TO, UH, BRING INFORMATION TO THE COMMUNITY ABOUT THE NEW INFORMATION ABOUT BOOSTERS.

RECENTLY, THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL DID IDENTIFY AND RECOMMEND THAT BOOSTERS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WHO ARE IMMUNOCOMPROMISED.

WE ENCOURAGE INDIVIDUALS WHO FEEL, THEY MEET THAT CRITERIA TO TALK WITH THEIR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER, TO SEE IF A BOOSTER IS NEEDED FOR THEM AT THIS POINT IN TIME.

AND THEN ALSO WANT TO LET EVERYONE KNOW THERE ARE MANY, MANY LOCATIONS PHARMACIES PROVIDERS AVAILABLE TO GET VACCINE FOR FIRST, SECOND DOSE AND BOOSTERS THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY.

SO IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR VACCINE OR LOOKING FOR BOOSTER, WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO, TO PROVIDE TWO, TO LOOK FOR THOSE PROVIDERS.

AWESOME.

PUBLIC HEALTH IS ALSO LOOKING AT HOW OUR OPERATIONS CAN HELP MOBILIZE THE BOOSTER ROLLOUT.

AND WE ARE PREPARED TO PROVIDE A BOOSTER IF SOMEONE HAS THAT NEED.

WE DO WANT TO NOTE THAT OUR CURRENT FOCUS AT THIS TIME IS ON THOSE WHO ARE STILL UN-VACCINATED AND THOSE WHO HAVE ARE NOT FULLY VACCINATED.

SO WE DO WANT TO FOCUS ON OUR EFFORTS, REALLY REACHING THOSE POPULATIONS THAT STILL HAVE NOT GOTTEN THAT FIRST LEVEL OF PROTECTION.

AND WITH THAT, I'LL OPEN THIS UP FOR QUESTIONS.

THANK YOU, CASSIE.

AT THIS TIME, WE WILL NOW OPEN IT UP TO OUR POOL REPORTER, OLIVIA ALDRIDGE FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT OLIVIA GOOD MORNING GUYS.

UM, CASSANDRA MENTIONED, UM, THE AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH EFFORTS TO ROLL OUT BOOSTER SHOTS TO IMMUNOCOMPROMISED PEOPLE, BUT THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT BOOSTER SHOTS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC BY THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 20TH.

SO DOES APH HAVE PLANS TO SUPPORT A BROADER BOOSTER ROLLOUT THIS FALL? I CAN JUMP IN AND ANSWER.

UM, WE ARE, UM, WORKING TO ENSURE THAT WE ARE, UM, INCREASING OUR VACCINE CLINIC CAPACITY TO ENCOMPASS THE NEED TO PROVIDE BOOSTERS FOR THOSE, UM, THAT BECOME ELIGIBLE ON THAT NINE 20 DATE, WHICH IS ANYONE WHO IS AT THAT EIGHT MONTH MARK SINCE THEIR SECOND FULL DOSE.

UM, SO WE ARE WORKING TO PUT THOSE PLANS IN MOTION AND INCREASING OUR CURRENT, UH, CAPACITY SO THAT THERE IS OPPORTUNITY FOR THOSE TO GET VACCINATED AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH.

WE ALSO WANT TO ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THERE IS MUCH MORE VACCINE AVAILABLE THAN WHEN VACCINE INITIALLY HIT OUR COMMUNITY BACK IN JANUARY.

AND THERE ARE MANY, MANY MORE VACCINE PROVIDERS.

WE CURRENTLY HAVE A LOT OF VACCINE AVAILABLE IN OUR, IN OUR CURRENT COMMUNITY.

AND WE KNOW THAT THE BOOSTER IS THE EXISTING VACCINE THAT WE CURRENTLY HAVE.

SO WE ARE, WE ARE WORKING TO PLAN HOW WE WOULD ROLL THOSE, THOSE PLANS OUT, UM, AND ARE CONFIDENT THAT THERE WOULD BE PLENTY OF SUPPLY TO MEET THE DEMANDS THAT WE MIGHT SEE.

UM, COME, UH, SEPTEMBER 20TH, THIS QUESTION IS FROM UNIVISION.

GOVERNOR ABBOTT SAID HE WILL SEEK OUT OF STATE HELP AND GET EXTRA MEDICAL STAFF TO ALLEVIATE THE SITUATION IN AREA HOSPITALS HAS AUSTIN OR OTHER AREAS OF TRAVIS COUNTY RECEIVED THAT HELP.

AND IF SO, IN WHICH HOSPITALS ARE THESE EXTRA NURSES AND OR DOCTORS

[00:10:02]

WE HAVE BEEN SEEING, UM, THE ARRIVAL OF HELP OR OUR AREA HOSPITALS, THE EXACT DETAILS AND DEPLOYMENT, UM, METHODS ARE AVAILABLE BY CONTACTING OUR CAPITOL AREA TRAUMA REGIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL, UM, FOR THE COMPLETE DETAILS AND OR THE HOSPITAL SYSTEMS. YEAH.

AND I WILL ADD THAT, UH, WE HAVE SEEN AN INFLUX OF SUPPORT FROM THE STATE IN THE WAY OF, UH, AS WE MENTIONED, REGIONAL INFUSION, UM, AND, AND, UH, IDENTIFYING HEALTHCARE STAFFING THAT WILL SUPPORT, UH, THE HOSPITAL SURGE.

UH, THE CAPITAL ERIC TRAUMA, REGIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL, UM, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGING AND DEPLOYING THOSE ASSETS INTO AN 11 COUNTY REGION THAT INCLUDES AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY.

SO THERE WOULD BE THE BEST SOURCE, UH, TO PROVIDE, YOU KNOW, HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE COME IN AND HOW MANY HAVE BEEN ACTUALLY DEPLOYED OUT AT THE CURRENT TIME QUESTION FROM CBS AUSTIN SCHOOL STARTED JUST A FEW DAYS AGO, BUT WHAT ARE YOU SEEING IN TERMS OF REPORTED CASES IN SCHOOLS AND SCHOOL DISTRICTS, ARE THE NUMBERS HIGHER OR LOWER THAN EXPECTED? UM, CURRENTLY WE'RE, YOU KNOW, WE'RE WORKING VERY CLOSELY WITH THE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO, UH, IDENTIFY AND MANAGE ANY KIND OF CLUSTERS OR OUTBREAKS THEY MAY HAVE IN THEIR SCHOOL SETTINGS.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE MAY NOT SEE THE ACTUAL EFFECT OF INCREASE IN CASES FOR ANOTHER WEEK OR SO.

UH, I'M GONNA GUESS, YOU KNOW, MAY GIVE IT A INCUBATION PERIOD WHERE EXPOSURES OCCUR, BUT WE ARE SEEING THE RESULT OF SOME SITUATIONS WHERE PEOPLE ARE EXPOSED TO POSITIVE CASES, UH, BECAUSE UH, CHILDREN HAVE COME TO SCHOOL POSITIVE AND CLASSROOMS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED.

SO, UH, WE'RE JUST TRYING TO HELP SUPPORT THE SCHOOL SYSTEMS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO IDENTIFY, UH, AND, AND ALERT CONTACTS THAT HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO POSITIVE CHILDREN AND SUPPORT THEM IN THAT CAPACITY.

THAT IT'LL PROBABLY TAKE A WEEK OR TWO BEFORE WE HAVE REAL OBVIOUS, UH, OUTBREAKS OCCURRING THAT, THAT WE CAN SEE.

AND IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE REINFORCE AT THIS POINT THAT CHILDREN AND STAFF IN OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS AND CHILDCARE CENTERS WEAR MASKS BECAUSE WE HAVE A LARGE PORTION OF OUR POPULATION THAT ARE UNDER AGE 12 AND ARE, WILL REMAIN UNPROTECTED BY VACCINATIONS UNTIL VACCINES ARE APPROVED FOR THAT AGE GROUP.

AND I WILL JUST ADD ON TO WHAT DR.

ROX IS SAYING IS ONE OTHER THING THAT, YOU KNOW, HAS BEEN, UH, AN ISSUE FOR US, UH, IS THAT A CHILD MAY HAVE SOME MILDER SYMPTOMS AT THE BEGINNING OF THEIR ILLNESS, AND IT COULD LOOK LIKE ALLERGIES OR SNIFFLES OR, UH, THINGS LIKE THAT.

UM, OR IT MAY NOT BE AS OBVIOUS THAT THEY HAVE A SORE THROAT OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

UM, IF CHILDREN ARE SICK, PARENTS NEED TO KEEP THEIR F THEIR CHILDREN AT HOME.

SO THEY DON'T SPREAD ILLNESS, UH, IN THAT CLASSROOM SETTING.

AND, UH, YOU KNOW, ONCE YOU, AND TO GET TESTED, TO CONFIRM THAT DIAGNOSIS OR TO NOT CONFIRM IT RIGHT, UH, THEY NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE ACTING ACCORDINGLY.

IF THEY HAVE A POSITIVE CASE, THEY NEED TO KEEP THAT PERSON OR CHILD, UH, IN ISOLATION FOR A 10 DAY PERIOD.

AND, UH, IF THEY'VE BEEN EXPOSED AS A CONTACT, YOU NEED TO BE MONITORING YOUR CHILDREN, MONITORING YOURSELF, TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON'T DEVELOP AN ILLNESS IN THAT 14 DAY WINDOW, UH, WHICH IS THE INCUBATION PERIOD FROM COOPERATING.

HOW HAS AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, THE CITY OF AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY GUARANTEEING EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENTS, PARTICULARLY TO THE HISTORICALLY UNDERSERVED WHO MAY NOT HAVE PHYSICIANS OR REQUIRED REFERRALS AND OR TRANSPORTATION TO THE TREATMENT SITE, THE MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES ARE FREE TO ALL.

UM, AND THE REQUIREMENT FOR REFERRAL IS, UM, FULFILLED BY PEOPLE GOING TO, UH, THE CLINICS, SETTLE, SEE PEOPLE THAT DO NOT HAVE INSURANCE SUCH AS OUR FEDERALLY QUALIFIED HEALTHCARE CLINICS.

AND, UM, WE CAN ALSO RECEIVE REFERRALS

[00:15:01]

FROM, UH, PATIENTS BEING SEEN AT OUR LOCAL URGENT CARES OR OUR EMERGENCY ROOMS. SO THE ACTUAL MEDICATION ITSELF IS FREE TO ALL, AND THE REFERRALS CAN BE OBTAINED BY ACCESSING THESE, UM, AREAS, THE FREE SOURCES OF HEALTHCARE IN OUR AREA QUESTION FROM KTU.

DO YOU HAVE A RESPONSE TO LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR, GOVERNOR DAN PATRICK STATEMENT LAST NIGHT WHEN HE SAID THAT QUOTE AFRICAN-AMERICANS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN VACCINATED ARE QUOTE THE BIGGEST GROUP IN MOST STATES CONTRIBUTING TO THE SPIKE? UH, I'LL I'LL TAKE THAT ONE.

I THINK THE COMMENT IS UNFORTUNATE.

NOT ONLY DOES IT REPRESENT A SLIGHT MISINTERPRETATION MISINTERPRETATION OF THE DATA, IT MAY ALSO UNINTENTIONALLY CREATE A DIVISIVE ENVIRONMENT, AND THAT'S WHAT WE NEED.

THAT'S NOT WHAT WE NEED TO GET OUT OF THIS.

WE NEED A COLLECTIVE CALL TO ACTION, A COLLECTIVE RESPONSE, TO BE ABLE TO GET OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC.

WHAT I WILL SAY IS THAT THE DATA SHOWS THAT BLACKS ARE MORE SEVERELY IMPACTED BY COVID.

AND THAT IS AN INDICATOR OF WE, THE FACT THAT WE HAVE MORE WORK TO DO TO ADDRESS THE STRUCTURAL AND SYSTEMIC INEQUITIES IN OUR COUNTRY THAT ALLOW HEALTH DISPARITIES TO PERSIST.

AND I'LL ADD, I'LL ADD THAT, YOU KNOW, WE ARE IN A SITUATION RIGHT NOW WHERE WE HAVE WIDESPREAD COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION OF COVID-19, AND IT DOES NOT, UH, DISCRIMINATE, UH, WHO IS, HAS THAT DISEASE, OR HE SPREADS IT.

UH, IT, IT, THOSE NO RACIAL OR AGE OR OTHER ISSUE.

I MEAN, IF ANYTHING, WHAT WE'RE SEEING IS THAT THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN POPULATION IS MORE UNNECESSARILY IMPACTED BY, YOU KNOW, THE IMPACT OF, OF GETTING COVID NOT NECESSARILY SPREADING IT.

THERE'S A DISPARITY, AS FAR AS THE, THE ULTIMATE CONSEQUENCE OF HAVING ILLNESS.

AND I JUST WANT TO LAYER ON, AGAIN, THIS IS INDICATIVE OF THE HISTORICAL, AND UNFORTUNATELY, THE, UM, LACK OF, TO CARE THAT WE SEE THAT DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTS OUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN POPULATION.

AND AS JANET HAS SAID, THIS IS NOT A DISEASE THAT KNOWS RACE OR ETHNICITY OR AGE, THIS IS A DISEASE THAT WILL GET ANYONE.

UM, AND IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO NOT SEPARATE, UM, THESE FACTORS OUT.

UM, THE REASON WHY WE HAVE SURGE IS BECAUSE THE ENTIRE POPULATION IS VULNERABLE AND THE ENTIRE POPULATION HAS TOOLS TO BE ABLE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.

SO WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT HOW WE CAN PROTECT EACH OTHER AND CARE FOR EACH OTHER AS A COMMUNITY AND WORK TOWARDS IMPROVING THAT IN THE COVID RESPONSE.

AND THESE ARE IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED FOR US TO CARRY INTO HOW WE IMPLEMENT HEALTHCARE AND PUBLIC HEALTH BEYOND THIS RESPONSE.

AND I WOULD HOPE I WOULD HOPE THAT GOING FORWARD, THAT WE, AS A COMMUNITY WILL STAND TOGETHER TO MAKE THE CHANGES THAT WE NEED TO MAKE AS A COMMUNITY TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SURGE, BY ENCOURAGING OTHERS WHO ARE UNVACCINATED.

IF WE ARE, ARE VACCINATED TO GO AND GET VACCINATED, TO WEAR MASK, TO STAY HOME, IF WE'RE SICK.

AND IF YOU ARE SICK TO SEEK TREATMENT EARLY, SO THAT YOU CAN AVAIL YOURSELVES OF THE OPPORTUNITY OF, OF GETTING THE TREATMENT THAT WE NOW HAVE IN OUR COMMUNITY WITH MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES IN BEING INFUSED TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF HOSPITALIZATIONS THAT ARE ENTERING OUR AREA HOSPITALS.

AND WHEN I, WHEN I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO ADD THAT LOOK TO TRUSTED SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR THE INFORMATION ABOUT VACCINATIONS AND ABOUT THE MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES, BOTH OF THESE MODES OF TREATMENT ARE SAFE.

SO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR, UM, GO TO THE CDC WEBSITE, BUT USE TRUSTED SOURCES OF INFORMATION SO THAT YOU CAN MAKE A DECISION FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES TO PROTECT YOURSELVES

[00:20:01]

AND PROTECT OUR CHILDREN QUESTION FROM SPECTRUM NEWS.

IS THERE ANY CONCERN ABOUT THE SPREAD OF THE DELTA VARIANT WITH THE FIRST UT HOME FOOTBALL GAME BEING TWO WEEKS AWAY? THE STADIUM IS SAID TO OPERATE AT FULL CAPACITY WITH MORE THAN A HUNDRED THOUSAND FANS, THERE'S ALWAYS A CONCERN THAT TRANSMISSION WILL OCCUR IN ANY SIZE GROUP.

AND SO THE THINGS THAT WE KNOW WORK ARE PROTECTING YOURSELVES BY BEING VACCINATED.

AND NOW THAT WE'RE IN STAGE FIVE, WE'RE ASKING PEOPLE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED AND UNPROTECTED BY THE VACCINE TO STAY HOME.

WE'RE ASKING THOSE WHO ARE SICK TO STAY HOME AND SEEK TREATMENT.

AND WE KNOW THAT THE THINGS THAT WILL PROTECT US WHEN WE'RE IN GROUPS IS TO WEAR MASK SOCIALLY DISTANCE AND TO WASH OUR HANDS AND NOT TOUCH OUR FACE WITH UNCLEAN HANDS.

SO THESE ARE THE MEASURES THAT WE KNOW WORK, AND THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT ARE BEING USED TO MITIGATE THE SPREAD OF DISEASE IN LARGE CROWDS.

AND WE'VE BEEN WORKING IN CLOSE CLOSELY WITH UT AND THEY ARE TAKING THE, MAKING THOSE MEASURES, UM, PART OF THEIR PLANNING.

AND I WILL ALSO ADD THAT, YOU KNOW, IN, UH, AS DR.

ROX HAS MENTIONED, UH, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE WIDESPREAD COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION GOING ON RIGHT NOW.

SO ANY EVENT THAT BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER IN A CONGREGATE MANNER, PEOPLE NEED TO TAKE THE PROTECTIVE MEASURES TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.

AND SOME AREAS OF A GAME WHERE I SEE THAT THERE COULD BE TRANSMISSION OF DISEASE OCCURRING EASILY IS AS, UH, FOLKS ARE QUEUING, UH, ENTERING THE STADIUM EXITING WHEN THEY'RE WAITING IN THAT LINE FOR THE BATHROOM OR WAITING IN LINE FOR THE, FOR A FOOD VENDOR.

UM, AND THEY'RE IN A VERY TIGHT SPACE.

IF YOU, IF YOU STILL GO TO THE GAME, UH, YOUR BEST MEASURES TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE MASKING IN THOSE SITUATIONS AND TRYING TO KEEP DISTANCE BETWEEN YOURSELF AND, AND AS DR.

WACHS MENTIONED USING THOSE PREVENTION TECHNIQUES THAT WE HAVE BEEN SAYING FROM DAY ONE, UH, TO SOCIALLY DISTANCE MASK, UH, WASH YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY, AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE, STAYING HOME, IF YOU'RE SICK, AND NOW WE'RE SAYING, GET VACCINATED.

THAT'S JUST ANOTHER LAYER OF PROTECTION THAT WILL HELP YOU.

AND SO, UH, AGAIN, PEOPLE NEED TO BE CAUTIOUS, UH, WHEN THEY ENTER IN THOSE CONGREGATE TYPE SETTINGS ON WAYS THAT THEY CAN PLACE THEMSELVES AT THE BEST VANTAGE POINT TO PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE.

CAN YOU PLEASE PROVIDE AN UPDATE ON PLANS FOR OPENING A POTENTIAL ALTERNATIVE CARE SITE? WE HAVE REQUESTED RESOURCES FROM THE STATE TO OPEN AN ALTERNATE CARE SITE.

HOWEVER, AT THIS POINT, OUR RESOURCES WITH REGARDS TO STAFFING ARE BEING CONCENTRATED ON OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS AS THEY ARE THE ONES THAT ARE TAKING CARE OF ACTIVE TREATMENT OF COVID CASES AND OUR MED SURGE FLOOR ON OUR MED-SURG FLOORS AND IN OUR ICU, UM, THE PLAN ITSELF IS READY TO GO.

AND ONCE WE'VE TAKEN CARE OF THE PRIORITY, WE WILL IMPLEMENT THE PLAN FOR THE ACS ACCORDINGLY, K X A N ASKS IN A JOINT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS CITY COUNCIL MEETING, DR.

WACHS REFERENCED A MASS CRITICAL CARE GUIDELINES POLICY SHOULD ICU BECOME FULL? CAN YOU GIVE US THE DETAILS ON HOW CLOSE WE ARE TO THAT BEING USED AND WHAT THE GUIDELINES ARE? THOSE GUIDELINES INCLUDE THE USE OF, UH, CLINICAL PARAMETERS THAT WE USE TO MONITOR THE CONDITION THAT WE FIND OUR PATIENTS IN, AND THEN ASSESSING, UH, THE, THE TREATMENT MODALITIES THAT WOULD BEST SERVE THEIR NEEDS.

THAT, UM, IS A SITUATION THAT IS ONGOING THROUGHOUT THE CLINICAL PRACTICE OF MEDICINE.

AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THIS SITUATION, UM, WITH REGARDS TO THE BEDS AND THE S THE STAFFING NEEDS OF OUR HOSPITALS.

AND AS WE GET TO A POINT WHERE THERE IS A SHORTAGE TO THE POINT WHERE WE NEED TO MAKE THE CHANGE, UM, TO IMPLEMENT THOSE PLANS, THEN

[00:25:01]

THE, THOSE PLANS WILL BE IMPLEMENTED.

BUT AT THIS TIME WE'RE STARTING TO SEE STAFF ARRIVE TO HELP IN OUR AREA HOSPITALS.

AND WE'RE ABLE TO CONTINUE ON WITH THE USUAL STANDARD OF CARE THAT WE, UM, HAVE FROM KUT LOCAL DATA SUGGESTS CASES, AND HOSPITALIZATIONS MAY HAVE REACHED A PEAK THIS WEEK.

IS THAT HOW YOU'RE INTERPRETING THE DATA? AND IF SO, WHAT WOULD THAT MEAN FOR THE REGION? IT'S NOT CLEAR THAT WE'VE REACHED A PEAK.

WE WILL LIKE TO SAY THAT THAT IS TRUE, BUT WE ALSO KNOW THAT THERE'S AN IMPACT THAT'S GOING TO BE SEEN AS A RESULT OF THE OPENING OF SCHOOLS.

WE'RE ALREADY SEEING AN INCREASED NUMBER OF CASES IN THOSE CONGREGATE SETTINGS, WHICH ARE SCHOOLS AND CHILDCARE CENTERS.

SO WE'RE HOPEFUL THAT IF, UM, AREAS SCHOOLS WILL, UM, IMPLEMENT MASKING OF CHILDREN AND STAFF, THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO MITIGATE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.

WE'RE HOPEFUL THAT IF HER PARENTS, UM, WILL KEEP CHILDREN HOME, WHO ARE SICK AND HAVE THEM TESTED TO ASSESS WHETHER THEY HAVE COVID AND THEN USE THE APPROPRIATE METHOD FOR HAVING THAT CHILD STAY AT HOME AND ISOLATE, AND THEN NOTIFY THE SCHOOLS THAT THEIR CHILD IS SICK AND HAS COVID.

SO THAT CLOSE CONTACTS CAN BE IDENTIFIED, AND THOSE CLOSED CONTEXTS CAN BE KEPT IN QUARANTINE, THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO KEEP THE SPREAD FROM INCREASING.

AND IF WE'RE ABLE TO DO THAT, DO THAT, THEN THIS MAY TRULY BE A PEAK, HOWEVER, IT'S INCUMBENT UPON THIS COMMUNITY TO DO THE THINGS THAT IT NEEDS TO DO TO GET THIS SURGE, TO DECREASE, GET OUR CASE NUMBERS, TO DECREASE.

AND SO WE ARE, ARE LOOKING TO THE COMMUNITY TO MAKE THOSE CHANGES AND WORK WITH US TO DECREASE THE SPREAD.

AND I'LL JUST ADD FROM THE EPIDEMIOLOGIC PERSPECTIVE, YOU KNOW, WE ARE SEEING, UM, CASE REPORTS AND LAB RESULTS COMING INTO THE OFFICE, UH, EVERY DAY.

UH, WE, WE RECEIVE A NUMBER OF CASES WE'RE WORKING ON A BACKLOG OF CASES THAT HAVE BEEN REPORTED AS WELL, THAT WE'RE TRYING TO FOLLOW UP ON.

SO, UM, I HAVEN'T SEEN, I, I WOULD SAY THAT OUR, OUR CASE NUMBERS ARE PRETTY STEADY, UH, AND THEY'RE, UH, HIGHER THAN I WANT THEM TO BE.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, WITH SCHOOL STARTING THIS WEEK, WE CAN ANTICIPATE THAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE INCREASED NUMBERS OVER THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO, UH, BEFORE THINGS GET BETTER.

SO, UM, AND I'M BASING THAT ON OUR EXPERIENCE IN THE AUSTIN AREA, UH, DURING THE H ONE N ONE, UH, UH, FLU SEASON IN 2009.

SO, UM, YOU KNOW, AND BECAUSE WE HAVE A POPULATION THAT IS SPECIFICALLY NOT VACCINATED, UH, THAT IS AT RISK AND IN A SCHOOL SETTING, UH, I THINK THERE IS A POSSIBILITY THAT WE'LL SEE HIGHER NUMBERS BEFORE WE BEGIN TO DECREASE FROM THE STATESMAN.

AUSTIN CONTINUES TO GREAT RECORDS AND THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE ICU AND ON VENTILATORS, LIMITING RESOURCES ACROSS THE REGION, IS THERE A PLAN IN PLACE THAT WILL HELP RELIEVE HOSPITALS AND PROVIDE THE CARE NEEDED TO LOOK TO CARE FOR PATIENTS? AND WHAT DOES THAT PLAN LOOK LIKE? THE PLAN IS TO DECREASE THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO NEED AND REQUIRE HOSPITALIZATIONS, AND THAT'S GOING TO BE ACHIEVED BY DECREASING THE NUMBER OF CASES BY WEARING MASK.

UM, AND THEN IDENTIFYING CASES EARLY, IDENTIFYING THOSE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR TREATMENT OF COVID WITH MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY, TREATING THOSE PEOPLE WITH THE MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY AND THEREBY REDUCING THE NUMBER OF HOSPITALIZATIONS.

UM, THE DATA SHOWS THAT WE CAN REDUCE HOSPITALIZATION BY 70% IN THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE AT RISK FOR SEVERE DISEASE, AN ILLNESS REQUIRING HOSPITALIZATION.

UM, SO WE'RE A LONG GAME IS FOR US TO GET THOSE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED AND UNPROTECTED, UM, VACCINATED.

AND SO IT'S A COMBINATION, A STRATEGY, AND IT'S GOING TO TAKE PARTICIPATION, UH, BY THESE PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY AND, AND WE NEED THEIR HELP TO GET THIS DONE.

AND I W W AGAIN, WE'RE JUST ADD,

[00:30:01]

YOU KNOW, WE KNOW WHAT PREVENTS SURGING OUR HOSPITALS, AND THAT IS GETTING VACCINATED.

IT PREVENTS FROM SEVERE ILLNESS AND HOSPITALIZATION, AND YOUR BEST TOOL IN YOUR TOOL BELT IS TO GET THE VACCINE ON BOARD, UH, AND MAKING SURE THAT YOU'RE VACCINATED.

IF FOR SOME REASON YOU CAN'T GET VACCINATED BECAUSE YOU ARE, YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR IT BECAUSE YOU'RE UNDER, YOU'RE UNDER THE AGE OF 12, THEN YOU NEED TO DO ALL THOSE OTHER NON-PHARMACEUTICAL INTERVENTIONS THAT WE'VE BEEN DISCUSSING FOR THE LAST 20 MONTHS, UH, TO MAKE SURE YOU'VE PUT YOURSELF IN THE BEST PLACE IN THE BEST.

GIVE YOURSELF THE BEST ADVANTAGE.

UH, IN, IN, IN FIGHTING THIS ILLNESS FROM FOX SEVEN, WHAT DATA POINTS LED YOU TO ROLL OUT A VACCINE INCENTIVE PROGRAM? WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THIS WILL SWAY PEOPLE WHO HAVE AVOIDED VACCINATION FOR SEVERAL MONTHS? I'LL JUMP IN.

UM, WE, UH, LOOKED AT, UM, DIFFERENT MODELS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND WHAT, UM, WE SEE, NOT JUST WITH COVID VACCINE ROLLOUT, BUT WITH OTHER VACCINE ROLLOUT, WHAT ARE THE SUCCESSFUL WAYS OF USING INCENTIVE TO TRY TO GET THOSE WHO WERE STILL VACCINE HESITANT, OR WHO HAVEN'T MADE THE DECISION TO GET VACCINATED? AND WE HAVE SEEN THAT MONETARY, UM, INCENTIVES DO HELP IN PARTICULARLY FOCUSING ON THOSE POPULATIONS THAT HAVE SOME, UM, RISK OF LOSING WAGES FOR TAKING OFF WORK, TO GET A VACCINE OR GETTING THEIR FAMILY VACCINATED, OR THAT MAY BE HESITANT BECAUSE IF THEY GET THE VACCINE, UM, THEY MAY NOT BE ABLE TO GET BACK TO WORK.

UM, AND BECAUSE THEY MAY EXPERIENCE SOME, UM, MILD, UM, IMMUNO RESPONSE, UM, THE KEY THAT WE, SO WE DECIDED TO LAUNCH THAT AND REALLY WANTING TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE THAT ARE, UH, VACCINE HESITANT FOR THOSE TYPES OF REASONS THAT MAYBE THIS MONETARY, UM, INCENTIVE WOULD HELP SUPPORT THOSE POPULATIONS.

WE HAVE LAUNCHED A LIMITED, UM, PROGRAM.

WE ARE EXCITED TO SEE KIND OF HOW THAT UPTAKE HAPPENS OVER THE WEEKEND, BUT WE ALSO WANT FOLKS TO KNOW THAT, YOU KNOW, THIS IS LIMITED.

AND IF, IF THERE ISN'T VACCINE INCENTIVE AVAILABLE, THERE'S STILL IMPORTANT REASON TO GET VACCINATED.

THINK ABOUT THE COST IF YOU ARE TO TOOK TO TRACK COVID AND ARE NOT ABLE TO GO TO WORK, OR IF SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY HAD CONTRACTS COVID, AND YOU'RE NOT ABLE TO GO TO WORK, THINK ABOUT THE COST OF A HOSPITAL VISIT OF A EMERGENCY ROOM VISIT OF AN ICU VISIT.

AND I KNOW THIS IS THE OTHER PIECE THAT'S REALLY CONCERNING FOR US IS THE COST OF HUMAN LIFE.

WE CAN'T PUT A DOLLAR SIGN ON.

SO I KNOW THAT THE INCENTIVE IS HELPFUL AND HELPS TO MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO GET VACCINATED, BUT THOSE ARE COSTS THAT WE'RE SEEING DAILY IN OUR COMMUNITY THAT WE REALLY WANT TO AVOID.

AND THOSE HOPEFULLY WILL BE INCENTIVE TO HELP US ALL GET VACCINATED AND GET US THROUGH THIS, THIS, UM, THIS CURRENT PANDEMIC.

OKAY, MOVING INTO SECOND QUESTIONS FROM NEWS OUTLETS, AND THIS IS FROM ME, A COMMUNITY IMPACT, BUT MORE CASES EMERGING AT LONGTERM CARE FACILITIES.

ARE THERE EFFORTS IN PLACE TO PUSH STAFF AT THESE FACILITIES TO BE VACCINATED AT HIGHER RATES? UM, IN MY OWN REPORTING, SEVERAL DIFFERENT LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES HAVE TOLD ME THAT THEIR STAFF IS VACCINATED AT SIMILAR RATES TO THE GENERAL POPULATION.

SO AROUND 70% IN THOSE SITUATIONS, UH, YOU KNOW, WE WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH A LOT.

WE HAVE A LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY, TASK FORCE, AND WE CONTINUE TO WORK WITH, UH, THOSE PROVIDERS OF LONG-TERM CARE TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL THEIR STAFF ARE VACCINATED AND THAT, UH, WE INTERVENE AND INVESTIGATE CASES OR OUTBREAKS OR CLUSTERS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

UM, YOU KNOW, UH, THEY ARE CONTINUING TO MONITOR.

A LOT OF THEM ARE MONITORING THEIR STAFF DAILY, UH, TO MAKE SURE EVEN IF THEY ARE VACCINATED, THAT THEY'RE MONITORING THEM AS THEY ENTER THE FACILITY TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY'RE NOT, UH, CARRYING COVID-19 INTO THE FACILITY, UH, THAT, YOU KNOW, I THINK THEY CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE JUST LIKE WE'RE CONTINUING TO ENCOURAGE THE GENERAL POPULATION TO MAKE SURE THEY GET VACCINATED.

UH, THEY ARE CONTINUING TO ENCOURAGE THEIR STAFF TO GET VACCINATED AS WELL.

UH, AND TO CONTINUE WITH THOSE PREVENTION MEASURES THAT WE ARE HAVE BEEN DISCUSSING.

THIS QUESTION IS FROM UNIVISION.

UM, MAYBE A LITTLE SIMILAR TO ONE THAT WAS ASKED BEFORE THE ICU BED SHORTED SITUATION FLUCTUATES EVERY DAY AND THE COVID DASHBOARD.

IS THERE A CONCRETE PLAN? AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH WILL PUT INTO PLACE TO DEAL WITH THE SITUATION BEFORE

[00:35:01]

ANOTHER WAVE OF CORONAVIRUS VIRUS CASES COMES.

UM, I'LL JUST SAY THE, THE HOSPITALIZATION DATA THAT'S PUBLISHED ON THE DASHBOARD IS PROVIDED TO US BY THE HOSPITAL.

SO, UM, THAT INFORMATION, YOU KNOW, WE REPORT OUT AS A COURTESY TO OUR COMMUNITY SO THAT THEY HAVE IDEA OF WHAT'S GOING ON, UH, IN, IN THAT HOSPITAL SETTING AND, AND HOW DIRE THE SITUATION IS AS WE ARE CURRENTLY SEEING.

SO, UM, YOU KNOW, AS FAR AS LIKE THE, DATA'S ONLY AS, AS W HOW, WHAT THEY'RE ABLE TO PROVIDE US, THEY PROVIDE IT TO US ON A DAILY BASIS, AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO REPORT IT OUT.

CBS AUSTIN ASKS THERE HAS BEEN ANECDOTAL TALK OF A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN VACCINATIONS OVER THE PAST FEW WEEKS.

HOW MUCH EVIDENCE DO YOU SEE OF THAT NOW, AND HOW SIGNIFICANT IS THE INCREASE? WHAT ABOUT IN THE MINORITY COMMUNITY? I CAN JUMP IN AND ANSWER.

UM, WE ARE SEEING SOME INCREMENTAL UPTICK, UM, ACROSS VACCINE SITES, AND WE ARE SEEING SOME, UM, INCREMENTAL UPTICK, UM, UH, AMONG THE OVERALL COMMUNITY.

UM, I WILL SAY THIS IS NOT THE RATES THAT WE WERE SEEING IN THE SPRING, AND EVEN THE LATE SPRING WHERE WE ARE HAVING VACCINE AVAILABLE FOR ALL POPULATIONS.

AND WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE, UM, MORE UPTAKE, UM, AS WE CONTINUE TO MOVE THROUGH THE PANDEMIC THAT BEING SAID, WE UNFORTUNATELY ARE STILL SEEING POPULATIONS OF COLOR LAGGING BEHIND IN VACCINE FIRST DOSE AND SECOND DOSE.

UM, WE KNOW THAT OUR HISPANIC POPULATION IS, UM, JUST AT 50%, UH, FIRST DOSE.

UM, AND THEN WE KNOW, UNFORTUNATELY OUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN BLACK POPULATION IS AT 37%.

KNOW THAT OUR GOAL IS FOR ALL POPULATION GROUPS TO HIT 70% FIRST DOSE.

AND BY SEPTEMBER ONE, WE WANT TO SEE EVERYONE 70% FULLY VACCINATED.

AND SO WORKING TOWARDS THAT AS A COMMUNITY, WE HIT THAT IN GIAN, JULY 4TH, BUT WE STILL HAVE POPULATION GROUPS THAT ARE, ARE SIGNIFICANTLY LAGGING BEHIND.

AND SO THAT NOW IS OUR FOCUS TO REALLY MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE HAS ACCESS TO VACCINE, THAT EVERYONE HAS THEIR QUESTIONS ANSWERED ABOUT VACCINE AND THAT THEY HAVE COMFORTABLE SPACES, UH, TO, TO GO AND PLAN, TO GET THEIR VACCINE FROM CO-OP RADIO, BESIDES THE WELL-REPORTED TREATMENT OF THE GOVERNOR, HOW MANY MONOCLONAL TREATMENTS HAVE BEEN PROVIDED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC SINCE THEY'VE BEEN MADE AVAILABLE? THE EXACT NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO'VE BEEN TREATED WITH MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY, UM, IS NOT AVAILABLE AT THIS TIME.

WE HAVE THE CAPACITY TO PROVIDE UP TO EIGHT, UH, ABOVE 84 TREATMENTS PER DAY AT OUR REGIONAL INFUSION CENTER.

BUT I DO WANT TO POINT OUT THAT WE REALLY WANT PEOPLE TO NOT CONTRACT COVID-19.

UM, AND THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IF WE CAN HAVE OUR POPULATION WHERE MASS, SO THEY'RE NOT SPREADING THE DISEASE AND GO AND GET VACCINATED, UM, BECAUSE THE GOAL IS TO NOT GET COVID-19.

THIS NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KVU.

UM, WILL SOMEONE REQUIRE A BOOSTER IF THEY HAVE THE VACCINATION, OR IF THEY GOT COVID-19 EITHER BEFORE BEING VACCINATED OR AFTER A BREAKTHROUGH CASE, UM, OR WILL BOOSTERS BE REQUIRED AT ALL? SO, UM, THE GUIDANCE THAT WE CURRENTLY HAVE IS THAT ANYONE WHO IS, UH, MEETS THE CRITERIA THAT THE CDC CURRENTLY PUTS OUT, UM, REGARDING IMMUNOCOMPROMISE, THAT THEY CAN RECEIVE THE VACCINE, UM, 28 DAYS AFTER THEIR SECOND DOSE.

UM, SO AGAIN, WE ENCOURAGE FOLKS WHO FEEL LIKE THEY MEET THAT CRITERIA.

THEY HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THEIR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TO IDENTIFY IF THEY'RE AN APPROPRIATE CANDIDATE FOR A BOOSTER AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEEK THAT BOOSTER OUT.

UM, IF THAT, IF THEIR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER RECOMMENDS THAT IT IS AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION TO BE HAVING RIGHT NOW WITH YOUR DOCTOR, FOR THOSE OF US THAT ARE LOOKING AHEAD TO THAT, UM, EIGHT MONTHS, UM, THAT EIGHT MONTH MILESTONE OF, UH, HAVING THAT OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK A BOOSTER.

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT TIME TO START PLANNING FOR THAT, UM, TO THINK ABOUT WHAT, UM, WHAT YOUR NEEDS ARE AND TO START HAVING THOSE CONVERSATIONS AS WELL.

I THINK WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THE LANGUAGE IS RECOMMENDED NOT REQUIRED.

UM, SO I THINK THOSE ARE THINGS THAT WE NEED TO BE LOOKING AT TO ALSO SEE.

UM, AND WE ARE TRACKING THE SCIENCE TO REALLY DETERMINE, UM, HOW WELL BOOSTERS, UM, UH, AFFECT THE, UH, MOVING, UH, THIS, HOW WE CAN BEST AFFECT

[00:40:01]

OUR ABILITY TO COMBAT THIS DISEASE.

UM, AND AS THE SCIENCE EVOLVES, WE'RE SEEING THESE RECOMMENDATIONS COME OUT.

SO WE WOULD BE PUSHING THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS LOCALLY AS WELL FROM KX A N WHAT DOES CONTACT TRACING THROUGH THE CITY AND COUNTY LOOK LIKE RIGHT NOW? ARE YOU ALL HAVING A DIFFICULT TIME KEEPING UP WITH THE NUMBER OF CASES WE'RE SEEING? AND IF SO, WHAT ARE THE IMPACTS OF THAT? UH, SO I CAN ANSWER THAT QUESTION.

SO, UM, AS IS THE CASE IN ANY TIME WHEN WE HAVE WIDESPREAD COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION, LIKE WE ARE SEEING NOW AND EXPONENTIAL GROWTH IN CASES, CONTACT TRACING BECOMES MORE OF A CHALLENGE, UH, AS PART OF THE CASE INVESTIGATION PROCESS.

SO WHEN WE DO OUR CASE INVESTIGATION AND FOLLOW UP ON INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE POSITIVE, WE DO TRY TO DETERMINE WHO THEIR CONTACTS ARE.

ARE WE ALSO TELL THEM IF YOU HAVE, IF YOU ARE A POSITIVE CASE, YOU KNOW, IT'S BEST THAT YOU NOTIFY ALL YOUR CLOSE CONTACTS, UH, TO MAKE SURE THAT, UH, THEY ARE PLACED IN QUARANTINE, UH, OR IF THEY BEGIN TO DEVELOP SYMPTOMS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE, UH, TESTED ACCORDINGLY, UM, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, UH, CONTACT TRACING IN SITUATIONS WHERE WE HAVE WIDESPREAD CAN COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION, UH, YOU KNOW, TENDS TO BE CHALLENGING BECAUSE YOU'RE JUST NOT ABLE TO GET ALL THE PEOPLE BY THE TIME YOU ARE ABLE TO IDENTIFY A CASE AND THEN FOLLOW UP WITH THE INVESTIGATION.

UM, UH, IT BECOMES HARDER AND HARDER TO TRACK DOWN, UH, CONTACTS, BUT, UH, WE HAVE A GROUP OF FOLKS HERE THAT ARE DOING THAT CASE INVESTIGATION AND CONTACT TRACING.

THEY CONTINUE TO DO IT AT THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITY.

UH, THEY'VE BEEN WORKING, UH, PRETTY HARD SEVEN DAYS A WEEK TO TRY TO GET THAT COMPLETED.

SO, UM, AGAIN, IF, UH, YOU ARE CONTACTED BY A MEMBER OF THE EPIDEMIOLOGY TEAM AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, UH, WE, YOU KNOW, ENCOURAGE YOU TO PROVIDE INFORMATION AND, UH, UH, WORK WITH THAT INVESTIGATOR TO, TO GET, UH, WHAT INFORMATION WE NEED SO THAT WE HAVE BETTER INFORMATION FOR OUR COMMUNITY AND A BETTER IDEA OF WHAT IS ACTUALLY TAKING PLACE, YOU KNOW, IDENTIFYING THOSE CLUSTERS AND OUTBREAK SITUATIONS THAT NEED TO BE, UH, UM, YOU KNOW, WHERE WE NEED TO INVESTIGATE AND MITIGATE, UH, ANY KIND OF TRANSMISSION RISKS.

I BELIEVE THIS IS OUR LAST QUESTION, AND IT IS FROM THE STATESMAN VACCINES HAVE BEEN LAGGING AMONG AUSTIN'S COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, AND NOW A BOOSTER WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE.

HOW DOES APH PLAN TO ROLL THIS PLAN OUT TO ENSURE THAT THE CITIES COMMUNITIES OF COLOR HAVE ACCESS TO IT? I WILL START.

UM, WE DEFINITELY ARE, AGAIN RIGHT NOW FOCUSED ON THOSE WHO ARE CURRENTLY UN-VACCINATED AND THAT WILL CONTINUE TO BE OUR FOCUS CAUSE WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL INDIVIDUALS HAVE THAT INITIAL LAYER OF PROTECTION BOOSTERS.

WE DEFINITELY ARE PREPARED TO PROVIDE, SHOULD ANYONE COME TO AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH AND NEED THAT.

UM, BUT WE ALSO WANT TO ENCOURAGE THOSE THAT ARE LOOKING FOR A BOOSTER TO SEEK THAT, UM, INFORMATION FROM THEIR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER, AND THEN ALSO WANNA ENCOURAGE EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY TO NOTE THAT VACCINE IS AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

THERE ARE MANY PROVIDERS AVAILABLE, AND THERE'S A LOT OF VACCINE ON HAND.

AND SO IF YOU'RE SEEKING A VACCINE, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT, UM, YOU CAN, YOU CAN ACCESS THAT AND YOU CAN GO TO VACCINES.GOV AND LOOK FOR A VACCINE PROVIDER NEAR YOU JUST PUT IN YOUR ZIP CODE.

BUT SPECIFICALLY TO THOSE POPULATIONS OF COLOR, WE HAVE FOCUSED OUTREACH TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY'RE AWARE OF THE VACCINE OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO THEM.

AND THERE'S A LOT OF SUPPORT THAT WE TRYING TO PROVIDE TO THOSE POPULATIONS SO THAT THERE IS NO BARRIER FOR THEM BEING ABLE TO GET THE VACCINE.

AND IF THEY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A BOOSTER, WE WANT TO ENSURE THAT THEY HAVE THAT ACCESS AS WELL.

THANK YOU FOR THAT.

WE WILL NOW MOVE INTO OUR CLOSING REMARKS.

DR.

WACHS AUSTIN WERE IN STAGE FIVE, AND THAT MEANS THAT WE HAVE TO DOUBLE DOWN ON OUR EFFORTS TO DECREASE THE NUMBER OF CASES THAT WE HAVE, UM, SPREADING IN OUR COMMUNITY, PARTICULARLY SINCE SCHOOLS HAVE OPENED.

SO I ASK YOU TO SEND YOUR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL WITH MASK.

I ASK YOU TO PROTECT YOURSELVES AND YOUR FAMILY WITH VACCINATIONS,

[00:45:02]

AND I ASK YOU TO STAY HOME IF YOU'RE SICK.

AND IF YOU ARE SICK, PLEASE SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION TO SEE IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR TREATMENT WITH MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY, WHICH IF IT'S GIVEN EARLY IN THE TREATMENT PHASE WILL MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER QUICKLY AND WILL DECREASE YOUR NEED FOR HOSPITALIZATION.

UM, THIS IS A TIME WHEN WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT VACCINES WORK.

THEY HAVE BEEN WORKING TO PREVENT SEVERE DISEASE, HOSPITALIZATION, ICU ADMISSIONS IN DEATH, AND WE NEED TO GET OURSELVES VACCINATED AND PROTECTED.

WE NOW KNOW THAT THERE IS SOME WANING OR DECREASE IN THE AMOUNT OF IMMUNITY OVER TIME.

FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE RECEIVED VACCINES, AND WE'RE STARTING OFF WITH THE IMMUNE COMPROMISED INDIVIDUALS, PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN TREATED FOR CANCER OR TAKING MEDICATIONS THAT MAKE THEIR IMMUNE SYSTEMS NOT PRODUCE AS MUCH ANTIBODY AS THEY NEED TO FIGHT OFF THIS INFECTION, WE NEED TO PLEASE PLEASE PROTECT OURSELVES, PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY, AND CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER TO GET THROUGH THIS PANDEMIC AND PROTECT OUR LOVED ONES, PARTICULARLY OUR CHILDREN.

THANK YOU.

WE SHARED A LOT OF INFORMATION TODAY ABOUT DATA AND PROCESSES AND, UH, METHODS OF MITIGATION FOR US TO, UM, CONTROL THE SURGE AND TO GET OURSELVES OUT OF, UM, THE PANDEMIC.

ONE THING THAT WE DIDN'T TALK ABOUT THAT WE OFTEN HEAR IN OUR DISCUSSIONS OF PLANNING ARE THE INDIVIDUAL STORIES OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN IMPACTED BY COVID.

AND I SAY IMPACTED LIGHTLY A 20 SOMETHING YEAR OLD, PERFECTLY HEALTHY CONTRACTING COVID AND THEIR WHOLE LIFE CHANGING, BECAUSE NOW THEY NEED OXYGEN AND CONSTANTLY, AND THEY HAVE SYSTEMIC ORGAN FAILURE AND YOUNG MOM WHO DIES JONI CHILDBIRTH, BECAUSE SHE'S, COVID POSITIVE FAMILIES, MOTHERS, AND DAUGHTERS DYING WITHIN OF EACH OTHER BECAUSE OF COVID.

AND IT'S NOT LIKE THESE ARE THINGS THAT ARE UNAVOIDABLE THEY'RE TRAGIC.

YES.

AND HINDSIGHT DOES NO ONE ANY GOOD WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A TRAGIC SITUATION, BUT I THINK, YES, THE DATA IS IMPORTANT, BUT WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES ARE BEING ALTERED, WHETHER THROUGH, UM, A DECREASE IN THEIR HEALTH OR LOSS OF A LOVED ONE.

AND SO THIS RIGHT HERE, THIS LITTLE THING, THIS WEIGHS LESS THAN AN OUNCE CAN CHANGE THAT STAYING HOME WHEN YOU'RE SICK AND GETTING A VACCINE.

AND SO I ENCOURAGE THE COMMUNITY TO THINK ABOUT THE SMALL THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO THAT CAN HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE ONES THAT YOU LOVE AND CARE ABOUT.

THANK YOU.

AND I'LL JUST ADD ONTO WHAT ADRIAN HAD TO SAY IN MY CLOSING STATEMENT, AS SHE MENTIONED, THIS LITTLE THING LESS THAN AN OUNCE, AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE IN THE WORDS OF MADAME CURIE.

AND I'VE USED THAT EXPRESSION BEFORE WE ARE IN A POSITION.

THIS IS A PREVENTABLE ILLNESS.

YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF, YOU CAN PROTECT YOUR FAMILY.

UH, YOU CAN PREVENT DEATHS BY DOING THESE SIMPLE THINGS, GET VACCINATED, WEAR A MASK, SOCIALLY DISTANCE, WASH YOUR HANDS, FREQUENTLY, AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE.

AND IF YOU'RE ILL STAY HOME.

SO YOU'RE NOT SPREADING ILLNESS TO THOSE AROUND YOU AND TO YOUR LOVED ONES.

AND THOSE ARE THINGS THAT WE HAVE SAID FROM DAY ONE.

I'M GOING TO SAY, WE'VE BEEN SAYING THESE SINCE JANUARY OF 2020, AND WE WORKED MANY LONG, LONG HOURS.

I'M TALKING THOUSANDS OF HOURS OF OVERTIME, UH, FOR THESE, UH, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH STAFF THAT ARE WORKING SEVEN DAYS A WEEK TO HELP PROTECT THIS COMMUNITY.

AND SO, UM, AND THEY'RE NOT GIVING UP.

THEY'RE NOT GIVING UP, THEY'RE TIRED, BUT THEY'RE NOT GIVING UP.

AND SO, UH, YOU KNOW, WE KNOW EVERYONE'S TIRED OUT THERE.

WE KNOW WHERE WE HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING THE FATIGUE OF COVID THAT THESE SIMPLE STEPS CAN HELP CONTINUE TO SQUASH THIS OUTBREAK AND FLATTEN THE CURVE.

AND THAT'S WHERE WE NEED TO GO.

OKAY.

AND FINALLY, AS WE MOVE INTO THIS

[00:50:01]

WEEKEND, IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO MAKE PLANS, MAKE PLANS, TO IMPLEMENT THE THINGS THAT JANET AND ADRIAN AND DR.

WACHS ARE TALKING ABOUT.

MAKE PLANS TO MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY IS PROTECTED, MAKE PLANS, TO GET VACCINATED, MAKE PLANS, TO GET YOUR FAMILY VACCINATED, GET YOUR MASKS, THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO BE IN THE COMMUNITY AND IDENTIFY IS THAT GOING TO POSE A RISK TO ME OR TO MY FAMILY AND MAKE PLANS TO HIM TO IMPROVE THOSE OPPORTUNITIES, TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND EVERYONE YOU, YOU COME INTO CONTACT WITH.

WE'VE BEEN IN THIS PLACE BEFORE, UNFORTUNATELY, BUT WE CAN GET OUT OF IT.

WE HAVE THE TOOLS, WE HAVE MORE TOOLS NOW THAN WE EVER HAD IN ANY OTHER SURGE.

SO THIS IS THE TIMES THE TIME FOR AUSTIN TO WORK TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY TO PROTECT OURSELVES, PROTECT OUR FAMILY, PROTECT EACH OTHER.

WE'LL GET THIS DONE.

HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND.

THANK YOU.

THAT CONCLUDES OUR MEDIA AVAILABILITY FOR TODAY.

THANK YOU TO DR.

DESMO WALKS, INTERIM APH DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET PICHET, CASSANDRA DALIAN, APH, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION, HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION, AND WHO OUR POOL REPORTER OLIVIA ALDRIDGE FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY AND HAVE A SAFE WEEKEND.



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