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[Virtual Press Conference: COVID Community Transmission]

[00:00:04]

GOOD MORNING.

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

AND I'M THE MODERATOR FOR TODAY'S NEWS CONFERENCE.

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, THEN JANET PICHETTE, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, AND FINALLY 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, EVERYONE.

UM, JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS AGO, WE WERE IN OUR FIRST SURGE, UH, WITH THE DELTA VARIANT.

UM, IT SPREAD EASIER THAN OTHERS, UM, AND CAUSE MORE HOSPITALIZATIONS, MORE SEVERE ILLNESS.

WE WERE CLOSE TO SHIFTING TO STAGE ONE AT THAT POINT.

UM, AND QUICKLY CASES ROSE.

UM, WE HAD A HOSPITALIZATION RATES THAT DRAMATICALLY CLIMBED AND OUR HOSPITALS WERE OVERWHELMED.

UM, WE HAD TO SHIFT FROM ANTICIPATING GOING INTO STAGE ONE TO QUICKLY SHIFTING BACK TO STAGE THREE, AND THEN WITH A SNAP OF THE FINGER, WE WERE IN STAGE FOUR AND UNFORTUNATELY OUR COMMUNITY RESPONDED AND WE HAD MORE PEOPLE MANSCAPING AND WE GOT MORE PEOPLE VACCINATED.

AND OUR BEDS SLOWLY STARTED TO OPEN UP AGAIN.

AND WE ARE NOW HERE IN THIS POINT IN TIME WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE ASKING WHY HAVEN'T WE SHIFTED OUR STAGING TO STAGE TWO.

AND I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT AND EXPLAIN THAT DOCTORS LIKE TO NOT JUST TREAT DISEASE, BUT WE LIKE TO PREVENT DISEASE AND ILLNESS.

AND WE TAKE SEVERAL FACTORS INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN WE ARE MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT THE STAGE CHANGES.

AND ONE OF THOSE IS THAT CONCEPT OF HOW IS SOMETHING SPREADING IN OUR COMMUNITY AND WE CALL IT COMMUNITY BASED TRANSMISSION.

AND IT'S THE NUMBER OF CASES PER HUNDRED THOUSAND OVER A SEVEN DAY PERIOD.

WHEN INFORMATION FROM WHAT WE'VE JUST, UH, EXPERIENCED WITH THE LATEST DELTA SURGE AND LESSONS LEARNED FOR GLOBALLY HAS SHOWN THAT THIS IS AN INDICATOR ALONG WITH SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS THAT WILL HELP US MAKE DECISIONS TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITY PROTECTED AND OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM PROTECTED.

SO WE'RE NOT TAKING AWAY FROM WHAT WE KNOW HAS WORKED FOR US, BUT WE'RE ADDING SOMETHING ELSE TO HELP US BE PREPARED AND TO PREVENT ANOTHER SEARCH.

SO WE ARE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT THAT AND IN LOOKING AT THAT IN JUNE, WHEN WE HAD A SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF EIGHT HOSPITALIZATIONS PER DAY, OVER SEVEN DAYS, OUR COMMUNITY BASED TRANSMISSION RATE WAS HIGHER.

IT WAS IN THIS 13 TO 17 RANGE, WHICH MEANT THAT WE WERE HAVING A SPREAD THAT WAS STARTING.

AND THEN IT EXPLODED INTO WHAT WE NOW KNOW WAS A SURGE OF SEVERITY PROPORTIONS.

AND WE WANT TO PREVENT THAT.

SO WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO ASK OUR POPULATION AND OUR RESIDENTS OR OUR COMMUNITY, OUR LOVED ONES AND OUR BUSINESSES TO DO WHAT WE KNOW HAS WORKED, UM, GET VACCINATED WHERE I'M LAST INDOORS WHEN WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE STATUS OF SOMEONE IS THAT YOU'RE AROUND BECAUSE YOU DON'T LIVE WITH THEM.

THEY'RE NOT YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

WHEN YOU CAN ASK, HEY, HAVE YOU GOTTEN YOUR VACCINE? DID YOU GET YOUR BOOSTER? UM, ARE YOU FEELING OKAY, WEAR A MASK INDOORS IN PUBLIC SETTINGS WHEN WE HAVE COMMUNITY-BASED TRANSMISSION THAT'S HIGH.

AND RIGHT NOW WE LOOK AT OUR NUMBERS OF CASES IN THE LAST SEVEN DAYS, PER HUNDRED THOUSAND, WE ARE SEEING 50 CASES PER A HUNDRED THOUSAND, THE

[00:05:01]

LAST SEVEN DAYS, WHICH PUTS US IN A PERIOD OF SUBSTANTIAL TRANSMISSION.

AND IT'S FOR THAT REASON THAT WE'RE GOING TO STAY IN STAGE THREE.

AND WE KNOW THAT THAT NUMBER IS SLOWLY GOING DOWN AND AS IT CONTINUES TO COME DOWN, THAT WE'LL MAKE, UH, ANOTHER, WE'LL TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THINGS.

WE WANT TO HAVE HOLIDAYS THAT ARE SAFE AND WE WANT TO GET OUR FAMILIES PROTECTED.

SO CONTINUE TO GO OUT AND GET YOUR VACCINATIONS FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT ARE ELIGIBLE.

AND NOW EVERYONE, FIVE YEARS NOW ARE ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINATIONS.

AND WHEN YOU'RE IN PUBLIC INDOOR SPACES WEAR A MASK.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS.

AND, UH, I KNOW THAT'S A LOT FOR US TO SWALLOW.

LIKE IF, IF, IF YOU'RE THAT PERSON WHO'S WATCHING THE METRICS THAT WE'VE ALREADY IDENTIFIED, YOU WE'RE READY TO ROLL INTO STAGE TWO AND ENJOY YOUR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY WITH LIMITED RESTRICTIONS.

AND I KNOW WE'RE TIRED.

WE'VE BEEN IN THIS FOR TWO YEARS.

WE'VE LOST FRIENDS, WE'VE LOST FAMILY, WE'VE LOST OTHER LOVED ONES AND WE'RE JUST TIRED, RIGHT? WE'RE JUST TIRED OF BEING IN THIS SPACE IN THIS FIGHT.

BUT WHAT I DO KNOW IS THAT SOMETHING THAT DR WACHS SAID RESONATED WITH ME, REMINDS ME OF THE TAGLINE FOR AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH PERMIT, PROMOTE, PROTECT, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO.

AND SO AS THE VIRUS CONTINUES TO CHANGE AND STRIVE AND STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE, WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO GET SMARTER.

WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE USING EVERY PIECE OF DATA THAT IS AT OUR DISPOSAL TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE GIVING YOU THE COMMUNITY, THE BEST INFORMATION POSSIBLE TO MAKE GOOD RECOMMENDATIONS AND TO PREVENT DISEASE, PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND PROMOTE GOOD HEALTH.

AND SO TO PREVENT THE SURGE, YOU KNOW, STAGE THREE IS THE PLACE THAT WE NEED TO BE.

AND IF YOU'RE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE GONNA RUN TO THE METRICS AND LOOK AT IT, YOU'LL SAY, YEAH, WE'RE HIGH.

YOU KNOW, OUR COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE IS HIGH, BUT OUR HOSPITALIZATION RATES, THOSE ARE GETTING BETTER.

YOU WANT TO KNOW WHY? BECAUSE WE'RE GETTING BACK MATED AND WE'RE PRACTICING THOSE THREE W'S, WE'RE WEARING OUR MASK.

WE'RE WASHING OUR HANDS.

WE'RE STAYING HOME WHEN WE'RE SICK.

AND SO, YOU KNOW, TODAY WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT CONVERSATION OF WHY IT'S NECESSARY FOR US TO STAY THE COURSE, BECAUSE WE HAVE THE EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT THESE MEASURES ARE WORKING.

AND IF WE JUST PUSH A LITTLE BIT MORE, I KNOW WE CAN GET THERE.

THANK YOU.

AND I'LL PICK UP FROM THERE.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

UM, YOU KNOW, AS, UH, WE AT AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH ARE CONSTANTLY MONITORING THE TREND OF DISEASE IN OUR COMMUNITY AND COVID IS NO EXCEPTION.

UH, YOU KNOW, ESPECIALLY AS THE DATA COMES IN AND WE'RE GETTING MORE INFORMATION, UH, WE'RE TRYING TO, UH, FIGURE OUT THE BEST WAYS TO TRACK THAT INFORMATION.

AND AS MY COLLEAGUES HAVE MENTIONED HERE, WE EVALUATE MANY INDICATORS.

AS YOU'VE SEEN, WE STARTED WITH ONE DASHBOARD.

WE HAVE FOUR DASHBOARDS NOW.

AND THE REASON WE TRY TO PUT THIS INFORMATION EPISODE THAT YOU IN THE COMMUNITY WITHIN AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY, AND EVEN THOSE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO COME AND VISIT AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY CAN MAKE THE BEST INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT COVID AND WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OUR COMMUNITY.

IT GIVES YOU THE BEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON.

UM, YOU KNOW, WHEN WE LOOK AT DISEASE TRANSMIT OR THE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE, IT'S THE POTENTIAL, IT'S THE POTENTIAL OF DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISK.

AND IT PROVIDES US SOME ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SO THAT WE CAN MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS.

WE HAVE REALLY GOOD INDICATORS RIGHT NOW FOR ALL OUR OTHER INDICATORS, BUT COMMUNITY-BASED TRANSMISSION RATE IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO TELL US WHAT'S THE POTENTIAL OF DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISKS, SO THAT WHEN YOU GO OUT, YOU MAKE THOSE KEY INFORMED DECISIONS TO PROTECT YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR LOVED ONES.

UM, YOU KNOW, THE OTHER THING WE NEED TO CONSIDER, WE NEED TO LOOK AT DISEASE TRANSMISSION.

WE ARE ABOUT TO ENTER INTO THE SEASONALITY OF DISEASE, AND THAT IS WE'RE ENTERING INTO COLD AND FLU SEASON.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR WAS WHEN WE BEGAN TO SEE A SPIKE IN S IN, IN OUR SECOND SURGE OF COVID-19.

WE DON'T WANT TO BE THERE AGAIN.

SO WE'RE IN THE POSITION RIGHT NOW TO KEEP COVID-19 AT BAY AND BY CONTINUING TO BE CAUTIOUS AROUND OTHERS, ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE VULNERABLE.

[00:10:01]

AND, AND WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE VACCINATED.

SO WE NOT ONLY PROTECT OURSELVES, BUT PROTECT THOSE WHO ARE MOST VULNERABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

THIS WEEK, WE'VE SEEN 604 NEW CASES OF WEATHER REPORT, 604 NEW CASES OUT FOR THE WEEK, THIS WEEK, AND, AND FOUR ADDITIONAL DEATHS.

TWO MONTHS AGO, WE WERE SEEING OVER 700 CASES IN ONE DAY.

THAT'S A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

WE WANT THAT CON THAT INDICATOR TO CONTINUE TO DROP DOWN.

AND WE WERE SEEING 24 DEATHS IN A WEEK.

WE'VE MADE HUGE IMPROVEMENTS AND WE'VE COME A LONG WAY.

SO NOW IS THE TIME TO CONTINUE TO BE VIGILANT.

AND SO THAT WE CAN ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS.

WE DON'T WANT TO SEE A POST HOLIDAY SURGE, UH, AND PUT US BACK AND S IN SPACE BR WE WANT TO BE AS HEALTHY AS POSSIBLE AS WE ENTER COLD AND FLU SEASON, YOU KNOW, WEARING MASKS, ESPECIALLY IN SITUATIONS WHERE YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE SOME OF WHAT'S SOMEBODY'S VACCINATION STATUS IS KEY.

IF YOU WERE HAVING HOLIDAY GATHERINGS, AND YOU HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING OVER TO YOUR HOUSE, YOU KNOW, AND THEY HAVEN'T BEEN VACCINATED, YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THEY GET TESTED AS WELL, BUT YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE DOING THOSE THINGS TO PREVENT DISEASE COMING INTO YOUR HOME.

AND IF YOU'RE GOING OUT AND ABOUT MAKE SURE IF YOU'RE SICK, YOU STAY HOME AND, AND NOT, UM, YOU KNOW, PERPETUATE THE DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISK OUT THERE.

YOU KNOW, FINALLY, JUST TO WRAP IT UP, UM, YOU KNOW, WE WANT TO BE SURE YOU'RE PROTECTING YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET THAT YOU HAVE, AND THAT YOUR VULNERABLE LOVED ONES, MAKE SURE YOU'RE TAKING CARE OF YOUR FAMILY.

MAKE SURE YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED, UH, BEFORE YOU VISIT SOMEONE.

AND IF YOU'RE NOT GETTING TESTED, AND IF YOU'RE SICK BY ALL MEANS STAY HOME SO THAT YOU CAN ENJOY HOLIDAY WITH THEM AT SOME OTHER POINT.

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

AND GOOD MORNING.

UM, WE ARE REALLY EXCITED THAT THIS WEEK WE GOT VERY GOOD NEWS WITH THE APPROVAL FROM THE FDA AND THE CDC OF THE FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLD COVID VACCINE, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH HAS BEEN PLANNING TO IMPLEMENT THIS PHASE OF VACCINE DISTRIBUTION SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE VACCINE ROLLOUT.

WE'RE EXCITED THAT AS A VACCINE FOR CHILDREN PROVIDER, WE HAVE THE STAFF THAT ARE PREPARED TO, TO GIVE THE BEST CARE TO THESE CHILDREN AND PROVIDE THE SUPPORT TO THE PARENTS AND FAMILIES THAT ARE MAKING THIS VERY PERSONAL HEALTH DECISION FOR THEIR FAMILY AND THEIR CHILD.

WE KNOW THAT IF A PARENT COMES AND BRINGS THEIR CHILD TO AN AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH CLINIC, THEY WILL HAVE A WELL-TRAINED NURSE AND THEIR CHILD'S EXPERIENCE WILL BE THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE THAT THEY CAN HAVE.

OUR VACCINE FOR CHILDREN.

UH, SHOTS FOR TOTS CLINIC HAS ALREADY STARTED PROVIDING THE COVID 19 VACCINE, AND WE'VE ALREADY DONE SOME COMMUNITY, UM, EVENTS.

AND SO WE'RE EXCITED TO HAVE, UH, THOSE, THOSE EVENTS HAVE BEEN ROLLING OUT AND WE'VE ALREADY STARTED VACCINATING CHILDREN WITH THAT.

UH, WE JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT PARENTS ARE AWARE OF WHERE THEY CAN GO.

WE ARE ALSO INCLUDING INCREASING OUR CLINIC CAPACITY, SO THAT NOT ONLY, UM, WOULD YOU GO IF YOU'RE YOUR SHOTS FOR TOTS, UM, PATIENT, YOU ALSO AS A, AS YOU CAN GO TO THAT CLINIC, BUT YOU ALSO WE'LL HAVE NEW CAPACITY AT OUR DELCO SITE.

AND AT OUR SIM SITE, WE HAVE ADDED WEEK, EVENING HOURS.

WE HAVE ADDED SATURDAY HOURS.

SO THAT REGARDLESS OF, OF, WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING TO GET YOUR VACCINE, YOU HAVE AN OPTION TO, TO TAKE YOUR CHILD TO A CLINIC.

WE DO ALLOW FOR APPOINTMENTS, BUT WE ALSO ARE PROVIDING, UM, SERVICES IN A WALKUP CAPACITY AS WELL.

SO WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE ANYONE WHO IS LOOKING FOR THAT VACCINE CONTACT 3, 1, 1, FIND OUT WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE AND, AND GO AND, AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE SITES.

WE HAVE PLANNED AND PREPARED FOR THIS MOMENT.

WE ARE EXCITED THAT WE HAVE THESE VACCINES.

WE HAVE OVER 6,000 VACCINES READY TO ROLL OUT IN THIS FIRST WEEK.

AND WE'RE PREPARED TO ORDER MORE.

IF WE NEED TO, WE HAVE THE RIGHT STAFF, THE RIGHT FACILITIES, THE RIGHT SETTINGS AVAILABLE FOR ALL OF OUR CHILDREN TO BE ABLE TO ACCESS THAT VACCINE.

AND WE KNOW WE COULDN'T DO THIS ALONE.

SO WE ARE SO APPRECIATIVE OF ALL OF THE PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE PARTICIPATING IN THIS SPACE AS WELL, BECAUSE IT JUST INCREASE OUR NETWORK OF, AND WE'RE SUPPORTING EACH OTHER AND PROVIDING THIS IMPORTANT SERVICE TO OUR COMMUNITY.

SO AS WE LOOK INTO THE WEEKEND, AND AS WE LOOK INTO THE

[00:15:01]

NEXT FEW WEEKS BEFORE WE GET TO THE HOLIDAYS, MAKE PLANS TO GET YOUR CHILD VACCINATED, IDENTIFY WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE.

AND AS ALWAYS, YOU CAN CONTACT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH.

WE ARE HERE TO SUPPORT YOU.

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

I SAY ONE QUICK THING.

UM, WHEN THEY CALL 3, 1, 1, WILL THEY BE ABLE TO, UM, TELL THEM WHICH CLINICS ARE WALKUP AND WHICH ONES ARE BY APPOINTMENT 3, 1, 1 WILL BE ABLE TO CONNECT IT THROUGH A ONE.

DOESN'T HAVE THAT INFORMATION.

WE WILL MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE ARMED WITH THAT, BUT IF NOT, THEY WILL CONNECT THE INDIVIDUAL TO OUR, UM, RESOURCE LINES AND WE'LL BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THAT TO THEM.

AND IN ADDITION, WE'LL BE ABLE TO NAVIGATE THEM TO AN APPOINTMENT IF THEY WANT TO GO AHEAD AND MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THAT.

WE WILL NOW OPEN IT UP TO OUR POOL REPORTER FROM KUT SANGEETA.

UH, THE FIRST QUESTION IS FROM KUT, HOW MANY PEDIATRIC COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES DOES APA EXPECT TO ADMINISTER AT CLINICS NEXT WEEK? DO YOU ANTICIPATE VACCINE SUPPLY OR ALLOCATIONS BEING A LIMITING FACTOR IN THE NEAR TERM? THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

AND I'LL JUMP IN.

UM, WE DO NOT ANTICIPATE ANY VACCINE SUPPLY, UH, BEING A LIMITING FACTOR IN PROVIDING VACCINE.

UH, WE ALREADY HAVE RECEIVED OUR FIRST ALLOCATION AND IT'S OVER 6,000 DOSES.

UM, AND WE'VE ALREADY STARTED ADMINISTERING.

UM, NEXT WEEK WE LOOK TO TRY TO PUSH OUT AS MANY OF THOSE AS WE CAN THROUGH, UM, OUR DELCO AND SIMS LOCATION.

UM, AND ALSO WE ARE EXCITED THAT THIS SATURDAY WE'LL BE ADMINISTERING VACCINE AND SUPPORTING THE DOVE SPRINGS COMMUNITY THROUGH COUNCIL MEMBER.

VANESSA WINCHES IS COMMUNITY RESOURCE FAIR, AND WE'RE HOPING THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO GIVE, UM, A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF, OF, UH, CHILDHOOD VACCINES THERE AS WELL.

SO WE THINK THAT THIS IS GOING TO BE A INCREDIBLE WEEK.

WE HOPE TO SEE AS MANY CHILDREN VACCINATED AS POSSIBLE.

AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THIS POPULATION THAT'S NEWLY ELIGIBLE.

THERE'S ABOUT 115,000 CHILDREN.

SO REALLY LOOKING AT HOW WE CAN REACH AS MANY OF THEM AS WE CAN BEFORE WE GET INTO THE HOLIDAY SEASON.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX A N WHAT STEPS ARE YOU TAKING TO MAINTAIN THE PUBLIC'S TRUST AS YOU SHIFT? WHAT INFORMS THE RISK-BASED GUIDELINES TO INCLUDE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE? THEY'RE NOT ACTUALLY MAKING A SHIFT.

WE ARE, UM, MAKING IT KNOWN THAT THIS IS PART OF WHAT IS DRIVING THE DECISIONS THAT ARE MADE WITH REGARDS TO STAGING.

WE ARE CONTINUING TO USE THE SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS AS ONE OF OUR GUIDEPOSTS IN THAT DECISION PROCESS.

AND WE'RE ALSO WEARING ON, WHAT'S BEEN PART OF THE PROCESS AS WELL, WHICH IS LOOKING AT HOW, UH, COVID-19 IS SPREADING IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UM, SO RIGHT NOW OUR HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE LOW.

SO THAT TELLS US THAT OUR HOSPITAL CAPACITY IS GOOD.

AND, AND THAT IS WHERE WE WANT IT TO BE, BUT WE WANT TO PREVENT ANY STRESS ON THAT HOSPITAL SYSTEM, BY LETTING PEOPLE KNOW HOW, UH, WHAT THEIR RISK IS, IF THEY GO INTO THE COMMUNITY BASED UPON WHAT THE TRANSMISSION IS, UH, WHAT THE SPREAD RATE IS OF COVID-19.

SO THAT'S WHERE THIS COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE COMES IN, AND IT HELPS INFORM OUR PUBLIC ABOUT WHAT THEIR RISK IS.

AND AS WE GO INTO THE HOLIDAY SEASON AND PEOPLE ARE OUT AND ABOUT, UM, AND PREPARING FOR FESTIVITIES, THAT INFORMATION WILL HELP GUIDE THEIR DECISION-MAKING ON WHETHER THEY WEAR A MASK INDOORS IN PUBLIC PLACES.

I CAN THE LAWYER ON TO THAT STATEMENT JUST BY SAYING AGAIN, UH, LOOKING AT MULTIPLE INDICATORS AS WE MOVE FORWARD, AS DR.

WACHS HAS MENTIONED, AND THE COMMUNITY-BASED TRANSMISSION RISK, WHAT'S IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO PAY ATTENTION TO IS THAT THIS IS THE POTENTIAL FOR DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISK IN OUR COMMUNITY.

RIGHT NOW IT'S AT A SUBSTANTIAL LEVEL.

SO EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE INDICATORS THAT ARE SHOWING THAT OUR COMMUNITY CASE COUNTS AND OUR HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE COMING DOWN, OUR COMMUNITY-BASED TRANSMISSION RISK IS STILL AT A VERY HIGH LEVEL, AND WE NEED TO BE MINDFUL THAT WHEN YOU GO OUT AND YOU'RE OUT AND ABOUT, UH, THAT YOU ARE PROTECTING YOURSELF, UH, FROM THE POTENTIAL OF EXPOSING YOURSELF, UH, CHIEF COVID-19, UH, AND BRINGING IT HOME AND POTENTIALLY AFFECTING SOMEBODY THAT MAY

[00:20:01]

BE THERE THAT IS MORE VULNERABLE.

SO, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, IT'S A POTENTIAL POTENTIAL.

WE RECOGNIZE EARLY ON, WE, WE HAD GOOD INDICATORS BACK IN JUNE, THAT OUR NUMBERS WERE REALLY LOW AND THINGS WERE LOOKING GOOD, BUT THE COMMUNITY BASED TRANSMISSION RISK WAS OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING THAT WE WEREN'T REALLY PAYING ATTENTION TO AS WELL AS WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN.

AND THE POTENTIAL FOR DISEASE TRAUMA TRANSMISSION WAS VERY HIGH.

SO, UM, IT, AND YOU CAN SEE WHAT HAPPENED.

WE HAD A SURGE THAT WAS UNPRECEDENTED.

IT WAS LARGER THAN SOME OF OUR OTHER SURGERIES THAT WE HAD.

AND WE JUST DON'T WANT TO BE THERE AGAIN, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE HOLIDAYS, BECAUSE WE KNOW WE SEARCHED AFTER THE HOLIDAYS LAST YEAR.

I JUST DON'T WANT TO BE THERE AGAIN.

THIS YEAR.

WE WORMS FROM THIS PREVIOUS SEARCH OF DELTA DELTA CAUSE SEVERE DISEASE AND SEVERE ENOUGH TO SAY AS HER CAR, A LOT OF HOSPITALIZATIONS, THE STRESS ON OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS WAS, UM, SOMETHING THAT WE DO NOT WANT TO SEE REPEATED.

AGAIN, ESPECIALLY IN THIS TIME WHEN WE KNOW THERE ARE GOING TO BE MORE RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES THAT DEVELOP, WE KNOW THAT FLU IS GOING TO BE MORE PREVALENT UNLESS WE GET VACCINATED AND CONTINUE TO DO THE THINGS THAT WE KNOW WE CAN DO TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF FLU.

UM, AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT COVID PARTICULARLY THIS VARIANT CAUSES SEVERE DISEASE, MUCH MORE SEVERE IN SOME CASES.

AND THAT IS WHAT WE WERE TRYING TO PREVENT.

WE'RE TRYING TO PREVENT THE SEVERITY OF DISEASE, THE IMPACT OF THAT SEVERE DISEASE ON OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS, IN OUR ICU BED CAPACITIES FROM OVERWHELMING OUR SYSTEM.

AGAIN.

SO TO PREVENT THAT FROM HAPPENING, WE ARE BRINGING THIS INDICATOR OUT AND LETTING PEOPLE KNOW THAT IT'S SOMETHING TO PAY ATTENTION TO.

IT'S SOME, IT'S A WAY OF PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM GETTING SICK AND THE HOSPITAL SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF ADMISSIONS IS SOMETHING THAT WILL HELP YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS. AND THE TWO TOGETHER, UM, WILL HELP OUR COMMUNITY MOVE FORWARD.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT IS THE PUBLIC TAKING ADVANTAGE OF BOOSTER SHOTS.

DO YOU THINK LOCAL RESIDENTS HAVE A GRASP ON WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR A BOOSTER SHOT? I'LL START.

UM, WE DO, UH, WE LOOK AT, UH, THE BOOSTER SHOT UPTAKE.

UM, AND I THINK WE LOOK AT IT IN TWO DIFFERENT WAYS.

ONE, WE LOOK AT OVERALL WHAT THE GENERAL POPULATION IS DOING AS FAR AS BOOSTER VACCINE, AND WE ARE SEEING ABOUT 20,000 TO 25,000 A WEEK, UM, OF INDIVIDUALS GETTING BOOSTER VACCINE ACROSS TRAVIS COUNTY, WHICH IS GREAT.

UM, WE'D LIKE TO SEE THAT HIGHER, UH, BUT WE DEFINITELY ARE ENCOURAGED THAT PEOPLE ARE GETTING THAT BOOSTER VACCINE IN OUR CLINICS.

UM, WE WERE PRIMARILY A MADONNA PROVIDER EARLY ON, AND WE HAVE DEFINITELY SEEN A, UH, SIGNIFICANT UPTAKE IN VACCINES, UH, FOR MADONNA, FOR THAT ADDITIONAL BOOSTER DOSE.

UM, IN ALL OF OUR CLINICS LAST WEEK, WE PROVIDED OVER 1600, UH, BOOSTER VACCINES.

UM, AND SO WE WANT TO MAKE SURE FOLKS KNOW THERE'S A LOT OF VACCINE AVAILABLE.

THERE'S, UH, IT'S, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT IF YOU ARE, UM, ELIGIBLE AND MAJORITY OF INDIVIDUALS WHO, UM, HAVE GOTTEN THEIR FULL PROTECTION FOR COVID VACCINE ARE ELIGIBLE, SO REALLY CONSIDER, UM, THAT, UH, REALLY THINK ABOUT GETTING A BOOSTER SHOT BECAUSE IT'S LIKELY THAT YOU'RE ELIGIBLE.

UM, AND IF YOU WERE FULLY VACCINATED IN MAY, IT'S TIME, IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO GET YOUR VACCINE CARD OUT AND LOOK AT YOUR, YOUR, YOUR DATE AND MAKE A PLAN TO GET THE BOOSTER VACCINE.

IF YOU RECEIVE THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE TWO MONTHS AFTER YOUR, YOUR FIRST DOSE YOU ARE IN, REGARDLESS OF, OF, UM, ELIGIBILITY, EVERYONE WHO GOT THE JOHNSON JOHNSON VACCINE SHOULD BE GETTING A BOOSTER FOR JOHNSON AND JOHNSON TWO MONTHS AFTER THEIR INITIAL DOSE.

SO WE JUST ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO TAKE A LOOK AT THAT AND TO MAKE A PLAN, TO GET THOSE, UH, BOOSTER VACCINES DONE.

IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT AS WE LOOK INTO THE NEXT FEW MONTHS THAT EVERYONE CONSIDER GETTING THAT BOOSTER TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAVE THAT FULL PROTECTION.

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT TOOL TO HELP STAVE OFF SURGE AND TO MAKE SURE YOU, UM, BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY AGAINST COVID-19.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CDS OFTEN

[00:25:02]

WITH PEDIATRIC VACCINES.

GREEN-LIGHTED WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MASS MANDATES IN SCHOOLS AND OTHER LARGE PUBLIC GATHERING PLACES.

WE CONTINUED TO NEED TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY FROM THE SPREAD OF COVID-19.

AND UNTIL WE HAVE THE MOST VULNERABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY AND THOSE UNPROTECTED BY VACCINATIONS VACCINATED, IT'S STILL IMPORTANT THAT WE DO WHAT WE NOT WANT, WHAT WE KNOW WORKS TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY, WHICH IS WEAR A MASS.

UM, SO IT'S WEARING A MASK STAYING HOME WHEN YOU'RE SICK, SOCIAL DISTANCING, WASHING HANDS.

THOSE ARE STILL THE PILLARS THAT ARE IMPORTANT.

UM, VACCINATIONS UNTIL WE GOTTEN OUR KIDS, VACCINATED ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE WHAT WE'RE GOING TO PUSH, UM, AND MESSAGE AND EDUCATE THE COMMUNITY ON.

AND UNTIL WE GET OUR COMMUNITY VACCINATED, WE STILL NEED TO WEAR A MASK AND THAT'S IN ALIGN WITH WHAT THE CDC IS RECOMMENDING IN OUR SCHOOLS, UM, TO PROTECT THOSE CHILDREN THAT ARE IN VACCINATED.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, WHAT IS AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH PLAN TO ENSURE SOCIAL AND RACIAL EQUITY IN CHILDHOOD VACCINE AVAILABILITY? YEAH, THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

UM, WE KNOW, UM, FROM BEING A CHILD, UH, VACCINE PROVIDER FOR OVER 30 YEARS AND REALLY FOCUSING ON OUR, UH, POPULATIONS THAT ARE LOW INCOME AND OUR POPULATIONS THAT ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED BY VACCINE PREVENTABLE DISEASES, WHICH UNFORTUNATELY AFFECTS OUR POPULATIONS OF COLOR, OUR BLACK AND BROWN, UH, RESIDENTS THAT WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE FOCUS ON THOSE, UM, INDIVIDUALS TO ENSURE THAT THEY HAVE THAT FULL PROTECTION.

THAT IS A KEY FOCUS OF OUR BIG SHOTS AND OUR SHOTS FOR TOTS, UM, VACCINE CLINICS.

IT'S ALSO A FOCUS FOR WHERE WE HAVE STRATEGICALLY PLACED OUR OTHER STATIC SITES, INCLUDING OUR DELCO CENTER AND OUR, UM, OLD SIMS ELEMENTARY LOCATION.

SO IT'S AVAILABLE IN THE EASTERN CRESCENT.

SO THERE'S EASY ACCESS FOR THOSE, UH, LIVING IN THOSE AREAS OF, UM, EAST AUSTIN.

WE ALSO ARE FOCUSING ON, UM, ZIP CODES THAT HAVE CONCENTRATIONS OF POPULATIONS OF COLOR SO THAT THEY CAN HAVE EASY ACCESS TO VACCINE.

SO ALL OF OUR POP-UP CLINICS, WE'RE REALLY LOOKING TO FOCUS IN THOSE AREAS IN THOSE ZIP CODES, SO THAT THERE IS VERY LITTLE BARRIER TO GETTING ACCESS TO VACCINE IN OUR CLINICS AND IN OUR EDUCATION OUTREACH, WE ARE ENSURING THAT THOSE, UM, THAT INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE IN THE LANGUAGES THAT THAT INDIVIDUALS PREFER.

UM, AND THAT WHEN PEOPLE COME TO OUR CLINIC EXPERIENCE, THAT WE HAVE VACCINATORS THAT ARE ABLE TO SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE AND THAT WE HAVE SUPPORT IN THE CLINIC SO THAT PEOPLE FEEL COMFORTABLE AND CONFIDENT IN THE DECISIONS THAT THEY'RE MAKING TO GET THE VACCINE.

AND WHEN THEY NEED ADDITIONAL SUPPORT AFTERWARDS, TO FOLLOW UP ON QUESTIONS, WE'VE, WE'VE STAFFED PEOPLE IN OUR NURSE LINE AND IN OUR EQUITY LINE TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY CAN HAVE A CONVERSATION THAT THEY FEEL IS SUPPORTING THEM AND GIVING THEM THE INFORMATION THAT THEY NEED IN A COMFORTABLE SPACE AND FROM A TRUSTED SOURCE.

AND THANK YOU, CASSIE.

AND JUST TO ADD ONTO THAT, UM, THE DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN RECEIVING SOME GRANT DOLLARS THAT HAVE A SPECIFIC FOCUS ON COVID-19 EQUITY.

AND A LOT OF IT IS PROGRAMMATIC IN THE WAY THAT CASSIE DESCRIBED, BUT IT ALSO LOOKS AT OUR PUBLIC HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE AND THEN MAKES SURE THAT WE ARE EMPLOYING A DIVERSE WORKFORCE THAT IS REFLECTIVE OF THE COMMUNITIES THAT WE'RE TRYING TO SERVE.

IT, UM, GIVES US OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK AT OUR RESOURCE ALLOCATION, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE FUNNELING RESOURCES BASED ON WHAT OUR DATA IS TELLING US AND WHERE THERE ARE GAPS THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS.

AND WE'RE ALSO VERY INTENTIONALLY WORKING WITH OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS, BECAUSE AS KATHY SAID EARLIER, YOU KNOW, IT, IT TAKES A VILLAGE AND WE RECOGNIZE THAT IN SOME SPACES IN PLACES, UM, SOMEONE'S CHURCH OR THEIR COMMUNITY GROUP MIGHT BE A MORE TRUSTED SOURCE THAN AUSTIN AND AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH.

AND WE'RE OKAY WITH THAT.

UM, SO HOWEVER IT, WHOEVER WE CAN PARTNER WITH AND SUPPORT THOSE GRASSROOTS PARTNERSHIPS, THAT'S PART OF OUR EQUITY APPROACH AS WELL.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KVU, HOW ARE YOU ADDRESSING CONCERNS OF PARENTS WHO ARE HESITANT TO GET THEIR KIDS VACCINATED? THEY ARE, UM, IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEMS,

[00:30:01]

UH, WORKING WITH SCHOOL NURSES, UM, AND ARMING THEM WITH EDUCATIONAL, UM, MATERIALS OF WHERE YOU'RE TALKING TO OUR PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS IN, IN ALIGNING MESSAGING, UM, TO GET THE WORD OUT ABOUT THE SAFETY OF THE VACCINES, THE, THE EVIDENCE FOR THE SAFETY OF THE VACCINES.

UM, WE'RE HAVING CONVERSATIONS WITH PROVIDERS IN OUR AREA, SOME OF WHOM WILL NOT BE ADMINISTERING COVID VACCINES.

UM, THEY'VE NOT BECOME THE VACCINE PROVIDERS, BUT WE'RE GETTING THEM THE INFORMATION AND THE KNOWLEDGE, THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SAFETY DATA, SO THAT THEY CAN HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH THEIR PATIENTS, UM, AND THE PARENTS OF THEIR PATIENTS IN THE CASES OF THE YOUNG ONES, SO THAT THEY CAN TALK ABOUT SAFETY AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO GET THEIR CHILDREN VACCINATED AND PROTECTED AGAINST COVID-19.

SO WE, UM, ARE IN THAT WAY, UM, ADDRESSING THE CONCERNS AND MAKING IT POSSIBLE FOR PEOPLE TO GET GOOD INFORMATION, UM, AND, AND DATA DRIVEN, SCIENTIFICALLY BASED INFORMATION TO GIVE THEM THE ASSURANCE THAT THIS VACCINE IS SAFE AND NECESSARY TO PROTECT US FROM COVID-19.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM UNIVISION.

HOW ARE YOU MAKING SURE KIDS IN LATINO NEIGHBORHOODS AND IN SCHOOLS WITH A MOSTLY HISPANIC STUDENT POPULATION GET ACCESS TO THE COVID-19 VACCINE? I'LL START, UM, AS WE'VE KIND OF TALKED ABOUT BEFORE, UH, SOME OF THE OPPORTUNITIES, UM, INCLUDE GIVING MORE INFORMATION AT THE SCHOOL LEVEL AND ENGAGING THE PARENTS SO THAT THEY KNOW WHERE THEY HAVE ACCESS.

UM, WE HAVE EMPLOYEE COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS THAT ARE WORKING WITH THE SCHOOLS SPECIFICALLY, UH, AND SPECIFICALLY WITH SCHOOLS THAT HAVE A LARGE POPULATION OF SPANISH LANGUAGE STUDENTS AND WORKING WITH THEM TO ENSURE THAT THEY HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINE, AND ALSO HAVE INFORMATION ABOUT WHERE THEY CAN GET ACCESS TO THE VACCINE.

UM, SO THAT'S ONE PIECE THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT.

AND THEN ADDITIONALLY, WE ARE WORKING TO MAKE SURE THAT WE STRATEGICALLY, UH, PROVIDE CLINICS AND LOCATIONS THAT ARE EASILY ACCESSIBLE FOR THOSE, UM, PATIENT POPULATIONS IN THOSE FAMILIES.

SO FOR EXAMPLE, THIS SATURDAY, WE ARE GOING TO BE IN DOVE SPRINGS, SUPPORTING OUR COUNCIL WOMEN, WOMAN, VANESSA , UM, COMMUNITY RESOURCE FAIR AND PROVIDING, UH, PEDIATRIC VACCINES AT THAT LOCATION.

ADDITIONALLY, WE'RE LOOKING AT SPECIFIC SCHOOLS THAT WE CAN BE IN, UH, TO PROVIDE AFTERSCHOOL VACCINES.

SO THE PARENT CAN ACCOMPANY THEIR CHILD AND BE ABLE TO SUPPORT THEIR CHILD THROUGH THAT VACCINE EXPERIENCE, AS WELL AS, UH, BEING IN OTHER, UH, COMMUNITY-BASED SPACES THAT ARE SUPPORTIVE OF, UM, OF ALL MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY, BUT ALSO PROVIDE SPACE FOR, UM, INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE SPANISH SPEAKING OR HAVE SPANISH SPEAKING PREFERENCES, UM, AS WELL AS STAFFING THOSE CLINICS, TO MAKE SURE THAT WHEN YOU ARE, UH, GETTING YOUR VACCINE FROM THAT NURSE, THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO SPEAK TO YOU DIRECTLY, UM, IN THE LANGUAGE THAT YOU PREFER.

SO THOSE ARE SOME THINGS THAT WE'RE REALLY WORKING TO PUT TOGETHER TO MAKE SURE THE LANGUAGE THAT WE USE, THE MATERIALS THAT'S AVAILABLE, UM, ARE CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY APPROPRIATE.

AND THAT WE'RE REALLY TRYING TO TAKE THE VACCINE AND MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY'RE AT, SO THAT THERE'S NO BARRIER FOR INDIVIDUALS BEING ABLE TO ACCESS VACCINE FOR THEIR FAMILY AND PARTICULARLY FOR THEIR CHILDREN.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KUT, HOW MANY PEDIATRIC COVID-19 VACCINES HAS APH ADMINISTERED FOR CLINICS THIS WEEK? YES, THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

SO, UM, AS SOON AS WE RECEIVE THE APPROVAL AND WE'RE ABLE TO UPDATE OUR CLINICAL GUIDELINES, WE BEGAN VACCINATING ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

AND THAT WAS REALLY EXCITING BECAUSE WE WERE STAGED AND READY AND WE WERE ABLE TO JUST PUSH IN AND START OFFERING VACCINE.

WE ANTICIPATE, UM, AFTER LAST NIGHT WE WERE ALMOST AT A HUNDRED VACCINE DOSES ADMINISTERED.

WE EXPECT THAT AFTER SATURDAY, WE WILL HAVE IT ALREADY ADMINISTERED, CLOSE TO 200 DOSES TO CHILDREN.

UM, WE ARE READY, WE HAVE THE VACCINE AVAILABLE, WE JUST NEED THE KIDS TO COME ON IN AND GET THE VACCINE.

SO WE EXPECT, UM, NEXT WEEK TO BE A HUGE WEEK.

UM, WE'RE HOPING THAT WE HAVE A LOT OF INTEREST AND A LOT OF UPTAKE, UM, AND, UH, HOPE THAT, UM, OUR FAMILIES HAVE THE ABILITY TO GET OUT AND, AND GET THAT VACCINE BEFORE THESE HOLIDAYS.

[00:35:04]

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX A N WELL, YOUR DASHBOARD BE UPDATED TO REFLECT COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE SO PEOPLE CAN TRACK THIS NEW METRIC.

IS THERE A NUMBER PER HUNDRED THOUSAND THAT WOULD INDICATE STAGE TWO IS SAFE? YES, OUR DASHBOARD IS BEING UPDATED AND IT WILL INDICATE THE SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF CASES PER A HUNDRED THOUSAND.

UM, AND WE ARE FOLLOWING THE CDC GUIDANCE, UM, AND THE LINK WILL BE THERE.

SO YOU'LL BE ABLE TO TRACK IT AS WELL.

UM, OVER GREATER THAN OR EQUAL TO A HUNDRED IS CONSIDERED HIGH TRANSMISSION, UM, WHICH WOULD BE, UM, CONSISTENT WITH OUR STAGE FIVE AND THE SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE THAT CORRESPONDS OF HOSPITALIZATIONS.

UM, THE 49.92, UM, 99 IS, OR 50 TO 99 IS OUR, UH, SUBSTANTIAL TRANSMISSION, RIGHT? WHICH CORRESPONDS WITH STAGE FOUR AND WITH, UH, OUR SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS AND ALL OF THAT WILL BE, UM, LISTED ON OUR DASHBOARD.

OUR CURRENT STAGE THREE, UM, WOULD BE, UH, CORRESPOND TO A MODERATE TRANSMISSION RATE.

AND THAT WOULD BE ANYTHING UNDER 50 AND SO ON, SO ON.

SO WE WILL BE ABLE TO TRACK AS A COMMUNITY WHERE WE ARE FROM THE SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS, WHICH AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, WILL CONTINUE TO BE THE FOCUS IN GUIDE FOR US BECAUSE WE ARE WANTING TO PROTECT OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS. THAT IS WHERE WE GO FOR CARE.

WHEN WE HAVE SEVERE ILLNESS, LIKE WE'VE SEEN WITH THE DELTA VARIANT, AND WE ARE USING A COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE TO HELP GUIDE PEOPLE'S DECISIONS AS THEY MOVE IN AND AROUND OUR COMMUNITY SO THAT THEY CAN BE INFORMED ABOUT WHEN IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO, IN A RECOMMENDED IDEA, TO WEAR A MASK AND INDOOR PUBLIC SPACES WHERE THEY ARE NOT AWARE OF THE STATUS OF SOMEBODY'S VACCINATION OR WHETHER OR NOT SOMEBODY'S HAVING SYMPTOMS AND ILL FROM COVID-19.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, WHAT IS AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH TIMETABLE FOR HAVING THE MAJORITY OF CHILDREN VACCINATED? I THINK THAT'S A REALLY GREAT QUESTION.

WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT IS AGAIN, THERE'S 115,000 CHILDREN ESTIMATED THAT ARE IN THAT NEWLY ELIGIBLE POPULATION BETWEEN THE FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLD AGE RANGE.

WE THINK IT IS CRITICAL THAT BEFORE THE DECEMBER HOLIDAYS THAT WE GET MAJORITY OF THOSE CHILDREN VACCINATED, AND THAT IS OUR EFFORT.

WE ARE IN A FULL COURT PRESS TO TRY TO GET AS MANY CHILDREN THAT FIRST DOSE BEFORE THEY BREAK FOR THANKSGIVING.

WE HAVE, I'VE ASKED OUR STAFF TO WORK REALLY HARD TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE OFFERING EVENING AND WEEKEND OPPORTUNITIES AND THAT WE CAN GET AND MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY'RE AT, SO THAT THEY CAN GET THAT VACCINE FOR THEIR CHILD.

AND THEN WE ARE WORKING TO MAKE SURE THAT IN DECEMBER, THROUGHOUT THE MONTHS OF THE MONTH OF DECEMBER, THOSE WEEKS, THAT WE HAVE THOSE CLINICS AVAILABLE AND THAT WE ARE POPPING UP ALL OVER THE COUNTY TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE'S AN AVAILABLE SPACE FOR THESE CHILDREN TO GET THEIR VACCINE.

THANKS, CASSIE.

I THINK ANOTHER IMPORTANT PART OF THAT IS THAT WE ARE WORKING WITH OUR PROVIDER COMMUNITY, UM, TO ASSESS CAPACITY AND PROVIDE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE, ANYTHING FROM TRANSFERRING SMALLER DOSES OF VACCINE OR HELPING YOU, UH, THROUGH THE REIMBURSEMENT PROCESS.

SO AGAIN, WE KNOW THAT IT TAKES A VILLAGE.

AND SO DEFINITELY AS A PROVIDER, WE'RE GOING TO BE IN THOSE SPACES AS A PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND A CONVENER.

WE'RE GOING TO WORK WITH OUR PHYSICIANS IN OUR PHARMACY, RETAIL PHARMACY TO SUPPORT THEIR EFFORTS.

AND, UM, WE'RE GOING TO SUPPORT COMMUNITY EFFORTS LIKE THE TRAVIS COUNTY COLLABORATIVE AND THOSE OTHER BOOTS ON THE GROUND, UM, CLINICS THAT WE'VE CONTINUED TO SUPPORT THROUGHOUT THE PANDEMIC, AND THEN WE'RE READY TO SCALE UP.

AND SO WE WE'VE REALLY BEEN INTENTIONAL ABOUT OUR PLANNING, NOT ONLY TO ENSURE THAT AS A DIRECT SERVICE PROVIDER WE'RE READY, BUT ALSO AS YOUR COMMUNITY'S PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT, WE'RE DOING OUR ROLE IN SUPPORTING OUR ENTIRE COMMUNITY'S CAPACITY TO GET THIS DONE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM FOX SEVEN, WHERE ARE PEDIATRIC

[00:40:01]

VACCINES AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW? IT SEEMS YOU AVAILABLE THROUGH AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, UM, THROUGH PHARMACIES, UH, LOCAL PROVIDERS, UH, FEDERALLY QUALIFIED HEALTH CLINICS.

UM, WE HAVE MOBILE UNITS.

UM, THE COUNTY COLLABORATIVE HAS A STRIKE FORCE TEAM.

THAT'S BEEN OUT IN THE COMMUNITY, DELIVERING VACCINE TO ADULTS AND CHILDREN ALREADY W AND PARTNERS WITH US IN ALL THAT WE DO.

UM, WE HAVE, UM, UH, A CADRE OF PEOPLE THAT ARE READY TO GO EXCITED TO VACCINATE THE FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLDS IN OUR COMMUNITY, AND IT VACCINES WIDELY AVAILABLE.

AND WE ARE ALL READY TO GET THIS JOB DONE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KVU, IF YOU DON'T GET THE EXPECTED AMOUNT OF KIDS VACCINATED IN THE NEXT WEEK OR SO, HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU THAT OUR AREA COULD SEE ANOTHER SURGE OVER THE HOLIDAYS? WE ARE CONSTANTLY SURVEILLING WHAT HAPPENS HERE IN OUR COUNTY, AND THAT IS WHY WE'RE LOOKING AT THIS COMMUNITY BASED TRANSMISSION RATE CLOSELY.

AS WE MAKE DECISIONS TO CHANGE OUR STAGING, AS WELL AS IN CONTINUING GOING FORWARD.

UH, WE WILL BE ALWAYS LOOKING AT THE SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS.

WE WANT TO PROTECT OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM.

THAT IS WHERE OUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS ARE TAKING CARE OF THOSE WHO ARE VERY SICK WITH COVID-19 AND STILL ARE.

UM, THERE ARE STILL OVER 110 PATIENTS THAT ARE IN HOSPITAL WITH COVID-19.

IT'S NOT OVER, IT'S NOT GONE.

THE STORM IS HERE.

IT'S JUST NOT AS SEVERE AS IT WAS A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO.

SO WE ARE STILL CONCERNED.

THIS IS THE SEASON FOR RESPIRATORY ILLNESS TO SPREAD IN INDOOR SPACES WHEN YOU'RE IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS, ENJOYING A HOLIDAY.

SO WE ARE HERE TODAY TO SAY, YES, OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS ARE GETTING A BREATHER.

UM, AND WE WANT EVERYBODY INCLUDING OUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND TIME WITH THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS OVER THE HOLIDAY SEASON.

SO WHEN WE'RE IN PUBLIC SPACES WHERE I'M ASKING DOORS, UM, AND IF YOU'RE NOT VACCINATED AND YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR A VACCINE, BECAUSE YOU'RE OVER THE AGE OF FIVE, PLEASE CONSIDER GOING TO ANY ONE OF THE PROVIDERS JUST MENTIONED AND GETTING THAT VACCINE FOR COVID-19.

AND FOR THE FLU, IF YOU'RE INDOCTRINATED FOR FLU, IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR A BASER, PLEASE GO AND GET YOUR BEST OR SHOT.

WE DO WANT OUR COMMUNITY TO SEE THE END OF THIS PANDEMIC.

UM, AND WE DO WANT THAT WHERE EVERYONE, UM, SO WE'RE HERE TODAY TO ASK YOU TO JUST HANG ON A LITTLE LONGER AND DO WHAT IT TAKES TO GET US OUT OF THIS.

AND I'LL JUST ADD ON TO WHAT DR.

WACHS IS SAYING.

UH, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A FAIRLY LARGE AND VACCINATED POPULATION AND WE ARE STILL IN COMMUNITY-BASED TRANSMISSION RISK LEVEL OF SUBSTANTIAL RISK TO THE COMMUNITY.

I THINK THERE IS THE POTENTIAL THERE THAT WE COULD HAVE A SURGE AFTER THE HOLIDAYS, IF PEOPLE ARE NOT CAREFUL.

AND THUS, THIS IS A REASON WE CONTINUE TO PREACH PREVENTION, YOU KNOW, AND PROTECTION OF THOSE THAT ARE VULNERABLE AND TO GET VACCINATED.

THE LAST QUESTION COMES FROM UNIVISION.

WHAT DO YOU SAY TO PARENTS WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF THE COVID-19 VACCINE? WE SAY THAT THE ENTITIES THAT WE LOOK TO TO PROTECT US IN THIS COUNTRY AND MAKE SURE THAT WHAT IS, UM, AVAILABLE TO US AS SAFE HAVE DONE THEIR DUE DILIGENCE.

AND THE STUDIES SHOWED THAT THE VACCINE IS SAFE.

THERE'S BEEN OVER 400,000 PEOPLE, MILLION PEOPLE, SORRY, WHO HAS RECEIVED COVID 19 VACCINE.

UM, AND WE, WE SAY THAT THE DATA SHOWS THE SAFETY OF THE VACCINE.

[00:45:02]

THE SAME DILIGENCE WAS TAKEN FOR THE PEDIATRIC VACCINES.

UM, THE STUDIES THAT WERE DONE FOR THE FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLD AGE GROUP SHOWED A SAFETY PROFILE, UM, THAT SHOWED THAT WE COULD, BY GIVING A MILLION, JUST A MILLION CHILDREN, UM, VACCINATIONS IN THE FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLD AGE GROUP, WE COULD PREVENT OVER 58,000 CASES OF COVID-19 IN THE FIVE TO 11 YEAR AGE GROUP.

UM, 226 HOSPITALIZATIONS CAN BE PREVENTED.

UM, DEATHS COULD BE PREVENTED.

ALL OF THIS HAS BEEN DONE.

AND, UM, WE LOOKED TO THIS GROUP WHERE THEIR GUIDANCE AND THEY HAVE SAID, AND SHOWN US THAT THE VACCINE IS SAFE.

SO I URGE EVERYONE WHO HAS NOT BEEN VACCINATED TO GET VACCINATED.

AND THOSE THAT HAVE CHILDREN IN THAT FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLD AGE GROUP THAT HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOMENT.

I ASK YOU TO GET OUT THERE AND GET YOUR CHILDREN VACCINATED, AND LET'S LOOK FORWARD TO HAVING A SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS, THAT CONCLUDES OUR MEDIA AVAILABILITY FOR TODAY.

THANK YOU TO DR.

DEZ MAR WALKS, INTERIM APH DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET PICHETTE, CASSANDRA DAILY ON APH CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION, HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION, AND TO OUR POLL REPORTER SANGEETA MINYAN FROM KUT.

THANKS FOR JOINING US AND HAVE A SAFE WEEKEND.



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