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[COVID-19: Press Q & A]

[00:00:04]

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.

DESMO WALKS AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY WILL FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY JANET PICHET AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST.

THEN CASSANDRA DAILYOM 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.

WE COME TO YOU ON THIS REALLY GREAT DAY FOR, UM, THE FABULOUS, FABULOUS WEATHER HERE IN AUSTIN.

UM, OUR NUMBERS ARE GOING DOWN.

WE HAVE A SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE FOR HOSPITALIZATIONS OF 16 AND A POSITIVITY RATE OF 5.4.

AND WE'RE EXCITED THAT THESE NUMBERS ARE CONTINUING TO GO DOWN.

UM, WE ARE EVEN MORE EXCITED WITH THE NEWS FROM THE CDC AND HOT OFF THE PRESS GUIDANCE FROM DSHS SO THAT WE CAN START DOING BOOSTER VACCINATIONS IN OUR CLINICS HERE IN TRAVIS COUNTY AND CONTINUE TO VACCINATE OUR COMMUNITY.

UM, WE'VE REALLY HAD SUCH GREAT SUCCESS AS A COMMUNITY BY DOING THIS THINGS THAT WE KNOW WE'RE WEARING MASKS, SOCIAL DISTANCING, UH, STAYING HOME ON SET, GETTING TESTED AND GETTING VACCINATED.

AND WE REALLY NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO THOSE THINGS IN THE COMING WEEKS, AS WE ANTICIPATE OUR HOLIDAY SEASON AND TO CONTINUE TO GET READY FOR VACCINATING OUR CHILDREN AGES FIVE TO 11 THAT'S ON THE HORIZON.

SO ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE, CAN MAKE US FEEL OPTIMISTIC AND WE REALLY WANT TO, UM, CONGRATULATE, UH, THE COMMUNITY FOR EVERYTHING THAT IT'S DONE TO HELP THE TEAM HERE AT APH AND ALL OF THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS, UM, DELIVER THE SERVICES THAT WE NEEDED TO DO, GET OUR PEOPLE WHO WERE SICK WITH COVID-19, UM, WELL, AND GET THOSE PEOPLE VACCINATED THAT NEEDED VACCINATIONS, AND WE NEEDED NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO THOSE THINGS AS WE GO FORWARD FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON.

UM, WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING TO OUR NEIGHBORS IN THE EUROPEAN NATIONS.

UM, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CAN HAVE OUR HOLIDAY SEASON WITH OUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS IN A SAFE WAY.

IF THERE'S NOT ENOUGH SPACE, COVER YOUR FACE.

UH, WE REALLY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE GET VACCINATED WHILE WHY CONTINUE TO WEAR A MASK AND INDOOR SPACES AND ALL IN ALL, WE JUST LOOK FORWARD TO A CONTINUATION OF THE GOOD TREND DOWNWARD OF COVID CASES.

UM, AND WE HOPE THAT YOU'LL CONTINUE TO DO ALL THAT IT TAKES TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.

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

THANKS DR.

WACHS.

UH, GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

AS DR.

WATSON MENTIONED, WE ARE SEEING CASES CONTINUE TO BE CLIMBING IN THE AUSTIN AREA, AND THAT'S A VERY GOOD SIGN, BUT JUST TO GIVE US A MOMENT TO REFLECT, UM, OVER THE LAST TWO MONTHS, UH, SEVEN, UH, TWO MONTHS AGO, UH, OUR SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF NEW CASES WAS 468 WITH THAT SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE FOR HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS BEING 77.

TODAY, WE ARE SEEING NUMBERS.

WE HAD OUR SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE NUMBER FOR, UH, NEW CASES IS 124 WITH OUR SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE FOR HOSPITALIZATIONS B NEW ADMISSIONS BEING 16.

SO THAT'S A HUGE, HUGE IMPROVEMENT.

BOTH OF THOSE NUMBERS REPRESENT A 70, 70% DECLINE IN THE NUMBER OF CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS THAT WE'RE SEEING.

UM, AND SO, UH, IT'S A VERY GOOD INDICATION THAT THE TREND, UH, IN THE COMMUNITY IS THAT MEMBERS ARE DECLINING.

UM, JUST TO ALSO GIVE YOU SOME PERSPECTIVE ON WHERE WE ARE ON DEATHS.

WE HAVE REPORTED A TOTAL OF 1000 148, 8 DEATHS IN AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY.

UH, IF WE LOOK BACK WHEN THIS OUTBREAK STARTED IN THE FIRST 30 REPORTED DEATHS TO AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY, THE AVERAGE AGE OF DEATH WAS 75 YEARS OF AGE WITH ONLY 10% OF THOSE BEING PEOPLE THAT ARE 50 YEARS YOUNGER.

UM, MORE RECENTLY, IF WE LOOK AT OUR MOST RECENT 30 DEATHS REPORTED, THE AVERAGE AGE OF DEATH IS 58 YEARS OF AGE, WHICH IS HUGE, HUGE

[00:05:01]

DIFFERENCE.

AND THE, THE, UH, THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT WERE UNDER THE AGE OF 50 WERE, YOU KNOW, IS, UH, 40% IN THE MOST RECENT DEATHS WITH MANY OF THOSE THREE BEING LESS THAN 30 YEARS OF AGE.

SO I THINK WHAT THIS SHOWS IS THIS IS A GOOD INDICATOR THAT VACCINES ARE WORKING ON IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND WE KNOW THAT VACCINATIONS IN OLDER, OUR, OUR OLDER POPULATION IS FULLY VACCINATED OR SEAMLESS THAT DECLINE IN DEATH IN THAT POPULATION.

BUT WE'RE ALSO SEEING THAT UNLESS YOU'RE VACCINATED, YOU KNOW, THE POSSIBILITY THAT YOU THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY YOU COULD SUCCUMB TO ILLNESS AND DIE AT A VERY EARLY AGE.

SO WE CONTINUE TO MONITOR OUR TRENDS BOTH LOCALLY, NATIONALLY, AND INTERNATIONALLY.

AND AS DR.

WACHS MENTIONED, WE'RE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE UK CURRENTLY BECAUSE, UH, WELL, THEY SAW, UH, MARK, UH, DECLINE IN DECREASE IN CASES FROM EARLY SEPTEMBER.

THEY'RE NOW SEEING THE REVERSE HAPPENING, AND THAT IS AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF CASES, UH, IN AN, IN A VERY RAPID RISE CURRENTLY.

SO, UH, WE'RE WATCHING AND MONITORING WHAT'S HAPPENING THERE.

I HAVE SOMEONE SNEEZING.

UM, WE HAVE, WE'RE WATCHING WHAT'S HAPPENING THERE AND MAKING SURE THAT, UM, UH, UH, WE, WE CAN LEARN FROM WHAT'S HAPPENING AS WELL.

UH, BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT AS WE SEE MORE INTERNATIONAL EVENTS AND AS WE BEGIN TO OPEN OUR COMMUNITIES UP AND SOCIAL GATHERINGS OCCUR, THAT WE SEE, UH, THAT DISEASES, UH, UH, DISEASES THERE'S GLOBALIZATION OF DISEASE AND DISEASE IS JUST AN AIRPLANE AIRPLANE RIGHT AWAY.

SO, UM, WE WANT TO MONITOR THAT.

SO WE KEEP OUR COMMUNITY SAFE.

AND WITH THAT, I'LL TURN IT OVER TO CASSIE DELI ON, THANK YOU, JANET.

UM, AND IT'S, IT IS GREAT TO BE HERE, UH, THIS MORNING, UM, AS DR.

WATSON, JANET BOTH TALKED ABOUT, WE ARE IN AN EVOLVING PHASE OF THE RESPONSE.

UM, WE'RE NOW IN STAGE TWO, WE ARE WATCHING THOSE NUMBERS AND WE'RE EXCITED TO SEE THAT DECLINE.

UM, WE'RE ALSO AN EVOLVING PHASE REGARDING VACCINE.

WE'RE SEEING NEW AND EMERGING, UM, UH, CLINICAL GUIDANCE COMING OUT REGARDING, UH, BOOSTERS FOR JOHNSON AND JOHNSON AND FOR MADRONA VACCINE.

UH, WE ARE WORKING AS DR.

WATSON MENTIONED TO UPDATE OUR CLINICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES AND ENSURE THAT WE'RE ABLE TO ACCOMMODATE OUR COMMUNITY AS THEY COME IN AND SEEK THAT VACCINE AS WELL AS WE'RE PREPARING FOR THE PEDIATRIC VACCINE, UM, AND ANTICIPATION OF A NEWLY ELIGIBLE POPULATION WITHIN OUR COMMUNITY THAT WE CAN PROVIDE THAT PROTECTION TOO.

SO THERE'S A LOT OF EXCITING NEWS THERE, CONSIDERING THAT WE ARE LOOKING TO INVITE THE COMMUNITY TO REFLECT ON THE RESPONSE SO FAR, UH, SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES REGARDING VACCINE AND PROVIDE US WITH INSIGHTS, UH, THAT WILL REALLY SHAPE HOW WE MANAGE THE ONGOING RESPONSE IN PARTICULARLY HOW WE WORK THROUGH MAKING SURE THAT VACCINE AND EFFORTS THAT WE PROVIDE, MEET THE COMMUNITY WHERE THEY'RE AT AND REALLY SUPPORTS EVERYONE'S NEEDS.

OUR GOAL IS THAT EVERYONE HAS ACCESS TO VACCINES, AND WE NEED THE COMMUNITY'S VOICE TO ENSURE THAT THAT HAPPENS.

SO WE WANT TO INVITE FOLKS NEXT WEEK, WE WILL HAVE TO A VIRTUAL TOWN, HOLLY DENTS ON MONDAY, UH, FROM SIX 30 TO EIGHT, AND ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 30TH, FROM 10 TO 1130.

SO WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE EVERYONE, UH, TO TAKE PART IN THAT, THAT OPPORTUNITY, BUT ALSO WE'LL BE LAUNCHING A SURVEY IF YOU'RE NOT ABLE TO PARTICIPATE, WE'LL BE LAUNCHING A COMMUNITY WIDE SURVEY AS WELL.

CAUSE WE REALLY DO NEED TO HEAR YOUR FEEDBACK.

WE REALLY WANT TO HEAR FROM THE COMMUNITY TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN BEST, UM, ADJUST OPERATIONS AND MAKE SURE THAT WE MEET YOUR NEEDS.

AND ADDITIONALLY, NOW WE KNOW THAT, UM, VACCINE IS REALLY A GOOD SOLUTION TO FIGHTING.

COVID, IT'S ALSO A GREAT SOLUTION FOR FIGHTING THE FLU.

SO WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO THINK ABOUT THIS IS A GOOD TIME TO, IF YOU'RE NOT FULLY VACCINATED OR YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN THE COVID VACCINE, IT'S A GOOD TIME TO GET VACCINATED, BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH WE'RE NOT IN A CERTAIN SITUATION, YOU'RE STILL VULNERABLE, UH, FROM GETTING THIS, UM, THIS TERRIBLE DISEASE, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE NO ONE HAS TO SUFFER FROM THIS AGAIN.

SO GET YOUR VACCINE, UM, GET YOUR FLU SHOT SO THAT WE CAN CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS, UM, FULLY VACCINATED AND RELAXED.

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

THANK YOU, CASSIE.

WE WILL NOW TURN IT OVER TO OUR POOL REPORTER, OLIVIA ALDRIDGE FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT.

YEAH, GOOD MORNING.

UM, FIRST QUESTION IS FROM US AT COMMUNITY IMPACT WITH CHILDREN AGE FIVE TO 11, EXPECTED TO HAVE

[00:10:01]

ACCESS TO THE PFIZER VACCINES SOON HAS AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH WORKED WITH OTHER LOCAL PROVIDERS TO ENSURE THAT THEY HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY AND CAPABILITY TO ADMINISTER THAT PARTICULAR DOSE, UM, MANY DOCTOR'S OFFICES, FOR INSTANCE, UM, HAVE NOT OFFERED PFIZER IN THE PAST DUE TO ITS UNIQUE STORAGE AND PREPARATION.

YES, WE ARE, UH, IN PLANNING AND COLLABORATION WITH ALL OF OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS AND TALKING TO THEM ABOUT THE NEW PREPARATION FOR THE FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLD AGE GROUP, UM, THAT ALLOWS FOR STORAGE IN A REFRIGERATOR FOR UP TO 10 WEEKS.

AND WE ARE POISED AT APH TO OFFER TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.

AND, AND WITH THAT, I'LL PASS IT ON TO CASSIE TO GET YOU THOSE DETAILS.

THANK YOU, DOCTOR WALKS.

AND, UH, WE ARE DEFINITELY A SUPPORT FOR THE LARGER PROVIDER COMMUNITY.

UM, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH PROVIDES TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE REGARDING STORAGE AND HANDLING OF VACCINE.

UH, WE'VE BEEN TALKING WITH OUR VACCINE FOR CHILDREN PROVIDERS AND THE LARGER, UH, PEDIATRIC PROVIDER NETWORK TO ANTICIPATE WHAT ARE THEIR CONCERNS, UM, AND TO HELP THEM PLUG INTO THIS INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPAND VACCINE ACCESS ACROSS OUR COMMUNITY.

UM, IF A PROVIDER IS CURRENTLY NOT A REGISTERED PROVIDER FOR COVID, WE ENCOURAGE THEM TO REACH OUT TO DSHS AND GET FULLY REGISTERED SO THAT THEY CAN BE A COVID-19 VACCINE PROVIDER.

UM, AND WE CAN ALSO THEN PROVIDE THEM ADDITIONAL SUPPORT BECAUSE IF THEY'RE LOOKING TO HAVE SMALLER DOSES OF VACCINE, WE CAN ASSIST THEM IN PROVIDING THEM, UH, ACCESS TO THAT AS WELL.

SO WE'VE GOT A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS OF PROVIDING SUPPORT TO PROVIDERS THAT, UH, WE'RE WORKING THROUGH.

AND IN ADDITION TO THAT, UM, WHERE WE KNOW THAT SOME OF THIS JUST ISN'T APPROPRIATE FOR THE CLINIC SETTING, UM, WE'RE THERE TO BE A SPACE FOR THEM TO REFER THEIR PATIENTS TO US AND TO PROVIDE THEM OTHER OUTLETS TO REFER PATIENTS, BECAUSE WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY'RE ABLE TO SUPPORT THEIR PATIENTS' NEEDS IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE.

AND SO AT THIS POINT IN TIME, WE JUST ENCOURAGE THE PROVIDER COMMUNITY TO COME TOGETHER.

UH, WE CAN REALLY STAND UP AND PROTECT THESE FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLD CHILDREN AND FURTHER PROTECT ALL OF OUR COMMUNITY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS, AUSTIN DOES APPROVAL OF THE MADONNA BOOSTER HAVE APH EXPECTING A SURGEON VACCINATION DEMAND SINCE MANY IN AUSTIN RECEIVED THE MAJORITY OF VACCINE, ESPECIALLY FROM APH.

UM, AND I WOULD GO AHEAD AND ADD JOHNSON AND JOHNSON TO THAT AS WELL.

WE ARE EXPECTING THAT THOSE WHO PERCEIVED THE MODERN OR THIS VACCINE WILL BE LOOKING FOR BOOSTER DOSES.

UM, HOWEVER, IT'S A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT NOW.

UM, WHEN WE FIRST STARTED VACCINE DEPLOYMENT IN OUR COMMUNITY, WE WERE A HUB AND NOW WE HAVE NUMEROUS VACCINE PROVIDERS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

SO WE ANTICIPATE THAT THERE WILL BE, UM, INCREASED NUMBERS, BUT THE WEALTH WILL BE SPREAD ACROSS THE COMMUNITY SINCE WE HAD OTHER PROVIDERS.

BUT I'LL LET CASSIE ADD ON TO THAT AS WELL.

THANK YOU.

DR.

WALKS AND DR.

WALKS IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT WHEN, UM, WE INITIALLY LAUNCHED, UM, THE JOURNAL ROLLOUT AND, UH, JANUARY OF 2021, UH, THERE WAS ONLY ONE LOCATION, ONLY ONE PROVIDER.

UH, THERE ARE SO MANY MORE PROVIDERS AVAILABLE IN THE COMMUNITY, HAS A LOT OF CHOICES AND THAT'S EXCITING BECAUSE WE REALLY WANT FOLKS TO BE ABLE TO GET THEIR VACCINE IN THE SPACE.

THAT'S CLOSE TO THEIR HOME.

UH, THAT'S COMFORTABLE TO THEM, UM, AND THAT THEY CAN, UH, YOU KNOW, UH, GET, GET A TIME THAT WORKS FOR THEM.

BUT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH WILL ALSO BE PROVIDING THAT, UH, MADONNA BOOSTER VACCINE.

UM, AND SO IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH POSSIBILITY, KELSEY, CAN YOU ALSO HAVE WALKUP LOCATIONS? SO, UM, WE ANTICIPATE THAT IN THE COMING DAYS, WE'LL, WE'LL HAVE THAT OPERATION READY FOR EVERYONE TO, UH, GET IT FROM AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, BUT YOU, YOU HAVE MANY, MANY CHOICES.

SO WE'RE EXCITED THAT THIS IS AVAILABLE.

AND WE ALSO WANT TO REALLY STRESS IF YOU ARE IN THE CATEGORIES THAT CDC IS RECOMMENDING TO GET THE BOOSTER VACCINE, IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT THE TIMELINE AND MAKE SURE YOU'RE FOLLOWING THAT BECAUSE WE NEED YOU TO HAVE FULL PROTECTION.

THIS IS A BIG, IMPORTANT TOOL TO HELP US MITIGATE OUR NEXT SURGE.

SO EVERYONE NEEDS TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY GET THAT FULL PROTECTION.

IF YOU ARE IN THAT CATEGORY, THAT NEEDS TO GET VACCINATED FOR THAT BOOSTER.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COOPERATIVE LEO, AND THE FIRST YEAR OF THE PANDEMIC, WE SAW BRAZIL OVERRUN WITH INFECTIONS, AND THEN RE-INFECTION AS A MUTATION CAME BACK TO RAVAGE THE SAME CITY DOES APH COUNT, REPEAT CASES OF COVID AND IF SO, WHAT ARE THEY, IF NOT, WHY NOT? COULD YOU REPEAT THAT

[00:15:01]

LAST PART OF THE QUESTION? UM, DOES APH COUNT, REPEAT CASES OF COVID AND IF SO, I THINK HE'S ASKING HOW, HOW MANY HAVE THERE BEEN, UM, AND DON'T COUNT THEM? WHY NOT? YEAH.

SO, UM, I CAN ANSWER, I CAN TAKE THAT QUESTION.

SO, UH, YES, WE ARE CURRENTLY TRACKING RE-INFECT REINFECTION, UH, OR COVID 19, UH, IN THE AUSTIN TRAVIS COUNTY COMMUNITY.

UH, AND WE'RE ALSO TRACKING BREAKTHROUGH CASES THAT, UH, WE RECEIVE INFORMATION ON, UM, YOU KNOW, BASED ON THE NEW UPDATED POOR ME, WON'T BE RELEASED TODAY, BUT BASED ON LAST WEEK'S LAST WEEK'S, UH, REPORTS, WE HAD ABOUT 789 INFECTIONS REPORTED TO THE AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

AND WE ARE FOLLOWING UP ON THAT.

WE FOLLOWED UP ON THOSE AND THEN, UM, UH, YOU KNOW, WE'VE HAD ROUGHLY 8 8300 BREAKS THROUGH CASES THAT WE'VE CURRENTLY IDENTIFIED.

OKAY.

HERE'S A QUESTION FROM UNIVISION FLU SEASON IS WELL UNDERWAY.

HAVE WE SEEN AN INCREASE OF CHILDREN BEING HOSPITALIZED, ESPECIALLY WITH SCHOOLS BEING OPENED, HOSPITALIZED FROM FLU, FROM FLU, UH, CURRENTLY, NO, WE HAVEN'T TH THAT I'M AWARE OF, UH, WE HAVEN'T SEEN ANY HOSPITALIZATIONS RELATED TO FLU AND CHILDREN.

UH, WE HAVE, AGAIN, THIS IS ANOTHER, UH, DISEASE THAT WE DO A SURVEILLANCE ON.

UH, YOU KNOW, OUR INFORMATION IS ROLLED UP AT A REGIONAL LEVEL, ONE UP TO THE STATE LEVEL AND THEN ONTO THE NATIONAL LEVEL, BUT WE'VE PREPARED OUR FIRST, UH, INFLUENCER REPORT LAST WEEK FOR WEEK 40, UM, WHICH IS THE FIRST WEEK OF THE FLU SEASON.

AND, UM, THAT THE FLU WE HAVE SEEN FLU IN OUR COMMUNITY, THE NUMBERS HAVE BEEN, UM, RELATIVELY LOW CURRENTLY WITH THE PREDOMINANT STRAIN CIRCULATING INFLUENZA B.

SO, UM, YOU KNOW, THESE ARE THINGS THAT WE MONITOR ON A ROUTINE BASIS AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO DO THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

UH, BUT TO MY KNOWLEDGE, WE HAVEN'T SEEN ANY HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE RELATED TO FLU TODAY.

AND I'D JUST LIKE TO ADD ON THAT WITH HAAS HOLIDAYS COMING, THAT WE REALLY NEED TO ENCOURAGE THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE NOT VACCINATED FOR THE FLU TO GO AHEAD AND GET BACKDATED FOR THE FLU AND IF, AND VACCINATING FOR COVER, GET THAT COVID VACCINE AS WELL.

AND I JUST WANT TO PUT A PLUGIN THAT THIS SATURDAY AT TRAVIS HIGH SCHOOL ALSO PUBLIC HEALTH IS HOSTING BUDDHA FLU A AND COVID TWO.

SO WE ARE HAVING A MASSIVE, UH, FLU EVENT THAT'S AVAILABLE FOR ALL OF OUR, UM, OUR COMMUNITY.

UM, AND WE WANNA ENCOURAGE EVERYONE, IF YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN A FLU SHOT, THAT'S ONE OUTLET YOU CAN GO TO, AND IF YOU NEED YOUR COVID SHOT, UM, WE'LL HAVE COVID VACCINE AVAILABLE THERE AS WELL.

UM, SO, AND, AND AGAIN, FLU IS AVAILABLE FOR ANYONE SIX MONTHS AND OLDER IS RECOMMENDED.

SO ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO GET YOUR FLU SHOT SO THAT YOU'RE PROTECTED FROM THAT, UM, NASTY BUG AS WELL.

UM, FROM KX A N DOES THE RECENT FDA APPROVAL AND WIDESPREAD AVAILABILITY OF BOOSTER SHOTS PLAY A ROLE IN HOW SOON WE COULD BE IN STAGE TWO, WE LOOK AT A NUMBER OF FACTORS WHEN WE MAKE THE DECISION TO MOVE INTO STAGE TWO.

WE'RE CURRENTLY IN STAGE THREE.

UM, UH, THE NAME INDICATOR FOR THE CHANGE IS OUR SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS, BUT WE ALSO LOOK AT VACCINATION RATES AND WE LOOK AT, UH, STAFFING ISSUES.

AND SO IT'S A LOT OF, UM, CONSIDERATION OF ALL THOSE ASPECTS OF THE IMPACT OF THIS PANDEMIC ON OUR, UM, HEALTHCARE AND, UH, OUR ABILITY TO TAKE CARE OF THE COMMUNITY WITH THE NEW ELIGIBLE POPULATIONS, UM, UM, AGE FIVE TO 11 COMING UP SOON, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT OUR HERD IMMUNITY NUMBERS WITH EVERY PERSON THAT WE VACCINATE, WE IMPROVE OUR HERD IMMUNITY.

AND SO IF WE ARE ABLE TO CONTINUE, UM, WITH A ROBUST RESPONSE IN OUR COMMUNITY WITH PEOPLE BRINGING THEIR KIDS TO BE VACCINATED, WE'LL BE ABLE TO IMPROVE OUR HERD IMMUNITY AND PROTECT THE COMMUNITY FROM THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.

AND THAT IS GOING TO BE VERY IMPORTANT AS WE LOOK ACROSS THE SEA TO EUROPE, UM, AND SAY THAT THEY'RE NOW EXPERIENCING A SURGE.

WE NEED TO CONTINUE MASKING INDOORS, UM, TRYING TO

[00:20:01]

HAVE ACTIVITIES OUTDOORS WHEN POSSIBLE.

WEATHER'S BEAUTIFUL.

NOW'S THE TIME, UM, WASHINGTON STAY HOME SICK AND, AND GET TESTED SO THAT WE CAN CONTINUE TO KEEP OUR NUMBERS DOWN.

UM, AS JANET SAID, UM, YOU KNOW, COVID, UH, CHANGE IN COVID NUMBERS AND SPREAD, UM, AS IMPACTED BY INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL.

SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE DO ALL THAT WE CAN TO VACCINATE THOSE WHO ARE I'M VACCINATED AND PROTECT THOSE WHO ARE ON DUCKS, NATIVE FROM, UM, SEVERE DISEASE ILLNESS, UM, AND, AND HOSPITALIZATIONS AND DEATHS, UM, BY MASKING, WHEN WE'RE AROUND HIM, PARTICULARLY IF YOU HAVE SOMEONE AT HOME WHO'S IMMUNOCOMPROMISED OR I'M VACCINATED.

OKAY.

HERE'S ANOTHER QUESTION FROM COOPERATIVE.

SINGAPORE IS A RARE ENTITY WITH VERY HIGH VACCINATIONS, UM, GREATER THAN 84%, VERY, VERY STRICT AND ENFORCED PROTOCOLS.

AND YET THEY SAW 30% OF DEATHS OVER THE LAST MONTH IN THE F BEING AMONG THE FULLY VACCINATED WHO ARE OVER THE AGE OF 60 WHAT'S THE LESSON HERE FOR APH AND OUR COMMUNITY.

SO WHAT THE, THE LESSON IS THAT WE NEED TO PROTECT OUR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS WITH BOOSTER VACCINATIONS, UM, WITH PROTECTING THEM BY MASKING WHEN WE'RE AROUND THEM.

UM, SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE ANY ASYMPTOMATIC OR SYMPTOMATIC SPREAD OF COVID-19 TO THE POPULATION AND IN, AND THROUGH THAT THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY.

AND WE ALSO NEED TO REMEMBER IT'S A SMALL WORLD, AND, UM, IF IT CAN HAPPEN THERE, IT COULD HAPPEN HERE.

UM, IT'S A PLANE RIDE AWAY.

SO WE, WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT WE KNOW WORKS MASKING, DISTANCING, WASHING HANDS, STAYING HOME WHEN SICK, UM, TESTING AND GETTING VACCINATED.

AND I'LL, AND I'LL JUST ADD ONTO THAT.

SO I THINK WHAT IT SHOWS IS THAT WE NEED TO BE EVER PRESENT AND VIGILANT IN WHAT OUR RESPONSES ARE AND WAYS WE PROTECT OURSELVES.

UM, LIKE DR.

WACHS SAID, MASKING, IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE DOING INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL, IF YOU PLAN ON TRAVELING TO VISIT YOUR FAMILY, NOW IT'S NOT THE TIME TO THROW THOSE, UH, PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES OUT THE WINDOW.

WE NEED TO BE VIGILANT AND MAKING SURE THAT WE'RE PROTECTING ALL OF THEM, ALL THOSE LOVED ONES THAT WE LOVE, UM, SO THAT WE CAN ENJOY OUR TIME TOGETHER.

AND THAT IS, UH, YOU KNOW, MASKING MAKING SURE YOU'RE VACCINATED, ESPECIALLY, UH, BEING MINDFUL ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE AROUND YOU AND KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE, UH, THOSE, THOSE, YOU KNOW, IT COULD BE, IT COULD VERY WELL BE THAT IN SEEING WHERE THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT VARIANT CIRCULATING, I DON'T KNOW, BUT WE DO AGAIN, TRY TO MONITOR THAT ACTIVITY THAT IS OCCURRING IN OTHER AREAS OF THE WORLD TO MAKE SURE JUST LIKE WE DID AT THE BEGINNING OF COVID, WE WERE MONITORING WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN CHINA AND TRYING TO MAKE SURE WE WERE PREPARED AND ON THE READY.

AND, UH, HERE WE ARE TWO YEARS LATER AND, UH, WE'RE STILL FIGHTING THIS BATTLE.

AND SO NOW'S NOT THE TIME TO GIVE UP, BUT WE NEED TO BE EVER-PRESENT AND VIGILANT IN OUR RESPONSE, UH, TO THIS DISEASE.

THIS IS OUR LAST QUESTION.

AND IT'S FROM KX A N AT THIS POINT IN THE PANDEMIC, HOW MUCH MORE DANGEROUS AND DEADLY IS COVID-19 COMPARED TO FLU.

ARE YOU WORRIED THAT THE FLU BAD MESSAGE WILL REINFORCE PEOPLE'S IDEA THAT COVID IS JUST LIKE GETTING THE FLU COVID AS MUCH MORE SERIOUS THAN THE FLU? LET ME BE CLEAR.

COVID HAS CREATED, UM, A LOT OF ORPHAN CHILDREN.

UM, THERE ARE OVER 150,000 CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN REPORTED AS HAVING LOST A PARENT OR A CAREGIVER, UH, AS A RESULT OF THIS PANDEMIC, UM, THE FLU AND COVID TOGETHER, UH, BOTH INFECTIONS AT THE SAME TIME.

AND IN ONE PERSON IS WHAT WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT.

BECAUSE LAST YEAR WE WERE MASKING AND THIS YEAR THERE'S BEEN A RELAXATION OF THE USE OF MASS.

AND THAT HAS BEEN OUR BIGGEST DEFENSE AGAINST THE SPREAD OF COVID WITH THE ADVENT OR THE, THE ONS, THE BEGINNINGS OF VACCINATIONS AND THE SPREAD OF VACCINATION IN OUR COMMUNITY.

WE LOOK TO THAT AS BEING A PROTECTIVE MEASURE, THAT'S GOING TO MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE IN THE HOLIDAY SEASON,

[00:25:01]

BUT WE DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO GET EITHER COVID OR THE FLU.

AND WE CERTAINLY DON'T WANT THEM TO GET BOTH THINGS, BECAUSE WE ANTICIPATE THAT THEY BOTH HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO CAUSE SEVERE ILLNESS.

COVID MORE SO THAN THE FLOW.

SO WE'RE NOT TRYING TO SAY THAT THE FLU IS THE SAME AS COVID, WE'RE TRYING TO SAY, PLEASE PROTECT YOURSELVES AND TRY AND MAKE YOURSELVES, UM, AS, AS AT THE LEAST AMOUNT OF PUT YOURSELF IN THE LEAST LOWEST POSITION OF RISK, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT, THE RISK THAT'S ASSOCIATED WITH BEING VACCINATED FOR THE FLU.

AND COVID, AND I'LL ADD JUST TO GIVE PEOPLE A KIND OF START STATISTIC ABOUT COVID LIKELY IN 2020, WHEN WE GET OUR DEATH AND OUR MORTALITY DATA FROM THE STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT, TRAVIS COUNTY, THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH, THE THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN TRAVIS COUNTY WILL LIKELY BE RESULT OF THE RESULT OF COVID-19.

AND SO TO ME, UH, YOU KNOW, IT'S OVERCOMING UNINTENTIONAL INJURIES.

THAT'S, THAT'S A HUGE, UH, UH, STATISTIC TO BE REMINDED OF AND THE IMPACT.

I MEAN, AND, AND THERE ARE SITUATIONS HERE WHERE, UH, YOU KNOW, IT MAY BE JUST A STATISTIC OR A NUMBER TO YOU, BUT I GUARANTEE YOU TO SOME PEOPLE, THIS IS NOT JUST A NUMBER.

THIS IS SOMEBODY'S FAMILY MEMBER WHO'S PASSED AWAY.

I HAD, I KNOW NUMEROUS PEOPLE WHO'VE EITHER SUCCUMB TO THIS ILLNESS IN SOME FORM OR FASHION, SOME PRIOR TO WHEN VACCINE WAS AVAILABLE, SOME AFTER VACCINE HAS BEEN AVAILABLE.

AND, AND IT'S SAD AND SAD WHEN I HEAR THESE STORIES, UH, ON A, ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS.

IT'S, IT'S, UM, IT'S MENTALLY ANGUISHING FOR ME, LET ALONE FOR THOSE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO AREN'T TOUCHED BY IT.

SO, UH, YOU KNOW, UM, YEAH, IT'S STEADILY PLUSED, DEADLY.

UH, THESE THINGS ARE, ARE BAD.

AND, AND, AND THE, THE VERY SAD THING ABOUT IT IS THESE ARE PREVENTABLE ILLNESSES THAT CAN BE PREVENTED THROUGH USING THESE PRECAUTION MARY PUBLIC HEALTH MEASURES THAT HAVE ALWAYS WORKED THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF TIME.

BUT ALSO WE HAVE VACCINE AVAILABLE AND TOOLS IN OUR POCKET THAT CAN MAKE THIS US, MAKE OUR COMMUNITY SAFE, AND WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO, TO BE VIGILANT AND IN GIVING, IN, PUTTING IN PLACE THOSE PREVENTION MEASURES.

THANK YOU, JANET, THAT ENDS OUR QUESTION PORTION.

WE WILL NOW MOVE INTO OUR CLOSING REMARKS, DR.

WACHS, WHERE IN STAGE THREE, OUR CASE NUMBERS ARE LOW WE'RE ANTICIPATING HOLIDAY REVELRY AND HALLOWEEN, UM, GOBLINS AND TRICK-OR-TREATERS.

AND WE WANT TO KEEP THIS COMMUNITY ON THE RIGHT TRACK TO ENJOY THOSE THINGS.

WE HAVE TO CONTINUE GETTING VACCINATED.

UM, IT IS TRUE THAT THE SISTERS HAVE BEEN APPROVED AND WE'RE READY TO GET THOSE BOOSTERS, BUT FOR ANYONE WHO'S UNVACCINATED, I URGE YOU TO GET VACCINATED FOR THOSE THAT ARE AT THE POINT WHERE THEY'RE ELIGIBLE FOR BOOSTERS TWO MONTHS AFTER THE J AND J SIX MONTHS AFTER THE END THERE, AND I PFIZER ADJOURN OR VACCINES, GO AND GET YOUR BOOSTER SHOTS.

THERE ARE SEVERAL VACCINE PROVIDERS IN OUR COMMUNITY, AND WE AT APH ARE READY TO GO.

THE TEAM IS READY.

UM, THE PEDIATRIC VACCINES FOR THE FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLDS ARE ON THE WAY APPROVAL IS, IS ON THE HORIZON.

AND WE ARE READY TO HELP OUR PARTNERS IN ANY WAY THAT WE CAN.

AND WE HAVE BACKSEAT CLINICS READY TO GO AND PLANS.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COVID.

IT IS A SERIOUS ILLNESS.

AS JANET SAID, THE STATISTICS ARE STARTLING AND HEARTBREAKING.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST HER FROM GETTING THE FLU.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE STAY THE COURSE, OTHER COUNTRIES ARE SEEING SEARCHES.

NOW WE ARE IN A TIME OF RELATIVE CON IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE REMAIN VIGILANT.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP MASKING, WASHING HANDS, STAYING HOME.

WHEN SAID, GETTING TESTED AND GETTING YOUR VACCINE.

I URGE YOU, IF YOU'RE HAVING CELEBRATIONS WITH FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES THAT YOU

[00:30:01]

KNOW, WHO'S GOING TO BE THERE, WEAR A MASK.

IF YOU THINK THAT THERE'S GOING TO BE SOMEONE THERE WHO IS AT RISK OF BEING COMING SICK, BECAUSE THEY'RE IMMUNE COMPROMISED.

AND IF YOU'RE NOT SURE THAT THE SNIPPET YOU HAVE IS COVID OR GET TESTED, I ASK YOU ALL TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT THIS COMMUNITY DOES BEST WORK TOGETHER TO END THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.

AND WITH THAT, I'LL PASS IT ON TO JIM.

AND THANKS DR.

WATSON.

AGAIN, I JUST WOULD LIGHT FOR THE AUSTIN TRAVIS COUNTY COMMUNITY TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE ARE IN GOOD, GOOD SPACE.

RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE EVERY INDICATION.

WE HAVE GOOD INDICATORS SHOWING THAT WE HAVE DECLINED DECLINING NUMBERS OF CASES AS, UH, DOCTOR WALKS HAS MENTIONED.

AND WE'D LIKE TO KEEP IT THAT WAY.

AND, UM, ONE WAY IN DOING SO IS TO MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT WE, AS SHE MENTIONED, ARE DOING AND PUTTING INTO PLACES PREVENTION, MEASURES THAT WE KNOW WORK, UH, FIGHTING NOT ONLY COVID, BUT ALSO THE FLU, AND THAT'S THE MASKING AND GETTING VACCINATED.

IT'S, IT'S CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT FOR US TO, UH, TO CONTINUE TO BE VIGILANT AND PROTECT OURSELVES AND, AND OUR COMMUNITY.

UH, IF YOU DO PLAN ON HAVING A HOLIDAY COMING UP AND YOU PLAN ON TRAVELING PLACES, YOU KNOW, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE VACCINE ON BOARD, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR MASK WITH YOU, UH, BECAUSE, UH, WHILE YOU MAY PROTECT YOU VIGILANT, OTHERS MAY NOT BE, BUT, YOU KNOW, MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE PROTECTING HERSELF AND SOCIALLY DISTANCING AND THINGS LIKE THAT.

UM, AGAIN, UH, YOU KNOW, WE ARE, UH, TRACKING THINGS.

WE'RE SEEING POSITIVE INDICATORS, INDICATORS THAT THINGS ARE DROPPING, AND WE DON'T WANT TO SEE OR LEARN FROM THE, FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM THAT, UH, WE COULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING TO PREVENT IT, UH, SINCE THEY, THEY ARE SEEING INCREASES THERE.

UM, AND WE'LL BE MONITORING WHAT IS HAPPENING THERE SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE A SIMILAR, UH, PATTERN OCCUR HERE IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY.

UM, BUT AGAIN, ENJOY, I WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE OUR OPENING UP GATHERINGS WHERE, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE ACL, WE HAVE FORMULA ONE THIS WEEKEND, IT'S GOING TO BE A BEAUTIFUL WEEKEND.

PEOPLE GET OUT THERE, ENJOY AUSTIN.

UH, OUR VISITORS ENJOY AUSTIN, UH, YOU KNOW, BUT KNOW, BUT, BUT PLEASE DO IT IN A SAFE MANNER.

AND I WILL TURN THAT UP, TURN IT OVER TO CATHY, TO SLAB.

THANK YOU.

UM, JUST TO REITERATE, WE ARE EXCITED IN THIS SPOT THAT WE'RE IN.

UM, BUT WE CAN'T GET COMPLACENT.

WE DO NOT WANT TO RETURN TO THE EXPERIENCE WE WERE JUST HAVING JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO.

UM, THAT IS A DANGEROUS SPOT FOR US, NOT JUST, UM, REGARDING COVID, BUT FOR EVERYTHING, UH, THAT WE'RE AT RISK FOR, UM, NOT HAVING THE HOSPITAL CAPACITY TO SUPPORT ALL OF OUR JUST BASIC, UM, REGULAR HOSPITALIZATION NEEDS THAT WE HAVE IS VERY CONCERNING.

UM, SO AS A COMMUNITY, WE HAVE TO REALLY BAND TOGETHER TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE, UM, PROTECTING EACH OTHER AND, AND WE'RE PRACTICING THOSE SAFETY MEASURES, UH, SO THAT WE CAN, WE CAN ENSURE THAT WE KEEP COVID AT BAY.

IT IS SOMETHING WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT DAILY.

NOW IT IS SOMETHING WE HAVE TO INTEGRATE INTO HOW WE GO OUT AND WE, UH, GO TO THE GROCERY STORE AND, UH, BE MINDFUL OF WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO? WHEN DO WE NEED TO HAVE HAND SANITIZER READY? WHEN DO WE NEED TO HAVE OUR MASKS AVAILABLE AND READY TO PUT ON? UM, AND AS WE'RE DOING THAT, THINKING ABOUT AM I DO FOR MY VACCINE? IS IT TIME FOR MY BOOSTER? WHEN WAS MY LAST VACCINE? AND SO NOW THAT, THAT, UM, THE DURHAM, WE KNOW A LOT OF OUR COMMUNITY WAS VACCINATED WITH MADONNA, AND THAT WAS OUR INITIAL ROLLOUT.

UH, AND MOST OF THE ALLOCATIONS WE HAD WERE MAJORITY VACCINE.

UH, MANY OF YOU, IT'S IMPORTANT TO CHECK YOUR VACCINE CARD BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING TO BE, DO YOU HAVE TO BOOST YOUR DOSE? UM, AND SO ONE TO LOOK AT THAT, GET A PLAN TOGETHER TO GET YOUR MOTHER AND A VACCINE, UM, GET YOUR, UM, IF YOU'RE NOT FULLY VACCINATED, GET FULLY VACCINATED AND GET YOUR FLU SHOT.

UM, AND IF YOU'RE A PARENT OF A FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLD, THIS IS A REAL OPPORTUNITY TO, UH, TALK WITH YOUR PEDIATRICIAN, FIND OUT IF THEY'RE GOING TO BE PROVIDING THE VACCINE.

UM, AND IF NOT, THERE ARE MANY, MANY LOCATIONS THAT ARE SAFE AND COMFORTABLE SPACES FOR YOUR CHILD TO GET VACCINATED.

WE'RE WORKING WITH SCHOOLS, WE'RE WORKING WITH A LOT OF DIFFERENT LOCATIONS, SO THAT, UM, AS A FAMILY, YOU CAN MAKE THAT PERSONAL HEALTH DECISION TO GET YOUR CHILDREN VACCINATED AND ENSURE THAT THEY HAVE THAT PROTECTION

[00:35:01]

AS WELL.

UM, EVERYONE THAT'S VACCINATED, IT'S A MULTIPLIER EFFECT.

THEY'RE PROTECTING THEMSELVES, BUT YOU'RE ALSO PROTECTING THE REST OF YOUR FAMILY AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE COMMUNITY.

SO WE REALLY WANNA ENCOURAGE THAT ALONG WITH FLU, UH, TO ENCOURAGE GETTING THE FLU VACCINE TO SO WE CAN ROLL INTO THE HOLIDAYS, HALLOWEEN, THANKSGIVING, UH, THE DECEMBER CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS AND OTHER HOLIDAYS THAT WE ALL WANT TO CELEBRATE AND BE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY.

WE WANT TO HAVE THOSE VACCINES AND BE ABLE TO RELAX AND ENJOY EACH OTHER'S COMPANY.

AND WITH THAT, HAVING A SAFE AND HEALTHY BJ, THANK YOU.

THAT CONCLUDES OUR MEDIA AVAILABILITY FOR TODAY.

THANK YOU TO DR.

DESMO.

WALK'S CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET SCHUTT, CASSANDRA DAILYOM APH CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION, HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION, AND TO OUR POOL REPORTER, OLIVIA FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT.

THANKS FOR JOINING US AND HAVE A SAFE WEEKEND.



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