Link

Social

Embed

Download

Download
Download Transcript

[00:00:03]

GOOD

[COVID-19: Press Q & A]

MORNING.

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

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

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

DESMO WALKS AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY WILL FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY INTERIM AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP, AND THEN CASSANDRA DE LEON APH, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, OR 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.

THANK YOU, AUSTIN.

UM, THE COMMUNITY HAS ACHIEVED GREAT THINGS.

WE HAVE 70% OF THOSE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR COVID-19 VACCINATIONS VACCINATED, AND THAT'S IN LARGE PART TO YOUR SAYING YES TO THE SHOT AND TO THE GREAT WORK OF AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH AND ALL OF OUR, UH, PARTNERS WHO HAVE COLLABORATED WITH US THROUGH THESE MANY MONTHS OF TRYING TO GET OUR POPULATION VACCINATED.

WE STILL HAVE MORE TO DO.

WE NEED TO CONTINUE OUR EFFORTS.

UM, WE NEED TO KEEP OUR CHILDREN SAFE BY WEARING THE US AROUND THEM, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED, WHO ARE UNDER THE AGE OF 12.

WE NEED TO GET THOSE WHO ARE 12 YEARS OLD AND OLDER VACCINATED, AND WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO WEAR A MASK.

UM, WHEN WE'RE AROUND PEOPLE THAT WE'RE NOT LIVING WITH OR IN CROWD CROWDED SPACES, INDOORS PARTICULARLY ARE IN OUTDOOR SETTINGS WHERE IT'S NOT POSSIBLE TO SOCIALLY DISTANCE, BUT WE'VE COME A LONG WAY.

AND IT'S SHOWING, UM, THE THINGS THAT WE'RE DOING HAVE, UH, DECREASED OUR SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF ICU ADMISSIONS FROM 217 TO 202.

UM, LAST WEEK OVER THIS WEEK, UM, WE STILL HAVE TO BE MINDFUL OF THE FACT THAT WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE RECEIVING ICU LEVEL CARE OUTSIDE OF THE ICU SETTING.

AND IN SOME INSTANCES, UH, BEING CARED, THEY'RE BEING CARED FOR BY NURSES WHO ARE NOT ICU NURSES, BECAUSE WE DO HAVE STILL CONTINUED STAFFING SHORTAGES.

SO WE STILL NEED TO KEEP OUR EVENTUAL ONES UP AND SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

UM, WE'VE HAD A DECREASE IN OUR SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE FOR NOW THE LAST THREE DAYS, WE'RE DOWN TO 44 AND WE'RE WAITING FOR A SUSTAINED TRENDS SO THAT WE CAN, UH, CONFIDENTLY MOVE INTO STAGE FOUR.

WE ARE CURRENTLY STILL IN STAGE FIVE.

UM, WE ARE HOPING THAT WE AS A COMMUNITY WILL WORK TOGETHER TO HELP NOT ONLY OUR COMMUNITY OF AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY CONTINUE TO VACCINATE THOSE AROUND VACCINATED AND UNPROTECTED, BUT ALSO TO ENCOURAGE OUR NEIGHBORING COMMUNITIES TO CONTINUE TO VACCINATE THEIR COMMUNITY MEMBERS AS WELL, BECAUSE THE BURDEN IN OUR ICU AND IN OUR HOSPITALS IS NOT JUST OUR COMMUNITY MEMBERS, BUT PEOPLE FROM OTHER COMMUNITIES THAT NEED OUR SERVICES ARE THE LEVEL OF CARE THAT WE PROVIDE IN OUR HOSPITALS TO BE GIVEN TO THEIR COMMUNITY MEMBERS.

AND WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE WAITING IN ICU TO BE TRANSFERRED IN TO OUR AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTHCARE SYSTEM FOR CARE, FOR HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES AND OTHER THINGS THAT ARE NORMAL MEDICAL CARE.

SO WE REALLY NEED TO REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS SO WE CAN CONTINUE TO MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, BUT WE HAVE DONE GREAT THINGS, AUSTIN, AND I WANT TO THANK YOU.

AND I'LL, UH, PASS THIS ON TO DIRECTOR STIRRUP.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS.

GOOD MORNING, AUSTIN.

YES, YES, YES.

WE HAVE A LOT TO CELEBRATE.

WE'VE REACHED THAT 70% MILESTONE, 80% OF OUR RESIDENTS IN AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY HAVE RECEIVED THEIR FIRST DOSE AND WE HOPE THEY ARE ON THEIR WAY TO RECEIVE THEIR SECOND DOSE.

UM, THE HOSPITAL NUMBERS ARE GOING DOWN.

THE SIGNS ARE INDICATING THAT WE'RE DOING ALL OF THE RIGHT THINGS.

WE'RE GETTING VACCINATED, VACCINATED, WE'RE TESTING.

WHEN WE'RE SICK, WE'RE MAKING DECISIONS AND PLANS TO HELP KEEP OUR SCHOOL-AGED KIDS SICK THAT STILL AREN'T ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE AND AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH CONTINUES TO PROVIDE OPERATIONAL SUPPORT, TO MAKE SURE THAT THE COMMUNITY CAN CONTINUE TO MAKE THESE DEFINITIVE CHOICES TOWARDS OUR OVERALL HEALTH.

WE HAVE FREE TESTING SERVICES.

WE'RE OFFERING VACCINATION

[00:05:01]

CLINICS WHERE YOU CAN, WE CAN COME TO YOUR HOME FOR EITHER OF THOSE THINGS.

YOU CAN VISIT US ON OUR WEBSITE AT WWW DOT AUSTIN, TEXAS.GOV, OR YOU CAN CALL 3, 1, 1 IF YOU DON'T WANT TO MESS AROUND WITH THE DIFFERENT WEBPAGES, BUT ALL THAT TO SAY, YOU KNOW, WE, WE ARE THE WING WIND BENEATH YOUR WINGS.

WE LOVE THE, UH, THE EVIDENCE OF THE EFFORT AND WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO KEEP UP THE GOOD FIGHT.

AND WITH THAT, I PASS IT TO KATHY DEADLY AT HOME.

THANK YOU SO MUCH, ADRIAN.

AND IT IS AN EXCITING MOMENT.

UM, I'VE BEEN OVERSEEING THE VACCINE OPERATIONS SINCE INCEPTION WHEN WE STARTED BACK IN DECEMBER AND JUST TO SEE THE EVOLUTION AND HITTING THAT MILESTONE OF 70% OF OUR POPULATION EXCEEDING THAT TODAY AND SEEING OUR SECOND, OUR FIRST DOSES AT 80% IS EXTREMELY, UM, EXTREMELY REWARDING FOR US AS A, AS A PROVIDER AND FOR ALL THE PROVIDERS THAT ARE CONTRIBUTING IN THIS SPACE, UM, THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE NETWORK THAT WE'RE WORKING THROUGH TO TRY TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY LIFT US UP AND, UM, HELP US COMBAT THIS DISEASE.

BUT WE STILL HAVE WORK TO DO WE KNOW THAT POPULATIONS OF COLOR STILL ARE UNDERREPRESENTED IN THAT 70%, BUT WE HAVE A LOT OF HOPE WE'VE SEEN FROM THE END OF JUNE TO THE MOST RECENT DATA THAT WE HAD, UM, ENDING OF LAST WEEK THAT THOSE POPULATIONS, HISPANIC AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN POPULATIONS ARE HAVING THE HIGHEST RATES OF INCREASE IN VACCINE AND FIRST DOSE AND SECOND DOSE THEN, UH, COMPARED TO WHITES AND, AND THEY ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED, BUT WE ARE SEEING THAT THEY ARE, ARE GROWING IN VACCINE RATES HIGHER THAN OTHER POPULATIONS.

SO THAT'S VERY EXCITING.

AND SPECIFICALLY WE SAW THAT OUR, OUR BLACK POPULATION, UH, INCREASE THEIR FIRST DOSE UPTAKE BY 9% SINCE THE END OF JUNE.

UM, AND THEIR SECOND DOSE FULLY VACCINATED BY 8% FOR HISPANICS, WE SAW AN INCREASE IN FIRST DOSE BY 11% AND, UH, FOR A SECOND DOSE FULLY VACCINATED UP TO 10%.

AND SO THAT'S, THAT'S REALLY ENCOURAGING NEWS AND THAT'S A TESTAMENT TO ALL OF THESE FOCUSED OUTREACH AND EFFORTS THAT AWESOME PUBLIC HEALTH HAS DONE, BUT ALSO MANY OF OUR COMMUNITIES ACROSS MANY OF OUR PARTNERS ACROSS THE COMMUNITY TO REALLY HELP, TO ENGAGE AND MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY'RE AT AND MAKE SURE THAT THEIR QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED AND THAT THEY SEE THE BENEFITS AND, UM, TRUST IS BEING BUILT TO ENSURE THAT WE ARE ABLE TO, UM, GIVE THAT CARE, GIVE THAT SERVICE TO ALL INDIVIDUALS ACROSS THE COMMUNITY.

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

THANK YOU.

WE WILL NOW TURN IT OVER TO OUR POOL REPORTER, HEATHER OSBORNE FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, HEATHER.

GOOD MORNING.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

AND OUR FIRST QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN IS A CURRENT FLU CAMPAIGN OR REFLECTION OF HOW CONFIDENT HEALTH LEADERS ARE THAT THE PANDEMIC IS COMING TO AN END, OR IS A CAMPAIGN MORE OUT OF CONCERN THAT BOTH VIRUSES COULD OVERWHELM HOSPITALS TOWARD THE END OF THE YEAR.

OUR CAMPAIGN FOR FLU IS, UM, A LITTLE BIT ABOVE HEATHER.

UM, WE KNOW THAT THE FLU LAST YEAR WAS NOT, UM, UH, SOMETHING THAT WE SAW VERY MUCH OF BECAUSE WE WERE DOING THE MITIGATION STRATEGIES TO DECREASE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.

BUT AS THE FLOW IS ALSO, UM, AN INFECTION THAT'S SPREAD BY AEROSOLIZED DROPLETS.

UM, WE KNOW THAT WE NEED TO NOT ONLY DO, UM, THE MASKING, UM, EFFORTS THAT WE'VE DONE IN THE PAST, BUT WE ALSO NEED TO HAVE PEOPLE, UH, GET THEIR FLU VACCINES.

WE KNOW THAT WE CAN GIVE THE COVID VACCINE AND THE FLU VACCINE AT THE SAME TIME.

AND WE WANT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FACT THAT THOSE THINGS CAN BE DONE AT THE SAME AND MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE KNOW THEY CAN GET THEM BOTH AND, AND HAVE PEOPLE THAT ARE UNPROTECTED FOR COVID-19 GO GET THEIR COVID-19 VACCINE AND THE FLU VACCINE SO THAT WE CAN PROTECT OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS. THAT'S WHAT OUR GOAL HAS BEEN ALL ALONG, AND IT CONTINUES TO FEED ON.

AND I'LL JUST ADD IN, WE ALSO IN PUBLIC HEALTH ARE PLANNING TO DO CO LOCATED, UM, FLU VACCINE AND COVID VACCINE THROUGHOUT THE, UM, UH, FALL, AS MUCH AS WE HAVE CAPACITY TO YOU.

AND WE'RE EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THAT SERVICE AVAILABLE TO THE COMMUNITY.

UM, BUT AGAIN, THERE ARE SO MANY PROVIDERS THAT ARE AVAILABLE.

SO WE REALLY WANT TO ENCOURAGE INDIVIDUALS TO GET VACCINATED, GET BOTH THE FLU, GET, UH, THE COVID VACCINE SO THAT YOU CAN, UM, HAVE THAT PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY.

AND, AND YES, CASSIE, THANK YOU FOR THAT.

WE'LL HAVE THE OPERATIONAL SUPPORT, BUT AGAIN, YOU, THE CITIZEN CAN TAKE CONTROL.

LAST YEAR, WE HAD A NEGLIGIBLE FLU SEASON.

AND THE REASON FOR THAT WAS THAT WE WERE ALL STAYING HOME WHEN WE

[00:10:01]

WERE SICK, WE WERE WASHING OUR HANDS AND WE WERE WEARING MASKS.

SO THOSE SAME MEASURES, AND WE WE'VE OFTEN TALKED ABOUT THAT AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH.

BACK IN THE DAY, IT WAS THE COUGH IN YOUR ELBOW.

WE STEPPED THE GAME UP WITH THE MASKING.

AND SO I ENCOURAGE YOU TO KEEP WITH THOSE SAME PRACTICES SO THAT WE CAN KEEP OUR COMMUNITY SAFE FROM FLU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K X, A N CAN YOU GIVE US AN UPDATE ON WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH BOOSTER SHOTS, HOW MANY MORE FACILITIES AND STAFF WILL YOU NEED? AWESOME.

PUBLIC HEALTH HAS BEEN PREPARING AND STAGING RESOURCES, UM, UH, CONSTANTLY THROUGHOUT THE, UM, THROUGHOUT THE RESPONSE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE ENOUGH CAPACITY TO MEET THE COMMUNITY'S NEEDS.

UM, UPON THE ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE FEDERAL ADMINISTRATION ABOUT BOOSTERS BEING A CONSIDERATION, WE BEGAN PLANNING FOR AN INCREASED OPERATION AND WE HAVE THIS WEEK ALONE OPENED AN ADDITIONAL SIDE AND, AND LAST WEEK OPENED AN ADDITIONAL SITE.

AND SO WE ARE LOOKING AT ADDITIONAL COMPUTE CAPACITY THAT WE NEED TO BUILD INTO THOSE SITES, BOTH WITH ADDITIONAL LOCATIONS AND WITH ADDITIONAL STAFFING RESOURCES.

AND SO WE ARE PLANNING FOR THAT.

UM, AND, UH, OR JUST LOOKING TO SEE HOW WE CAN BUILD THAT CAPACITY IN TO MEET THE COMMUNITY'S NEEDS AS THEY, AS THEY DEVELOP A KEY PART OF THAT PLANNING PROCESS WILL BE TO CONTINUE TO ENGAGE WITH OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS, TO EXAMINE LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE, UH, FIRST, UH, VACCINE ROLLOUT, AND TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE AN EQUITABLE, AN EQUITABLE PROCESS IN PLACE.

THAT BEING SAID, WE ARE STILL WAITING FOR FINAL GUIDANCE.

WE, WE, WE HAVEN'T GOTTEN THE, UH, RECOMMEND OR THE GUIDANCE FROM ACEP ON HOW TO, UH, IMPLEMENT BOOSTERS SAFELY.

AND AS SOON AS WE GET THAT GUIDANCE, WE WILL BE READY TO PROVIDE BOOSTER VACCINES TO OUR COMMUNITY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS AUSTIN, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL PEOPLE WHO GOT TO MADRONA DOSES ABOUT WHEN THEY MIGHT GET THEIR BOOSTER SHOTS? CAN THEY GET A PFIZER VACCINE AND MIX MANUFACTURERS? UM, AS I SAID, HEATHER, WE ARE STILL WAITING FOR THE GUIDANCE ON, UM, BOOSTERS.

UM, WE KNOW THAT THE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE OUT FOR PFIZER.

UM, WE'LL WHEN WE GET THAT FINAL DETAIL ABOUT THE MIX AND MATCH POSSIBILITY, WE'LL HAVE THAT INFORMATION ROLLED INTO OUR COMMUNICATION PLANS AND OUR OPERATIONS WILL BE READY TO SUPPORT, BUT WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE GUIDANCE YET.

AND AGAIN, WE STILL WANT TO ENCOURAGE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE NOT VACCINATED.

THAT IS STILL OUR FOCUS, REGARDLESS OF THIS, YOUR INFORMATION.

I KNOW THERE'S A LOT OF INFORMATION OUT THERE, BUT REALLY OUR BIG FOCUS RIGHT NOW IS TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE HAS THAT LAYER OF INITIAL PROTECTION FROM COVID VACCINE SO THAT EVERYONE CAN HAVE A, THAT, THAT ABILITY TO KNOW THAT THEY'RE SAFE.

UM, THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT, DOES APH HAVE PLANS TO OFFER ANY SUPPORTIVE SERVICES AT ACL DIRECTOR STIRRUP SAID LAST WEEK, IT WOULDN'T BE PRACTICAL TO OFFER ONSITE TESTING, BUT WILL THERE BE VACCINE CLINICS OR OTHER SERVICES NEAR ZILKER PARK? YOU KNOW, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH REMAINS OPEN TO THE POSSIBILITY TO SERVE AS PART OF OUR EVENT GUIDANCE.

WE DO ENCOURAGE, UM, EVENT ORGANIZERS TO LOOK AT THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE VACCINE CLINICS.

UM, HISTORICALLY WHEN FOLKS ARE READY TO, UM, ENJOY A CERTAIN TYPE OF ATMOSPHERE, WE HAVEN'T HAD MUCH LUCK.

UM, BUT IF WE, WE DO STAND READY TO SUPPORT, IF THAT IS SOMETHING THAT THE COMMUNITY AND THE ORGANIZER WOULD LIKE TO PURSUE, AND WE JUST WANNA ENCOURAGE ANYONE WHO'S NOT VACCINATED.

AND YOU'RE LOOKING TO GO TO ACL.

THIS IS THE TIME TO GET THE VACCINE.

YOU CAN GET THE VACCINE.

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR J AND J PFIZER OR MADONNA, THERE ARE MANY OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO USE SO THAT YOU CAN SAFELY GO AND PARTICIPATE IN THAT EVENT.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K O O P RADIO, ILLINOIS IS NOW REGULARLY TESTING 2 MILLION K THROUGH 12 STUDENTS WHILE LOS ANGELES PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE MADE IT MANDATORY.

WELL, APH RECOMMEND A SIMILAR REQUIREMENT FOR ISD.

WE ARE IN CONSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH OUR ISDN DAYS AND ENCOURAGING

[00:15:01]

AND SUPPORTING THEIR, UH, EFFORTS TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE RESOURCES THAT ARE BEING PROVIDED BY THE TEA FOR TESTING WE'VE SUPPLIED GUIDANCE FOR THE ISD.

AND WE ARE LOOKING AT THIS AS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO CONTINUE TO KEEP SCHOOLS OPEN SAFELY, TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM DEVELOPING, UH COVID-19.

AND WE ARE ENCOURAGING THE USE OF MASKING INDOORS AND AN OUTDOOR PLACES WHERE SOCIAL DISTANCING IS NOT POSSIBLE SO THAT OUR CHILDREN WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO RECEIVE VACCINATIONS WILL BE KEPT SAFE.

AND JUST ANOTHER LAYER, IF THE, ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO PROTECT THAT, UM, UNDER, UM, 12 POPULATION IS FOR ALL OF THOSE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A VACCINE TO GET THE VACCINE SO THAT WE COULD STOP THE SPREAD, STOP THE TRANSMISSION TO EVERYONE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM FOX SEVEN, WHAT IS APH DOING TO REACH THE PEOPLE WHO WERE STILL REFUSING THE VACCINE? I'LL JUMP IN.

UM, WE ARE REALLY TRYING TO GET A BETTER HANDLE ON, UH, WHAT THOSE CONCERNS ARE, WHAT THOSE HESITANCIES ARE, AND REALLY MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY'RE AT.

UM, YOU'VE TRIED TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE IS NO ACCESS AND CAPACITY ISSUE THAT WOULD BE COME A BARRIER.

UH, BUT WE ALSO KNOW INFORMATION, UH, PLAYS A LOT INTO, UH, ACCESS.

AND SO WE'RE LOOKING AND ASSESSING ALL OF THOSE COMPONENTS AS TO WHAT INFORMATION ARE THEY RECEIVING.

UM, ARE WE TAILORING MESSAGES FOR, UM, UH, PLETHORA OF DIFFERENT GROUPS, JUST TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE RECEIVING, UM, INFORMATION THAT'S CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY APPROPRIATE AND IS REALLY ADDRESSING THERE'S SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS OUT THERE TALKING ABOUT VACCINE.

SO REALLY WHAT ARE THE THINGS THAT SPEAK TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS SO THAT, UM, THEY CAN MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT HOW TO GET VACCINE? UH, WE ALSO WERE LOOKING AT A BIGGER SPACE THAN JUST THE TRAVIS COUNTY AREA.

WE'RE WORKING WITH OUR PARTNERS AND THE OTHER, UH, SURROUNDING COUNTIES, SO THAT THE MESSAGING THAT WE HAVE TO PROVIDE, UM, IS ALSO IMPACTING, UH, THOSE OTHER COUNTIES BECAUSE WE SHARE THE SAME MEDIA OUTLETS.

AND SO MAKING SURE THAT THEY ARE ALSO RECEIVING THAT MESSAGE.

UM, AND THEN IT RESONATES WITH THOSE COMMUNITIES AS WELL.

THERE'S JUST SO MANY DIFFERENT, UM, FACTORS THAT PLAY INTO AN INDIVIDUAL'S DECISION.

IT'S A PERSONAL DECISION, IT'S A MEDICAL DECISION.

AND SO WE ENCOURAGE THOSE TO SEEK OUT, UM, ACCURATE INFORMATION.

UM, BUT WE HAVE BEEN VERY PROACTIVE IN HOW WE ARE CONDUCTING OUTREACH AND ENGAGING WITH THEM.

EVERYTHING THAT CASSIE SAID IS SPOT ON.

UM, AND WE KNOW THAT IT'S GOING TO TAKE TIME, YOU KNOW, SO AS MANY CONVERSATIONS THAT WE HAVE TO HAVE AS MANY TIMES AS WE HAVE TO COME ON A FRIDAY MORNING TO TALK TO YOU ALL AS MANY DIFFERENT PSA'S THAT WE HAVE TO PUT OUT CHURCH GROUPS THAT WE HAVE TO ADDRESS DIFFERENT TYPES OF ORGANIZED BODIES.

WE ARE HERE TO SUPPORT BECAUSE WE KNOW THIS IS A VERY SENSITIVE DECISION FOR FOLKS TO TAKE.

IT MAKES ME THINK ABOUT MY DAUGHTER.

AND THE FIRST TIME SHE JUMPED OFF THE DIVING BOARD INTO THE DEEP END, IT TOOK HER ABOUT FOUR TIMES AND EACH TIME SHE WOULD GET UP THERE AND WALK TO THE END AND WE WERE LIKE, RMD, YOU COULD DO IT AND SHE'D RUN BACK DOWN.

BUT EVENTUALLY SHE MADE THAT LEAD BECAUSE SHE HAD CONSISTENT GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT THAT SHE FELT COMPETENT TO MAKE THAT DECISION.

AND THAT'S WHAT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH PLANS TO PROVIDE.

OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO START OUR SECOND ROUND OF QUESTIONS.

NOW, THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, HOW SOON COULD DR.

WACHS SIGNAL A MOVE TO STAGE FOUR OF AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, RISK BASED GUIDELINES? WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THAT CHANGE? WE ARE WAITING TO SEE A SUSTAINED TREND OF THE SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS, AND WE WILL THEN ANNOUNCE THE MOVE TO STAGE FOUR.

UM, WHAT'S WHAT IT'S GOING TO TAKE TO CONTINUE IN THAT DIRECTION IS, UH, THE CONTINUED USE OF MASKING TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY FROM SPREAD BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE INFECTED TO THOSE WHO ARE UNINFECTED AND UNPROTECTED, PARTICULARLY BY VACCINATIONS.

AND THEN JUST MAKING SURE THAT THOSE WHO ARE UNPROTECTED BY BEING VACCINATED, UM, TO TAKE THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT ARE OUT THERE AND AVAILABLE AT SO MANY DIFFERENT PROVIDERS IN OUR COMMUNITY, UM, TO GET THE VACCINE, UM, WE ARE HOPEFUL THAT THIS

[00:20:01]

TREND WILL CONTINUE, AND WE ARE HOPEFUL THAT WE'LL CONTINUE TO SEE NOT ONLY A MOVE DOWNWARD FROM A STAGE FOUR, BUT A CONTINUING DOWNWARD TREND INTO LOWER STAGES.

SO IT'S GOING TO BE UP TO US AS A COMMUNITY TO CONTINUE THAT TREND.

AND IT'S GOING TO BE, UM, WORKING NOT ONLY HERE IN OUR AREA, UM, TO PROTECT OUR, UH, HOSPITAL SYSTEM, UM, BY HAVING OUR POPULATION HERE IN AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY VACCINATED.

BUT WE ALSO WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR, OUR PARTNERS IN SURROUNDING COUNTIES ARE DOING THEIR PART TO, UH, GET THEIR PEOPLE VACCINATED AS WELL.

UM, SO THAT OUR ICU NUMBERS WILL CONTINUE TO TURN DOWNWARD.

AND I JUST WANT TO ADD IN AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, THROUGHOUT THEIR RESPONSE AND THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC, WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN PREPARED AND WORKING TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR OPERATIONS MEET THE COMMUNITY'S NEEDS.

AND SO EVEN THOUGH WE MAY GO INTO STAGE FOUR, WE STILL KNOW THAT THERE'S A LOT OF WORK TO PREVENT US FROM SURGING BACK INTO STAGE BY, UM, OR EVEN AS WE SEE IT DWINDLING DOWN OR WHATNOT, WE HAVE TO BE READY TO RESPOND, TO MAKE SURE THAT TESTING'S AVAILABLE TO MAKE SURE THAT VACCINE IS AVAILABLE, UM, THAT, UH, PEOPLE HAVE ACCESS TO PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT SO THAT THEY CAN CONTINUE TO PRACTICE THOSE IMPORTANT INFECTION CONTROL MITIGATION MEASURES.

AND THOSE ARE KEY, EVEN THOUGH THE STAGING IS REDUCING IT'S KEY TO CONTINUE TO PRACTICE THOSE THINGS.

WE KNOW PROTECT US.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K X, A N HAVE YOU ALL WORKED WITH UT MODELERS OR SIMILAR GROUPS TO LOOK AT HOW ACL COULD IMPACT CASE NUMBERS AND HOSPITALIZATIONS? IF SO, WHAT DID THOSE PREDICTIONS SHOW? YES, WE'RE IN COMMUNICATION WITH THE UTE MODELING GROUP AND HAVE WORKED TO LOOK AT THE IMPACT OF EVENTS, UM, OF DIFFERENT SIZES AND COMPOSITIONS AND IN DIFFERENT LOCATIONS TO ASCERTAIN WHAT THE IMPACT WILL BE WITH REGARDS TO IS ON THAT WE CAN PROJECT WITH A RESULT, UH, BASED ON THE DIFFERENT MITIGATION MEASURES THAT WE HAVE IN PLACE AT A GIVEN EVENT.

AND THAT'S PART OF PARCEL OF HOW WE'RE MOVING FORWARD TO KEEP OUR ECONOMY OPEN, TO KEEP THE, UM, EVENTS, UH, GOING IN OUR COMMUNITY AND TO PROTECT OUR HOSPITALS.

THAT'S THE GOAL.

SO, UM, YES, WE ARE DOING THOSE THINGS AND WE NEED OUR COMMUNITY TO HELP.

AND SO FIRST AND FOREMOST, TO BE SAFE AT THE EVENT AND TO FOLLOW ALL OF THE, UM, RECOMMENDATIONS AND, AND GUIDANCE THAT THE EVENT ORGANIZERS ASK THAT YOU SHOW UP WITH YOUR NEGATIVE TESTS THAT YOU SHOW UP WITH YOUR MASK.

SO IF YOU'RE ON THE TRANSPORTER, IF YOU'RE IN THE SHOP, OR IF YOU'RE IN QUEUE TO GET SOME GOODIES, YOU YOU'RE, YOU'RE KEEPING YOURSELF AND THE OTHER FESTIVAL GOERS SAFE, YOU HAVE YOUR DEBIT CARD, SO YOU CAN DO THOSE, UH, CONTACTLESS TRANSACTIONS.

AND THEN AFTER THE SHOW, THERE'S A CONTINUED RESPONSIBILITY BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT WE'RE GOING TO GO OUT AND ENJOY THE, UM, NIGHTLIFE THAT AUSTIN HAS TO OFFER.

AND WE ENCOURAGE OUR COMMUNITY WHEN YOU LEAVE THE CAR PARK AND YOU GO TO YOUR FAVORITE SPOT, THAT YOU CONTINUE TO MASK, THAT YOU CONTINUE TO CONTINUE TO WATCH, WATCH YOUR DISTANCE, AND THAT YOU CONTINUE TO PRACTICE GOOD HAND HYGIENE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS, AUSTIN, THERE'VE BEEN A LOT OF CONFLICTING MESSAGES ABOUT BOOSTER SHOTS AND WHO SHOULD GET THEM.

DO YOU THINK THIS WILL HURT BOOSTER, ACCEPTANCE? WE ARE WAITING FOR GUIDANCE.

AND WE HAVE, UH, PANELS OF EXPERTS, UM, AT THE CDC AND AT THE FDA AND AT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES.

AND ALL OF THOSE BODIES HAVE YET TO WEIGH IN AND GIVE US ALL GUIDANCE ON HOW TO PROCEED WITH BOOSTERS.

SO WHAT WE'RE HEARING RIGHT NOW IS DISCUSSION, UM, THE FINAL WORD ON WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING TO TAKE PLACE AND HOW WE'RE GOING TO PROCESS AND PROCEED IS YET TO COME.

AND WHEN THAT IS ESTABLISHED, WHEN WE GET THAT INSTRUCTION, WE ARE READY TO ROLL OUT THE BOOSTER PRO PROGRAM.

SO, UM, IN THE MEANTIME, WE DO HAVE DIRECTIONS FOR WHAT TO DO FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE IMMUNE

[00:25:01]

COMPROMISED, AND THOSE INDIVIDUALS ARE, UM, ELIGIBLE FOR A THIRD SHOT, DIFFERENT FROM A BOOSTER THIRD SHOT, AND THAT CAN BE GIVEN, UH, 28 DAYS AFTER THEIR LAST SHOT.

SO WE HAVE THAT PROGRAM IN PLACE.

WE ARE CONTINUING ON WITH THAT PROGRAM AS PER THE INSTRUCTIONS AND GUIDANCE THAT WE'VE RECEIVED.

AND WHEN WE GET THE INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO ABOUT THOSE JURORS, WE'RE READY.

AND JUST TO ADD IN, ONCE AGAIN, OUR MAJOR FOCUS REALLY HAS TO BE ON THOSE THAT ARE NOT VACCINATED, AND THOSE THAT ARE NOT FULLY VACCINATED, WE WILL CONTINUE TO WORK TO INCORPORATE BOOSTERS AND TO OUR ONGOING VACCINE OPERATIONS, BUT TO REALLY HELP THIS COMMUNITY, WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THOSE WHO HAVEN'T RECEIVED ANY PROTECTION GETS THAT INITIAL PROTECTION.

AND OUR LAST QUESTION IS FROM K O O P RADIO.

UT IS OPERATING AN OPEN CLINICAL TRIAL THAT TESTS FOR ANTIBODIES THREE TIMES OVER A SIX MONTH PERIOD RESULTS ALSO ESTABLISH IF ONE HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID IS APH CONSIDERING A SIMILAR COMMUNITY WIDE TESTING PROGRAM.

WE ARE POISED TO PROVIDE A RESPONSE TO COVID-19 AT APH.

AND OUR MISSION IS TO IDENTIFY THOSE WHO HAVE INFECTION BY TESTING, UM, BOTH IN TEST SITES THAT WE HAVE AROUND THE CITY AND MOBILE TESTING UNITS THAT CAN COME TO TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE HOME BOUND.

UM, AND ONCE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TESTED AND IDENTIFIED, UM, WE ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEE THE HELP OF A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL TO SEE IF THEY'RE ELIGIBLE FOR MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY INFUSION THERAPY FOR TREATMENT.

THIS THERAPY HAS BEEN SHOWN TO DECREASE HOSPITALIZATIONS FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN SEVERE, UH, RISK OF SEVERE DISEASE, HOSPITALIZATION, OR EVEN DEATH.

AND WE'VE DONE OVER 1800 INFUSIONS SINCE AUGUST OF THIS YEAR, AUGUST 16.

UM, WE ALSO REMAIN COMMITTED TO, UM, PROVIDING VACCINATIONS FOR THOSE WHO ARE, UM, PROTECTED FROM, FOR COVID-19 AND THE FIRST AND SECOND SHOTS FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT IMMUNE COMPROMISED AND THREE SHOTS FOR THOSE WHO ARE IMMUNE-COMPROMISED.

SO THOSE ARE OUR MAIN FOCUSES.

THEN WE ALSO HAVE PPE THAT WE'RE DISTRIBUTING AND WE HAVE FOOD DISTRIBUTIONS, AND WE HAVE NURSE CALL LINES THAT WILL HELP YOU NEGOTIATE WHAT IT IS THAT YOU NEED TO DO AND HOW YOU NEED TO PROTECT YOURSELF.

SO OUR JOB AND OUR MISSION IS TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY AND PROTECT ITSELF, PROTECT THE BUSINESSES AND PROTECT OUR ECONOMY.

UM, ALL OF WHICH ARE PART OF PROTECTING HEALTH.

UM, AND WE'RE DOING THAT THROUGH THE MISSION THAT WE HAVE, THE RESEARCH PROJECTS THAT ARE ONGOING ARE, ARE INFORMATIVE, BUT OUR MISSION IS TO RESPOND.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS.

SO WE WILL NOW MOVE INTO OUR CLOSING REMARKS AGAIN.

I JUST WANT TO THANK YOU AUSTIN, FOR ALL OF THE HARD WORK FOR STEPPING UP FOR PUTTING ON THE MASK TO PROTECT YOURSELVES, YOUR CHILDREN, YOUR LOVED ONES, THIS COMMUNITY, AND PARTICULARLY OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

WE NEED TO REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS.

OUR ICU'S ARE STILL SEEING A LOT OF STRESS.

WE STILL HAVE PEOPLE THAT ARE NON TRADITIONAL ICU PLACES IN OUR HOSPITALS REQUIRING ICU LEVEL CARE FROM SOMETIMES, UM, NOT, UM, ICU NURSES, BECAUSE WE STILL HAVE STAFFING ISSUES.

SO IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE CONTINUE TO BRING OUR NUMBERS DOWN.

IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE CONTINUE TO VACCINATE THOSE AROUND VACCINATED.

IT'S AN IMPORTANT THAT WE, THAT WE GET OUR KIDS WHO ARE 12 YEARS AND OLDER VACCINATED.

IT'S BETTER TO GIVE THEM THAT FREE SHOT AND PAY FOR COLLEGE THAN PAY FOR OUR HOSPITAL.

STAY HOSPITAL STAYS CAN BE VERY EXPENSIVE.

UM, WE WERE IN THE FALL SEASON, THE WEATHER'S BEAUTIFUL, AND WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO SO MANY

[00:30:01]

GREAT EVENTS.

AND WE'RE WORKING WITH EVENT ORGANIZERS TO PLAN THOSE EVENTS WITH THE LEAST AMOUNT OF RISK OF SPREAD OF DISEASE.

WE WANT TO PROTECT AGAINST COVID-19 AND LOOKING FORWARD, WE WANT TO PROTECT AGAINST THE FLU, UH, AS WE'RE STARTING TO SEE A FEW CASES IN OUR COMMUNITY, UM, WE CAN DO THIS.

WE HAVE SHOWN THEM.

LET'S CONTINUE.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS, AS THE MOTHER OF A 15 YEAR OLD, THAT JUST ENTERED THEIR FRESHMAN YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL.

THAT POINT YOU MADE ABOUT A FREE SHOT VERSUS, UM, HOSPITAL BILLS, OR BEING ABLE TO HAVE THOSE RESOURCES TO PAY FOR COLLEGE TUITION.

IT SEEMS LIKE AN EASY CHOICE.

UM, AND SO YOU'RE, YOU'RE SPOT ON, RIGHT? IT'S, IT'S A MATTER OF EVALUATING YOUR PERSONAL RISK, UM, EVALUATING WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU AND EVALUATING HOW YOU WANT TO SPEND YOUR TIME AND MONEY.

I KNOW FOR ME, I'D RATHER GO TO A VACCINE APPOINTMENT AND SHOP AMAZON FOR ALL THE PURPLE MASK.

MY SON WANTS RATHER THAN, UM, STRUGGLED TO NOT BE ABLE TO VISIT HIM IN AN ICU OR TO HAVE TO PREPARE FOR HIS FINAL EXPENSES.

AND SO FOR ME, THE CHOICE IS CLEAR.

UM, I ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO TAKE THAT INWARD, LOOK ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.

AND IF YOU HAVE DOUBT THE NUMBERS, SHOW THE MEASURES THAT WE HAVE TAKEN IT AS A COMMUNITY TO RAISE OUR VACCINATION RATE RATES, TO CONTINUE TO MASK, TO CONTINUE TO SOCIAL DISTANCE AND WASH OUR HANDS ARE HAVING AN IMPACT.

AND SO I ENCOURAGE YOU TO STAY THE COURSE AND TO CONTINUE TO DO THE THINGS THAT WE KNOW WORK.

AND WITH THAT, I THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND I'LL PASS IT OVER TO CASSIE.

THANK YOU, ADRIAN AND DR.

WACHS.

UM, THIS WAS A VERY EXCITING DAY TO BE ABLE TO BRING THIS GOOD NEWS OF ALL THE CHANGES THAT HAVE BEEN MADE AND OUR COMMUNITIES SHOULD BE CELEBRATING TO SOME EXTENT ABOUT THE CHANGES AND THE, AND ALL THE GOOD WORK OF HOW WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO BAND TOGETHER AND GET VACCINATED, PROTECT EACH OTHER, WEAR MASKS, UM, AND MAKE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS SAFE FOR EVERYONE.

AND WE HAD ALSO PUBLIC HEALTH ARE COMMITTED TO CONTINUING TO HELP AND SUPPORT EVERYONE THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY IN EVERY WAY THAT WE CAN.

UM, IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN VACCINATED, WE'RE HERE FOR YOU.

IF YOU NEED PPE PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, WE'RE HERE FOR YOU.

IF YOU NEED ANY KIND OF SUPPORT A TEST, ANYTHING WE ARE HERE TO GIVE YOU THAT SUPPORT, JUST CALL 3, 1, 1, AND WE CAN HELP YOU NAVIGATE TO ANY ONE OF THOSE SERVICES.

SO, UM, JUST CONTINUE TO DO THE GREAT WORK THAT YOU'RE DOING TO HAVE A SAFE AND HEALTHY COMMUNITY AND HAVE A SAFE AND HEALTHY WEEKEND.

THANK YOU.

THAT CONCLUDES OUR MEDIA AVAILABILITY FOR TODAY.

THANK YOU TO DR.

DESMO WALKS OUR INTERIM APH DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP AND CASSANDRA DAILYOM APH CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION AND TO OUR POOL REPORTER AETHER OSBORNE FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

HAVE A SAFE WEEKEND.



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