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[COVID-19: Press Q & A]

[00:00:05]

GOOD MORNING.

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

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

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

DEZ MAR WALKS AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY WILL FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY INTERIM AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP.

THEN JANET PICHETTE, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST FOLLOWED BY CASSANDRA DE LEON APH, 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, AUSTIN.

UM, WE'VE HAD A VERY EVENTFUL WEEK AND HAVING CROSSED THE THRESHOLD OF OVER A THOUSAND DEATHS.

UM, AND WE CONTINUE TO MOURN THE LOSS OF LOVED ONES AND NEIGHBORS.

UM, THE HAVE SUCCUMBED TO THIS VIRUS COVID-19, WHICH HAS BEEN IN OUR COMMUNITY FOR FAR TOO LONG, BUT WE'RE ALSO LOOKING FORWARD TO, UM, NEARLY REACHING THAT ARC OF 70% ON, UH, THOSE WHO ARE FULLY VACCINATED AND ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINATIONS.

WE'VE WORKED HARD AS A COMMUNITY TO WEAR MASKS AND STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID-19, UM, AND KEEP OUR BUSINESSES.

AND OUR SCHOOLS OPENED AS MUCH AS WE CAN BY WORKING TOGETHER.

AND WE HOPE THAT, UH, THE DECLINE IN CASES THAT WE'RE SEEING WILL CONTINUE THE DECLINE IN OUR POSITIVITY, RIGHT? IT WILL CONTINUE AND THAT WE CAN GET OUT AND ENJOY THIS LOVELY FALL.

AND WE ASK THAT EVERYBODY CONTINUE THEIR EFFORTS TO VACCINATE THEMSELVES, TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST COVID-19.

AND ALSO LOOKING FORWARD TO FLU SEASON COMING THAT WE WILL DO THE SAME, THE FLOAT AND GET OUR FLU VACCINATIONS.

AND WITH THAT, I'LL TURN IT OVER TO DIRECTOR STIRRUP.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS.

GOOD MORNING, AUSTIN.

AS DR.

ROXANNE SAID, WE ARE CONTINUING TO BE HERE TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR COMMUNITY HAS FULL ACCESS TO VACCINES.

WE ARE CONTINUING TO HAVE OUR STANDUP LOCATIONS AT SOUTHEAST LIBRARY AND LITTLE ON THAT CREEK.

WE'RE ALSO SUPPORTING THE OPERATIONS AT THE ANIMAL ARK CENTER, AND WE CAN BE IN ANY HOME OR AT ANY SPECIAL EVENT WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY.

WE'RE IN DEL VALLEY WHERE WE'RE GOING PLACES TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE CAN ACCESS VACCINE.

WE ARE VERY CLOSE TO THE 70% MARK OF HAVING A COMMUNITY FULLY VACCINATED, BUT WE DO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE WILL BE POCKETS IN OUR COMMUNITY OF PLACES AND SPACES WHERE WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO THAT WORK.

AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO THAT WORK TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS EQUITABLE VACCINE COVERAGE FOR OUR COMMUNITY.

AND WITH THAT, I'LL PASS IT OVER TO TIM, THE EFFICIENT, GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

UH, AS DR.

WACHS MENTIONED, WE HIT A GRIM MILESTONE THIS WEEK WITH HAVING OVER A THOUSAND DEATHS, UH, REPORTED FROM COVID-19.

UH, THIS REPRESENTS A TENFOLD INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF DEATHS THAT WE'VE SEEN BETWEEN JUNE AND AUGUST OF THIS YEAR.

UH, YOU KNOW, BASED ON THE CURRENT NUMBER OF DEATHS, UH, YOU KNOW, IT'S, WE WANT, WE WANT, OBVIOUSLY WE WANT TO MAKE THAT CHANGE AND SEE THOSE NUMBERS COME DOWN.

UH, BUT BASED ON THAT INFORMATION, WE IN AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY STAND TO HAVE COVID ONCE AGAIN, UH, BECOME ONE OF THE LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UH, IT BASED ON THE CURRENT PROJECTIONS AND, YOU KNOW, WE HOPE TO HOPE THAT TO TURN THAT AROUND AND NOT MAKE THAT THE CASE.

ONE OTHER ITEM I LIKE TO BRING UP IS, YOU KNOW, WE ARE CURRENTLY MONITORING CASES AND CLUSTERS.

WE ARE SEEING A DECREASING NUMBERS, AND WE WANT THAT TREND TO CONTINUE, UH, WITH SCHOOLS BEING IN SESSION WE'RE MONITORING CLUSTERS CLOSELY.

UH, YOU ARE HEARING PROBABLY OF SOME PLACES WHERE SCHOOLS HAVE CLOSED OR SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE CLOSED BECAUSE THEY JUST HAVEN'T HAD ENOUGH STAFF OR SUBSTITUTES TO MAINTAIN EDUCATION IN THOSE SCHOOL DISTRICTS.

UM, THE OTHER THING TOO, UH, WE'RE COMING OFF OF A BUSY LABOR DAY WEEKEND, AND WE'LL BEGIN CLOSELY MONITORING THE CASES THAT MAY HAVE, UH, THEY MAY POP UP AS A RESULT OF BUSY HOLIDAY WEEKEND ACTIVITIES.

SO, UM, THAT, THAT WORK CONTINUES, UH,

[00:05:01]

AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH.

AND WITH THAT ALTERNATE OVER TO CASSIE DELEON.

THANK YOU, JANET.

AND, UM, JUST WANT TO GIVE SOME MORE INSIGHT INTO HOW WE ARE CONTINUING TO PLAN FOR OPERATIONS AS THE RESPONSE EVOLVES.

UM, AS OUR DIRECTOR ADRIAN STIRRUP TALKED ABOUT IS WE ARE ABLE TO BE IN ANY, UH, SPACES, UM, MAKING A VACCINE AS ACCESSIBLE AS POSSIBLE.

UM, THERE HAS BEEN NEW MOVEMENT, UM, REGARDING, UH, UH, INFORMATION AROUND THIRD DOSES AND AROUND THE POTENTIAL OF THE, UM, FDA, UH, AUTHORIZING BOOSTER VACCINES.

WE ALSO PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE BROADER PROVIDER COMMUNITY IS PREPARED TO, UM, INCREASE AND ENHANCE OPERATIONS TO PROVIDE BOOSTERS SHOULD WIN.

AND IF THEY BECOME A RECOMMENDED BY THE FDA IN THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL, UM, AT OF THE PLANS INCLUDE THAT WE ARE LAUNCHING, UM, LOOKING TO LAUNCH ADDITIONAL OPERATIONAL LOCATIONS, AND THEN ALSO ADDING CAPACITY FOR STAFF, UH, MAKING ENHANCEMENTS INTO OUR, UM, OUR, UH, ONLINE SYSTEM AND ALSO ADDING FOLKS INTO OUR CALL CENTERS SO THAT THERE ARE NO BARRIERS TO ANYONE WHO ARE SEEKING VACCINE RIGHT NOW.

AND AS BOOSTERS COME ONLINE WITH, THERE'D BE NO BARRIERS FOR THOSE TO RECEIVE VACCINE.

THEN A HUGE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS TIME OF, UH, THIS PART OF THE RESPONSE AND RESPONSE, UH, BACK IN JANUARY IS THAT THERE ARE MANY, MANY OUTLETS THAT ARE PROVIDING VACCINES, MANY PROVIDERS, AND THERE IS LOTS OF VACCINE AVAILABLE.

AND SO WITH THAT, WE REALLY FOCUS OUR EFFORTS TO CONTINUE TO DOUBLE DOWN AND WORK, TO GET THE, UM, 350,000 INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE IN OUR COMMUNITY THAT STILL ARE NOT FULLY VACCINATED.

SO EVEN WITH BOOSTERS AND WITH THIRD DOSES BEING A PART OF THE OPERATIONAL PLANNING, UM, WE STILL HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE, THOSE THAT ARE UNVACCINATED AND THOSE THAT ARE NOT FULLY VACCINATED CONTINUE TO BE THE PRIORITY.

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

THANK YOU, CASSANDRA.

NOW WE WILL MOVE ON TO OUR POOL REPORTER MICHAEL CLARK, MADISON, WHO IS WITH THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE.

MICHAEL, THANK YOU.

AND, UH, GOOD MORNING LADIES.

UH, YES, I'M MIKE CLARK MEDICINE FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE.

UM, ALSO GO AHEAD AND START WITH OUR QUESTION.

UH, THE, UH, COVID PLANS THAT ARE REQUIRED OF THE EVENTS THAT ARE HAPPENING THIS FALL, UH, WERE RECENTLY STRENGTHENED A LITTLE BIT BY, UH, YOU ALL AND THE AUSTIN CENTER FOR EVENTS.

DO YOU THINK THESE SAFETY GUIDELINES ARE GOING TO BE SUFFICIENT TO HELP, UH, AVOID SOME NEW OUTBREAKS TOO, THAT WOULD OVERLOAD THE HOSPITAL SYSTEMS SORT OF BUILDING ON WHAT CHUCK WAS TALKING ABOUT WITH THE LABOR DAY OUTBREAKS? DO YOU, DO YOU THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE SEEING MORE ISSUES WITH EVENTS LIKE ACL? AND DO YOU THINK THE PLANS THAT ARE BEING PREPARED BY THESE EVENT, ORGANIZERS ARE, UM, GOING TO BE SUFFICIENT? WE ARE, AS YOU KNOW, UM, PART OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE AND, AND PUBLIC HEALTH, AND IN MEDICINE, WE TRY TO BE COGNIZANT OF ALL OF THE RISKS AND MITIGATE FOR THOSE RISKS THAT, UH, UNFORTUNATELY WE, UM, SOMETIMES WE'LL HAVE THINGS HAPPEN THAT WE'RE NOT EXPECTING, BUT FOR AS MUCH AS WE CAN, WE ARE PLANNING FOR AND MITIGATING FOR RISKS THAT ARE, UM, APPARENT TO US.

AND FROM OUR HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE OF HOW THIS DELTA VERY OF THE SARS COVID TWO VIRUS, UM, BEHAVES.

AND SO, UH, THE MITIGATION EFFORTS THAT WE INCLUDED IN THE PLAN THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING USED BY OUR EVENT SECTION ARE THINGS THAT WE PUT IN PLACE TO HELP PROTECT THOSE WHO ARE ATTENDANCE FROM, UM, THE SPREAD OF THIS VIRUS, AS MUCH AS WE CAN.

UM, SO VACCINATIONS CONTINUE TO BE THE PRIMARY WAY THAT PEOPLE ARE PROTECTED FROM GETTING INFECTED BY SAAS KOVI TO DECREASE THE SPREAD AS WELL AS SOCIAL DISTANCING.

SO THOSE ARE OUR MAIN POINTS.

UM, SO TO BE CLEAR THAT THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT HAVE WORKED IN THE PAST, AND WE ANTICIPATE THOSE TO BE THE THINGS THAT WE'LL PROTECT GOING FORWARD.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, DR.

WACHS.

UM, NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KSAN, WHAT'S BEING DONE LOCALLY TO MEET AND ENFORCE THE REQUIREMENTS OUTLINED YESTERDAY BY PRESIDENT BIDEN.

[00:10:05]

THAT IS A VERY GOOD QUESTION.

UM, CONSIDERING THAT THE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE THE PLAN FROM THE WHITE HOUSE WAS RELEASED LESS THAN 24 HOURS AGO.

UM, WE WILL NEED TIME TO REVIEW AND TO GET MORE INFORMATION TO ASSESS WHAT THE IMPACTS WILL BE HERE LOCALLY.

UM, GENERALLY AS A PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIAL, I'M IN SUPPORTIVE ANYTHING THAT HELPS OUR COMMUNITY, UM, INCREASES VACCINATION RATE.

I'LL JUST LAY HER ON THAT.

WE ALSO PUBLIC HEALTH, AS WE MENTIONED EARLIER, WE'RE AVAILABLE TO PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR THOSE BUSINESSES THAT WANT TO GET A HEADS-UP, UH, AHEAD OF THIS WHOLE, UM, THESE MEN, THESE RECOMMENDATIONS, UH, AND PROVIDE VACCINE.

UM, SO IF, IF ANY BUSINESSES INTERESTED IN NEEDING THAT SUPPORT, WE'RE AVAILABLE TO PROVIDE THAT.

ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU, CASSIE AND DIRECTOR STIRRUP.

UH, THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COOPERATIVE RIO, IF THE DELTA VARIANT CAN BE CARRIED AND SPREAD BY THE VACCINATED IS A RECENT NEGATIVE TEST, A MORE IMPORTANT CRITERIA FOR GATHERINGS THAN PROOF OF VACCINATION.

SO IT IS TRUE THAT THERE'S A SYMPTOMATIC TRANSMISSION THAT OCCURS IN PEOPLE WHO ARE VACCINATED, BUT A VACCINE BREAKTHROUGH CASES HAVE BEEN LESS THAN 1% OF THE TIME.

SO THE VACCINATIONS STILL ARE AN IMPORTANT PART.

AND THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF PROTECTING OURSELVES FROM BECOMING SICK.

TWO INFECTIONS, INCLUDING THE DELTA VARIAN AND ANY OTHER VARIANTS THAT MAYBE, AND CIRCULATION, UM, I TEST, HOWEVER, AS ANOTHER LAYER OF PROTECTION AND A NEGATIVE TEST IN THE FACE OF SOMEBODY VACCINATED JUST GIVES THAT MUCH MORE ASSURANCE THAT THERE'S LESS RISK OF BECOMING INFECTED WHEN YOU GO TO AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THERE ARE SEVERAL PEOPLE THAT YOU'RE NOT RELATED TO NOT LIVING WITH THAT ARE IN ATTENDANCE AS WELL.

AND I WILL ADD, I'LL ADD THAT, UH, YOU KNOW, OTHER LAYERS OF PROTECTION THAT WE'VE BEEN, UH, YOU KNOW, TRYING TO EDUCATE FOLKS ON SINCE THE VERY BEGINNING OF THIS PANDEMIC INCLUDE MAKING SURE YOU'RE MASKING MAKING SURE YOUR SOCIAL DISTANCING WHEN, UH, WHEN YOU CAN, UH, UH, YOU KNOW, AVOIDING TOUCHING YOUR HANDS OR YOUR FACE, UH, WITH YOUR HANDS, UH, WASHING YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, IF YOU'RE SICK, YOU NEED TO STAY HOME AND, AND NOT EXPOSE OTHER INDIVIDUALS.

IT REQUIRES ALL THOSE LAYERS OF PROTECTION.

ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU, DR.

SHAH FOR WALKS.

IT'S A GREAT REMINDER.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY ARE CLOSE TO REACHING THE MINIMUM THRESHOLD FOR COMMUNITY WILL REACHING THE MINIMUM THRESHOLD, HAVE AS MUCH OF AN IMPACT AS PREVIOUSLY BELIEVE WHERE FURTHER DISEASE SPREAD WOULD BE A LIKELY WHY OR WHY NOT? WE BELIEVE THAT THAT MILESTONE OF 70% IS IMPORTANT.

THERE HAVE BEEN NUMEROUS STUDIES AROUND THE WORLD, UM, REGARDING HERD IMMUNITY AND SHOWING THAT AT THAT 70% MARK, WE ARE, UM, ABLE TO PROTECT OUR, UM, SOCIETY AND COMMUNITY FROM, UM, SPREAD AT THE RATE THAT WE'VE SEEN IN SOME OF THE SURGES THAT WE'VE BEEN EXPERIENCING.

HOWEVER, IT'S STILL IMPORTANT FOR US TO MOVE FORWARD TO VACCINATE THOSE WHO CURRENTLY ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINATION ON THOSE THAT ARE UNDER THE AGE OF 12.

IT'S STILL IMPORTANT FOR US TO GET THOSE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED, WHO ARE ELIGIBLE, UM, VACCINATED TO PROTECT THEM FROM DISEASE.

AND IT'S STILL IMPORTANT FOR US TO LOOK AROUND US, TO OUR NEIGHBORS AND DANE GREEN COUNTIES AND GET THEM VACCINATED AS WELL, BECAUSE THEY DO USE OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM FOR CARE.

AND, AND SO IF THEY'RE NOT VACCINATED THAT IMPACTS OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS AS WELL.

SO ALTHOUGH THAT MILESTONE IS WITHIN REACH, WE STILL NEED TO REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS TO GET PEOPLE BACK SUMMATED AND PROTECTED FROM COVID-19.

AND IN THE MEANTIME, USE THAT LAYERED, UH, PROTECTION METHOD THAT WAS JUST OUTLINED, UM, BY, UM, JENNIFER SHAT, BECAUSE THAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT WAY THAT WE'VE GOTTEN THROUGH PREVIOUS SEARCHES BEFORE VACCINATIONS WERE AVAILABLE.

AND THAT'S, THAT WAS THE WAY THAT WE KEPT THIS VIRUS FROM SPREADING.

AND THAT WAS THE WAY

[00:15:01]

WE PROTECTED OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH, DR.

WACHS.

THIS NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS AUSTIN.

IT DOES RELATE TO A NEIGHBORING COUNTY WITH THE WILLIAMSON COUNTY ATTORNEY LOOKING TO OVERTURN MASK MANDATES.

HOW DOES THAT AFFECT ORGANIZATIONS IN THE CITY OF AUSTIN, BUT IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY? AND HOW DOES THAT AFFECT SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT CROSS THE WILLIAMSON TRAVIS COUNTY CAN LIE.

IT'S GOING TO BE, UH, SOMETHING THAT OUR LEGAL TEAM WILL REVIEW AND ADVISE US ON.

UM, THE, THE ISSUING OF THE MANDATE DOES NOT PRECLUDE AN INDIVIDUAL FROM MAKING A PERSONAL CHOICE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM A COMMUNICABLE DISEASE, SARS, COV TWO, BY WEARING A MASK.

AND IT DOESN'T PRECLUDE OF COURSE, UM, THAT INDIVIDUAL LOOKING FOR EXTRA PROTECTION BY IF THEY'RE NOT VACCINATING GOING OUT AND GETTING VACCINATED.

OKAY.

THANK YOU FOR THAT ANSWER.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KATE T ALSO HELPED HEALTH REPORTED 23 NEW COVID 19 DEATHS ON WEDNESDAY, WHICH APPEARS TO BE THE MOST REPORTED IN ONE DAY SINCE THE START THE PANDEMIC, IS THIS HIGH NUMBER EVIDENCE THAT THE DELTA VARIANT IS CAUSING MORE SEVERE DISEASE, OR IS IT A REFLECTION OF HOW THIS SURGEON CASES IS AFFECTING THE LOCAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM'S ABILITY TO TREAT PEOPLE? WE HAVE RECEIVED ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF DATA HERE AT APH, AND I'LL, UM, HAVE JANET BISHOP TALK MORE ABOUT THAT ISSUE? UM, BUT YES, THE DELTA VARIANT IS, UH, IS CAUSING A LOT MORE SEVERE DISEASE, UM, AND IT IS IMPACTING OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS. HOWEVER, THE CARE THAT'S BEING PROVIDED AT OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS IS STILL THE STANDARD OF CARE THAT WE HAVE COME TO KNOW AND, AND EXPECT THE NUMBER OF DEATHS THAT WERE RECORDED ON ANY GIVEN DAY.

HOWEVER, UM, DO NOT ALWAYS REFLECT THE DEATHS THAT HAVE HAPPENED WITHIN A 24 HOUR PERIOD.

AND I'LL, I'LL PASS IT ON TO YOU TO JANET TO TALK MORE ABOUT THEM.

SURE.

SO, UM, ONE OF THE CHALLENGES WE HAVE AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH IN PROCESSING DEATH INFORMATION IS THAT WE OBTAIN IT FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES.

UH, WE MAY GET A CAUSE OR WE MAY GET A DEATH NOTIFICATION FROM THE HOSPITAL AT TIME OF DEATH IN THE DEATH SUMMARY THAT'S REPORTED TO US.

WE MAY GET IT FROM A FUNERAL HOME REPORTS.

HE REPORTS, UH, UH, DEATHS INTO OUR OFFICE OF VITAL RECORDS.

AND WE MAY ALSO GET, UH, JESS REPORTING IN REPORTED INTO US, UH, FROM OUR, OUR TRAVIS COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER.

SO IT DOES TAKE SOME TIME TO RECONCILE AND CAPTURE THAT INFORMATION, UH, RECONCILE IT SO THAT WE CAN AVOID ANY DUPLICATION IN THE NUMBERS AND REPORT OUT WHAT WE HAVE.

UH, AND SO, YOU KNOW, THEY MAY TRICKLE IN WHAT WE'RE FINDING, UH, AS WE ARE SEEING IN OTHER PEAKS, UH, IS THAT USUALLY THERE'S A LAG IN ABOUT THREE WEEKS, UH, FROM ONE DESK START ROLLING IN TO OUR OFFICE AND, AND BEING REPORTED.

SO AFTER A PEAK, UH, WHEN PEOPLE ARE HOSPITALIZED WITH SERIOUS ILLNESS AND SUCCUMB TO DEATH, UH, WE USUALLY START SEEING THAT THOSE CASES COME INTO THE OFFICE ABOUT THREE WEEKS FOLLOWING THAT PEAK.

UM, BUT IT D IT DOES TAKE A GOOD AMOUNT OF EFFORT TO TRY TO RECONCILE THAT INFORMATION HERE, UH, AT THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU FOR THAT CONTEXT.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT, ALTHOUGH DAILY HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS HAVE DROPPED STEADILY THIS MONTH, ICU'S HAVE REMAINED JUSTICE PACK.

WHAT DOES THIS SIGNIFY AND DO YOU THINK DECLINING ADMISSIONS FORECAST AND IMPROVEMENT IN ICU CAPACITY? UNFORTUNATELY, THE NATURAL PROGRESSION OF THIS DISEASE CAUSED BY SARS COV.

TWO VIRUS IS SUCH THAT IT WILL TAKE SOME TIME, WEEKS TO MONTHS TO CLEAR OUT, UM, AND WITH PEOPLE OUT OF ICU ONTO, UM, STEP-DOWN UNITS AND EVENTUALLY DISCHARGED FROM THE HOSPITAL.

AND SO WHAT WE'RE SEEING RIGHT NOW IS THERE ARE SEVERAL PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO REQUIRE MORE TIME TO GET BETTER.

AND SO

[00:20:01]

THAT IS JUST THE NATURE OF THIS DISEASE THAT WE'RE DEALING WITH.

IT IS ENCOURAGING THAT OUR HOSPITALIZATION NUMBERS ARE DECLINING, AND THAT IS IN LARGE PART DUE TO THE BEHAVIORAL CHANGES THAT WE'VE SEEN IN OUR COMMUNITY.

PEOPLE MASKING SOCIAL DISTANCING, STAYING HOME WHEN THEY'RE SICK, THOSE WHO TEST POSITIVE, UM, GOING TO SEEK CARE OF A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER, SEEING IF THEY'RE ELIGIBLE FOR MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY, SO THAT THEY CAN AVOID HOSPITALIZATION.

AND THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN VACCINATED CONTINUALLY TO GO AND PROTECT THEMSELVES WITH VACCINE.

SO IT'S A COMPILATION OF ALL OF THOSE THINGS THAT HAVE GONE INTO THE DECLINE IN NUMBERS THAT WE'RE SEEING.

AND WE WANT THAT TO CONTINUE.

THANK YOU, DR.

WALKER, THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM FOX SEVEN NEWS, HAVE WE SEEN A SPIKE IN CASES RELATED TO SCHOOL ATHLETICS PARTICIPATION? UM, YOU KNOW, WE ARE SEEING A SPIKE IN CASES IN SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN GENERAL.

AND, UH, YOU KNOW, I THINK PART OF THE CHALLENGE WITH THIS OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF NEW CASES THAT ARE WE'RE SEEING IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS IS THAT, UH, THERE HAS BEEN LIMITED ABILITY FOR SOME OF THESE SCHOOL PARTNERS TO COMPLETE CON UH, CONTACT TRACING TO THE LEVEL THAT THEY NEED YOU TO IDENTIFY WHERE THE ACTUAL SOURCE OF, UH, DISEASE TRANSMISSION RISKS BEGAN.

UH, YOU KNOW, WE'RE TRYING TO SUPPORT THE SCHOOLS.

WE ARE SEEING, UH, CLUSTERS OCCURRING, UH, RELATED TO ATHLETICS AND TO THE CLASSROOM AND A NUMBER OF OTHER AREAS.

UH, BUT, UM, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, WE'RE TRYING TO SUPPORT AND PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS WERE AVAILABLE.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU, DR.

.

UH, THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM TELEMUNDO ASKING FOR AN UPDATE ON EFFORTS TO REACH COMMUNITIES OF COLOR AND VACCINATION EFFORTS.

HAS THERE BEEN A SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE WHO ARE GETTING THIS BACK THE VACCINE AND COULD THE CITY HAVE DONE A BETTER JOB AT OUTREACH FROM THE BEGINNING? I CAN START.

UM, I WILL SAY THAT WHAT WE HAVE SEEN IN, UM, YOU KNOW, THE, SINCE THE END OF AUGUST TO CURRENT THAT THE LARGEST, UH, PERCENT CHANGE WITHIN OUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN AND HISPANIC POPULATION, THAT THAT'S WHERE WE'RE SEEING THE LARGEST CHANGE IN INCREASE IN VACCINE.

UM, THOSE POPULATIONS, HOWEVER, ARE STILL UNDER, UM, VACCINATED.

THEY ARE NOT, UM, REACHING THOSE 70%, UH, FIRST DOSE AND SECOND DOSE, FOR EXAMPLE, OUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN POPULATION IS PROBABLY THE MOST SIGNIFICANTLY, UH, DISPROPORTIONATELY REPRESENTED HERE.

UM, THEY STILL ARE LAGGING AND THEY'RE, UM, FULLY VACCINATED AT ONLY 32%.

AND SO THERE'S DEFINITE EFFORTS THAT NEED TO CONTINUE TO BE MADE TO NOT JUST OFFER VACCINE, BUT ALSO TO REALLY MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY'RE AT, UH, PROVIDE THEM WITH INFORMATION ABOUT, UM, WHAT THE VACCINE, UH, CAN DO FOR THEM, HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR TO GET VACCINATED, THE SAFETY OF THE VACCINE.

I'M REALLY FINDING OUT WHAT ARE THE REASONS FOR THEIR HESITANCY OF NOT GETTING IT.

UM, WE CONTINUE TO MAKE EFFORTS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE VACCINE IS OFFERED IN PLACES THAT ARE, UM, COMFORTABLE AND SAFE.

AND, UM, THAT THE COMMUNITY THAT IS BEING SERVED AS ALSO SERVED BY INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE COMMUNITY AS WELL.

SO REALLY WORKING TO TRY TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE ADDRESSING ALL OF THOSE NEEDS, BUT ALSO TRYING TO REALLY FOCUS IN ON WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THAT HESITANCY.

UM, HOW CAN WE BE BETTER, BETTER MEETING THEIR NEEDS? WE KNOW ALSO AS A COMMUNITY, UM, PROVIDER, UH, ALSO PUBLIC HEALTH HAS HAD TO EVOLVE OUR RESPONSE QUITE A BIT AND EARLY ON, THERE WERE EFFORTS TO MAKE SURE THAT ALL THE POPULATION WITHIN TRAVIS COUNTY WAS GETTING ACCESS TO VACCINE, UH, NOTING THAT THERE WAS VERY LIMITED ACCESS, UH, VERY LIMITED CAPACITY BECAUSE WE HAD SUCH A LIMITED AMOUNT OF VACCINE AVAILABLE.

UM, BUT WE REALLY WORKED TO TRY TO IMPROVE THOSE EFFORTS TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE'S A SIGNIFICANT SUPPLY AND THAT SORT OF SIGNIFICANT ACCESS POINTS FOR EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY, AND THEN PARTICULARLY DOING FOCUSED OUTREACH IN COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

OKAY.

THANK YOU FOR THAT ANSWER.

OUR NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KSA.

AND AGAIN, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE MOOD VARIANT? AND ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT IT WAS FOUND IN DALLAS COUNTY? SO I'LL TAKE THAT, UH, YOU KNOW, THE MULE VARIANT

[00:25:01]

IS A VARIANT.

UH, THAT'S BEEN LISTED BY THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION AS A VARIANT OF INTEREST.

THIS MEANS THAT THERE'S NOT A LOT OF STRONG EVIDENCE FOR SOME OF ITS ABILITY TO BE TRANSMISSIBLE, AND THAT, THAT THEY'RE CONTINUING TO STUDY ITS ABILITY FROM A DISEASE TRANSMISSION RISK STANDPOINT, UM, WHETHER IT'S, UH, YOU KNOW, THE SEVERITY OF IT AND HOW EFFECTIVE IT IS, UH, AGAINST A VACCINE AND OTHER MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPIES.

UH, AM I SURPRISED THAT IT'S IN THE, UH, IN, IN TEXAS, UH, I'M NOT SURPRISED, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, AS WITH ANY DISEASE, UH, WHEN YOU HAVE GLOBALIZATION OF TRAVEL AND PEOPLE TRAVELING IN FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, THERE IS A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR THEM TO BRING A VARIATION OF THE DISEASE INTO OUR COMMUNITIES.

AND SO, UM, YOU KNOW, THAT'S ONE REASON WE, AS EPIDEMIOLOGISTS CONTINUE TO MONITOR AND SURVEIL WHAT TYPES OF STRAINS ARE CIRCULATING OUT IN THE COMMUNITY.

UM, AGAIN, IT'S LISTED AS A VARIANT OF INTEREST, NOT A VARIANT, A CONCERN WHERE THERE'S MORE EVIDENCE ABOUT DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISKS, AND SEVERITY OF ILLNESS.

UM, WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT AT THIS POINT IS THAT, UH, DELTA SEEMS TO BE, UH, THE PREDOMINANCE VARIANT STRAIN THAT CIRCULATING, UH, CURRENTLY IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN TEXAS.

AND IT'S KEEPING YOU AT BAY.

SO, YOU KNOW, ONE WAY WE CAN GET AROUND FROM MEW HOLD IN OUR COMMUNITY IS TO MAKING SURE THAT WE ARE GETTING VACCINATED AND THAT USING THOSE LAYERS OF PROTECTION TO PROTECT OURSELVES, AND THAT IS MASKING AND THOSE TYPES OF THINGS, UH, AGAIN, UH, YOU KNOW, THIS IS THE WAY WE KEEP A VERY, VERY ANT DISEASE FROM BECOMING PREDOMINANT IN OUR COMMUNITY IS MAKING SURE THAT WE'RE PREVENTING DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISKS IN GENERAL AND VACCINATIONS THE BEST WAY TO DO IT.

I JUST WANT TO, TO ADD ON TO THAT, DELTA IS 99% OF WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN OUR CASES HERE IN TEXAS AND AROUND THE COUNTRY, VACCINATION, VACCINATION, VACCINATION, THAT'S HOW WE'RE GOING TO ELIMINATE THE SPREAD OF DELTA AND PREVENT THE EMERGENCE OF ANY VARIANCE, UM, IN OUR SOCIETY.

SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE CONTINUE OUR EFFORTS TO VACCINATE OUR COMMUNITY AND CONTINUE TO WEAR A MASK AND SOCIAL DISTANCE AND STAY HOME WHEN WE'RE SICK.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU, DR.

AND WALTZ OF THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CO-OP RADIO, ACCORDING TO , THE GERMAN NEWS NETWORK, CUBA HAS NOT ONLY DEVELOPED ITS OWN VACCINE, BUT IS NOW ADMINISTERING IT TO CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS TWO A WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THIS? AND I SUPPOSE ABOUT VACCINATION PLANS FOR CHILDREN, WE IN THIS COUNTRY, UH, PRIDE OURSELVES ON OUR ABILITY TO, UM, ADDRESS SAFETY CONCERNS FOR OUR POPULATION.

UM, WE LOOK TO THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, THE FDA TO PROVIDE US WITH THAT COMFORT LEVEL AND THAT, UM, ASSURANCE OF SAFETY AND THEY ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON AND, UM, ADVISING AND PROVIDING GUIDANCE ON VACCINATIONS, INCLUDING VACCINATIONS FOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 12 FOR PROTECTION AGAINST COVID-19.

UM, SO WE KNOW THAT WHEN THEY HAVE A FULL, UM, EVALUATION OF THE CURRENT COVID VACCINES THAT ARE AVAILABLE AND ASSURED THEMSELVES THAT IT IS SAFE FOR US TO GIVE TO OUR CHILDREN, THAT THEY WILL GIVE US THE GUIDANCE THAT WE NEED TO GO FORWARD.

AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE WAITING ON.

ALL RIGHT.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN AS FALL QUICKLY APPROACHES, WHAT CONCERNS DOES DR.

WACHS HAVE ABOUT THE STATE OF THE PANDEMIC PAIRED WITH A LIKELY HIGHER INFECTION RATE OF THE FLU BECAUSE OF THE DECREASE IN ASPIRIN AND SOCIAL DISTANCING.

LAST YEAR, WE ENJOYED A NEGLIGIBLE IMPACT OF INFLUENZA IN OUR COMMUNITY BECAUSE OF WHAT WE WERE DOING TO PREVENT THE TRANSMISSION OF AND SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AS I SAID EARLIER, THAT THAT WAS THE, THE THINGS THAT WE USE, THE NON-PHARMACEUTICAL

[00:30:01]

MEASURES OF MASKING SOCIAL DISTANCING, HAND-WASHING STAYING HOME WHEN SICK, THOSE WERE THE ONLY THINGS THAT WE HAD BEFORE THE, UM, INTRODUCTION OF VACCINE, UM, TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THIS DISEASE.

AND THIS DISEASE COVID-19 IS, IS CAUSED BY AEROSOLIZED DROPLETS THAT, UH, TRAVEL THROUGH THE AIR BETWEEN PEOPLE PREVENTS THE INTRODUCTION OF THOSE INFECTED DROPLETS INTO OUR SYSTEMS. THAT SAME THING IS TRUE IF THE FLU, SO IN ORDER FOR US TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19, UM, WE'VE INTRODUCED AND CONTINUE TO USE MASKING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING AND HAND-WASHING AND STAYING HOME AND SICK TO KEEP OURSELVES SAFE FROM SPREAD OF COVID-19.

AND THOSE THINGS WILL CONTINUE, UM, THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, UM, IN, IN VARYING AMOUNTS, UH, IN VARIOUS SITUATIONS, BUT CONTINUE TO BE THE WAY THAT WILL PREVENT THE FLU ALONG WITH THAT, WE NOW HAVE VACCINE FOR NOT ONLY THE FLU, BUT COVID-19, SO I WOULD ENCOURAGE THOSE WHO HAVE NOT BEEN VACCINATED FOR COVID-19 TO GO AND DO SO PROTECT YOURSELVES BY BECOMING VACCINATED AND SAFE.

UM, THERE ARE OVER 200 MILLION AMERICANS WHO NOW ARE FULLY VACCINATED, AND WE NEED TO CONTINUE THE PUSH TO GET THE REST OF OUR, OUR COMMUNITY VACCINATED HERE AT HOME.

UH, WHEN YOU GO TO GET THAT VACCINE FOR COVID-19 GET YOUR FLU SHOT, AND IF WE CAN MARRY THAT, UM, THAT APPROACH THAT WE'VE USED FOR THE COVID-19 WITH OUR FLU SEASON, THAT'S APPROACHING, WE CAN GET THROUGH THIS, UH, NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS OF FALL.

UM, NOT BY BEING SICK BY BEING OUT THERE, ENJOYING WEATHER AND OUR FAMILY AND LOVED ONES.

OKAY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS.

AUSTIN IS APH READY TO GO WITH THE BOOSTER ROLLOUT IN SEPTEMBER 20TH, IF IT'S PERMITTED BY THE FDA AND WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE AVAILABILITY OF ONLY ONE OF THE VACCINE IS BEING APPROVED FOR BOOSTERS I'LL CHAMPION, UH, APH IS DEFINITELY, UM, NIMBLE AND ABLE TO, UH, STAND UP OPERATIONS TO MEET COMMUNITY NEEDS.

UM, WE, WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE THIRD DOSE, UH, RECOMMENDATIONS, WE WERE ABLE TO ABLE TO, UH, WITHIN, UH, JUST A FEW DAYS, UM, PREPARE OPERATIONS AND STARTED TO IMPLEMENT THAT.

UM, FOR BOOSTERS, WE ARE LOOKING TO SEE WHAT OUR CAPACITY NEEDS ARE AND ARE ADDING ADDITIONAL STAFFING, UM, AND LOCATIONS TO BE ABLE TO ANTICIPATE, UM, NEEDING TO PROVIDE BOOSTERS IN, UM, OUR CURRENT CLINICS.

UM, ONE THING TO NOTE WITH PFIZER BEING THE ANTICIPATED BOOSTER VACCINE THAT WILL BE RECOMMENDED AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH IS A PFIZER PROVIDER, AND WE CURRENTLY OFFER PFIZER IN ALL OF OUR CLINICS ALONG WITH THE MODERN VACCINE.

AND SO DEFINITELY WE ARE PREPARED AND AS OF NINE 20, WHICH WHATEVER OCCURS REGARDING THE, UM, FEDERAL RECOMMENDATIONS, UH, WE WILL HAVE THOSE, UH, THAT ABILITY TO, UM, TO OFFER THAT, UH, VACCINE TO OUR COMMUNITY.

AGAIN, WE STILL WILL ENSURE THAT WE ARE FOCUSING ON, UH, VACCINE EFFORTS FOR THOSE WHO ARE STILL IN VACCINATED AND NOT FULLY VACCINATED, BUT WE'LL BE ABLE TO, UM, COMPLIMENT, UH, THOSE VACCINE EFFORTS WITH THE BOOSTER VACCINE STRATEGY AS WELL.

OKAY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KUT.

WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD OF DEATH AMONG THE HOSPITALIZED? DO YOU HAVE A PERCENTAGE YOU CAN SHARE? WE ARE WORKING, UM, AT, WITH THE NUMBER THAT ONE AND 100 PEOPLE THAT DEVELOPED COVID 19 WILL, UM, PASS AS A RESULT OF THIS DISEASE ENTITY.

AND IT OFTEN HAPPENS IN THOSE WHO ARE OLDER AND IT OFTEN HAPPENS IN THOSE WHO HAVE CO-MORBIDITIES.

UM, AND THAT IS WHY WE CONTINUE TO URGE OUR COMMUNITY TO BE VACCINATED, TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM, UM, BECOMING ILL, UH, WHEN THEY'RE NOT PROTECTED BY VACCINATION, BY WEARING MASK SOCIAL DISTANCING AND STAYING HOMELAND SEC.

UM, WE NOW HAVE, UM, AVAILABLE AND WIDELY AVAILABLE AND BEING USED NOW IN OUR COMMUNITY,

[00:35:01]

UM, MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY, WHICH HAS BEEN SHOWN TO DECREASE BY 70% HOSPITALIZATIONS AND THOSE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE AND IT HOPPERS FOR MORE SEVERE DISEASE FROM COVID-19.

SO I WOULD URGE ANYONE WHO IS SICK TO TEST, UM, TEST EARLY.

UM, IF YOU TEST POSITIVE, REACH OUT TO THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TO SEE IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY, IT IS FREE DOESN'T REQUIRE ID, UM, AND IT'S SOMETHING THAT, UM, WILL HELP YOU GET BETTER QUICKLY, AND IT WILL OCCUR BENT HOSPITALIZATIONS.

AND, UM, WE URGE ALL THAT, UM, OUR, OUR CIC TO REACH OUT FOR CARE EARLY ON IN THE DISEASE PROCESS.

DON'T WAIT UNTIL YOU'RE SO SICK THAT YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL.

ALL RIGHT.

THANK YOU.

UH, THE LAST QUESTION FOR THIS MORNING IS FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT.

HAS THERE BEEN ANY IMPROVEMENT IN HOSPITAL STAFFING LEVELS ARE THE SUPPLEMENTAL STAFF PROVIDED BY THE STATE NEEDING LOCAL NEEDS? WE CONTINUE TO HAVE, UH, STRESS IN OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS. UM, WE STILL ARE REQUESTING STAFF.

THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN ON THE FRONT LINES WORKING TO CARE FOR, UH, PEOPLE ARE HOSPITALIZED FROM COVID-19 MANY HAVE BEEN DOING SO SINCE LAST MARCH AND ARE UNDERSTANDABLY FATIGUED, UM, FROM THE SERVICE THAT THEY'RE PROVIDING, HOWEVER, THEY STILL SHOW UP EVERY DAY TO WORK.

UM, AND WE AS A COMMUNITY NEED TO DO OUR PART TO PROTECT OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS BY STAYING HOME WHEN WE'RE SICK, GETTING TESTED, IF WE'RE, IF WE'RE POSITIVE FOR COVID 19, UM, GET TESTED EARLY, GET TREATED.

IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE WITH, UM, MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY THAT WILL REDUCE HOSPITALIZATION, UM, RISK RATES, UM, AND HAS BEEN SHOWN TO DO SO, UM, AND, AND GET VACCINATED IF YOU'RE UNPROTECTED FROM, UM, COVID-19, IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE AND CONTINUE TO PROTECT THOSE WHO ARE ON NOT ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINATION THOSE UNDER THE AGE OF 12 BY, UM, WEARING MASS AND PROTECTING THEM FROM SITUATIONS WHERE THEY CAN BE EXPOSED TO COVID-19.

THANK YOU.

THAT CONCLUDES THE QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS.

THANK YOU.

AT THIS TIME, WE WILL NOW MOVE INTO OUR CLOSING REMARKS, DR.

WACHS.

I WANT TO ASK AUSTIN TO CONTINUE THEIR EFFORTS, TO PROTECT OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS BY GOING OUT AND GETTING VACCINATED, UM, CONTINUING TO WHERE MASS I'M STAYING HOME.

ONE SECOND, AS I SAID, JUST A MINUTE AGO, UM, GETTING TESTED AND HE WOULD DO FEEL SICK, UM, SO THAT WE CAN HAVE EARLY DETECTION OF COVID-19 AND USE THE TREATMENT THAT'S AVAILABLE TO US HERE IN OUR COMMUNITY OF MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY, FOR THOSE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE.

UM, THE, THIS IS THE SEASON FOR THE FLU.

SO IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE GET OUT THERE AND GET OUR FLU SHOTS.

IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE PROTECT OUR LOVED ONES FROM, UM, GETTING NOT ONLY COVID 19, BUT THE FLU IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE PROTECT OURSELVES AND OUR LOVED ONES BY WEARING MASKS WHEN WE'RE OUT IN PUBLIC, SO THAT WE DO NOT BECOME SICK FROM COVID-19.

WE ARE SEEING, UM, CLUSTERS AND FAMILY GROUPS LIVING TOGETHER, UM, WHO ARE GETTING SICK.

UM, SOME OF THEM WAITING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME BEFORE THEY SEEK MEDICAL CARE, ENDING UP IN HOSPITAL ON, AND WE'VE HEARD STORIES OF FAMILIES, UM, TO FAMILY MEMBERS BEING IN ICU ON VENTILATORS.

UM, WE'VE HEARD SAD STORIES OF PEOPLE WHERE, UM, TWO FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE GOTTEN COVID 19 ONE MAY PASS.

THESE, THESE DEATHS ARE ON OF THESE DEATHS ARE AVOIDABLE.

UM, THESE, THESE, UM, PEOPLE WHO ARE ENDING UP SICK, UM, ALMOST ALL, UM, WHO ARE IN HOSPITAL ARE UN-VACCINATED.

AND, AND THIS IS AS A SAID, TRUTH THAT WE CAN PREVENT BY ENCOURAGING EVERYBODY TO GO OUT AND BE VACCINATED.

OUR VACCINES ARE SAFE.

THEY'RE READILY AVAILABLE.

[00:40:01]

THEY'RE AVAILABLE HERE AT APH.

THEY'RE AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCAL PHARMACY.

THERE ARE MANY VACCINE PROVIDERS IN OUR AREA.

THERE ARE VACCINE PROVIDERS WHO ARE WILLING TO COME TO YOUR HOME TO GET TO YOUR VACCINE.

UM, IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, ASK YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER, GO TO A TRUSTED SOURCE.

DON'T DON'T USE SOURCES THAT, UM, PROMOTE THINGS THAT ARE UNFOUNDED.

UM, PLEASE GET VACCINATED.

WE ARE BREACHING THAT MILESTONE OF 70%, BUT THAT IS NOT GOING TO DETER US FROM REACHING OUT TO EACH AND EVERY PERSON AND OFFERING THEM VACCINE.

AND, AND IT'S NOT GOING TO STOP US FROM OUR QUEST TO GET OUR COMMUNITY THROUGH AN OUT OF THIS PANDEMIC.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS.

UM, I'M THINKING BACK TO ONE OF THE QUESTIONS EARLIER, UH, WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH COULD HAVE DONE BETTER? OF COURSE, UM, I THINK THERE'S ALWAYS OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT AND WE, WE RECOGNIZE THAT AND I REALLY CELEBRATE AND SALUTE THE STAFF FOR THEIR, UM, EFFORTS TO BE AS TRANSPARENT AND AS VULNERABLE IN THEIR WORK AS POSSIBLE.

UM, AND EVERY STEP POSSIBLE, WE TRY TO ENGAGE COMMUNITY WE'VE, UM, INCORPORATED COMMUNITY FEEDBACK, UM, INTO MANY OF THE IMPROVEMENTS THAT WE'VE MADE, WHICH IS WHY WE'RE CONFIDENT IN OUR BOOSTER ROLLOUT STRATEGY.

AND WHEN WE EVER GET TO THE PLACE FOR VACCINES BEING AVAILABLE FOR KIDS, WE'VE HEARD THE CONCERNS AND WE'VE MADE CHANGES, AND WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO LISTEN TO COMMUNITY.

SO THAT'S OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU.

WE ARE YOUR PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT, AND WE WILL BE HERE TO ENSURE THAT EVERY COMMUNITY GETS TO THE 70% MARK, UH, WHETHER YOU'RE BLACK, BROWN, EAST SIDE OR WEST SIDE.

UM, AND MY PUBLIC HEALTH CLOSING STATEMENT FOR TODAY, UH, TO SUMMARIZE LUCY'S IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER.

WE HAVE TWO ARMS GET TWO SHOTS, SO HAVE FLU, KEEP SAFE.

THEY DO.

THANKS.

AND AS WE'VE TALKED ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THE GRIM MILESTONES THAT WE'VE REACHED THIS WEEK RELATED TO DEATHS, AND I THINK THERE IS SOME HOPE, UH, IN OUR FUTURE.

AND THAT IS WE ARE SEEING THE NUMBER OF CASES DECREASE.

AND, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, IF WE WANT TO CHANGE THE TRAJECTORY OF THIS PANDEMIC AND HAVE THINGS START COMING DOWN AGAIN, WE NEED TO DO AND USE ALL THOSE LAYERS OF PROTECTION THAT WE'VE DISCUSSED TODAY.

THAT'S TO GET VETS VACCINATED, YOU KNOW, YOU'VE HEARD ABOUT VARIANT DISEASES ONE WAY TO PREVENT AND KEEP THOSE MUTATIONS FROM OCCURRING AND TAKING HOLD IN OUR COMMUNITY IS TO MAKE SURE WE USE THOSE LAYERS OF PROTECTION, UH, TO KEEP OURSELVES AND OUR FAMILIES SAFE FROM A LARGELY PREVENTABLE DISEASE.

SO, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, GET VACCINATED, UH, IT'S A SIMPLE THING TO DO.

IT'S SAFE, UH, AND IT WILL PROTECT YOU FROM SEVERE ILLNESS AND HOSPITALIZATION AND DEATH, UH, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE WEARING YOUR MASKS, MAKE SURE YOUR SOCIAL DISTANCING, MAKE SURE YOU'RE DOING ALL THOSE THINGS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY.

AND WITH THAT ALTERNATIVE OVER TO CASSIE, THANK YOU, JANET.

AND JUST TO ECHO EVERYTHING ELSE, EVERYONE ELSE HAS SAID, YOU KNOW, VACCINE IS, UH, WIDELY AVAILABLE AND WE KNOW THAT IT IS REALLY CRITICAL TO, UM, HELP SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY AND TO GET US, UM, UH, PROTECTED FROM, UH, ONGOING TRANSMISSION OF THIS DISEASE.

UM, ONE THING I DO WANT TO NOTE IS THAT WE ARE SEEING THAT FIRST DOSE VACCINE IS GETTING CLOSE TO 80%.

THAT'S A HUGE, HUGE, UM, UH, GREAT THING FOR OUR COMMUNITY, BUT WE ARE SEEING SECOND DOSES ARE LAGGING BEHIND.

AND SO IF YOU'RE DOING YOUR SECOND DOSE, IT'S TIME TO GET IT.

SO MAKE A PLAN TO FIND A VACCINE TO, TO, UM, IF YOU HAD PFIZER, IF YOU HAVE MADONNA FIND A PROVIDER THAT'S PROVIDING THAT MOST PROVIDERS HAVE BOTH AND MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE ABLE TO STAY ON TRACK WITH GETTING THAT SECOND DOSE AND FINISH THE, BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT FULLY VACCINATED UNTIL YOU'VE RECEIVED BOTH VACCINES.

UM, AND, AND HAVE, UM, BEEN TWO WEEKS OUT FROM THAT SECOND DOSE.

SO MANY OF OUR KIDS GOT THEIR FIRST DOSE VACCINE AND BACK TO SCHOOL SHOTS, IT'S TIME.

IF YOU GOT VACCINATED MID AUGUST, IT'S TIME TO GET YOUR SECOND DOSE.

SO WE REALLY WANNA ENCOURAGE EVERYBODY TO, IF YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN VACCINE, SEEK A VACCINE.

NOW, IF YOU ARE NEEDING THAT SECOND DOSE, IT'S TIME TO CHECK YOUR, CHECK YOUR CARDS AND SEE IF IT'S TIME FOR YOUR SECOND DOSE.

AND, AND

[00:45:01]

SO YOU GOT A PROVIDER TO GET THAT VACCINE.

UM, AND WITH THAT, JUST HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND AND TAKE CARE, AUSTIN.

THANK YOU.

THAT CONCLUDES OUR MEDIA AVAILABILITY FOR TODAY.

THANK YOU TO DR.

DEZ MAR WALKS IN TERM APH DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET PICHET, CASSANDRA DALIAN, APH, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION, HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION, AND OUR POOL REPORTER MIKE CLARK MADISON FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE.

THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

HAVE A SAFE WEEKEND.



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