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[00:00:06]

GOOD MORNING.

I'M LASHONDRA SHAW PIO FOR THE CITY OF AUSTIN AND THE MODERATOR FOR TODAY'S PRESS CONFERENCE.

SPANISH INTERPRETATION IS AVAILABLE ON ATX IN THREE TO START, WE WILL HAVE OPENING REMARKS BY DR.

DEZ MAR WALKS, AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY FOLLOWED BY ADRIAN STIRRUP, INTERIM DIRECTOR, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH.

THEN JANET PICHETTE, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, AND CASSANDRA DE LEON AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION.

WE WILL THEN OPEN IT UP TO OUR POOL.

REPORTER WILL ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA, DR.

WALKS OVER TO YOU.

GOOD MORNING.

WE ARE HERE THIS MORNING TO MAKE OUR PLEA FOR OUR COMMUNITY TO STAY SAFE THIS WEEK, WHEN YOU'RE GATHERING WITH THOSE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD.

UM, OUR COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE, WHICH IS ONE OF OUR KEY INDICATORS FOR STAGING IS ON THE RISE.

AND AS WE HEAD INTO THIS HOLIDAY WEEKEND, WE ASK THAT, UH, WE TAKE THE MEASURES THAT WE KNOW WORK, UH, TO HELP DECREASE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19, UM, IN OUR COMMUNITY.

BUT IN PARTICULAR IN OUR FAMILY GATHERINGS, UM, COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE IS CRITICAL IN TRACKING SEARCHES, AND WE MUST CONTINUE TO EMPHASIZE THAT THE DATA THAT WE'RE USING TO MAKE THE DECISIONS THAT WE MAKE, UM, WHEN WE'RE MOVING BETWEEN SEARCHES, UM, INCLUDES THIS AS WELL AS OUR HOSPITALIZATION RATES, THE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION, THE WAY THIS, UH, VIRUS IS SPREADING IN OUR COMMUNITY IS SOMETHING THAT TENDS TO HAPPEN BEFORE, UM, HOSPITALIZATIONS.

SO A PERSON GETS SICK AND THEN AFTER SEVEN TO 10 DAYS, THEY REQUIRE HOSPITALIZATION.

SO WE'RE USING THIS TO HELP GUIDE OUR, UM, GUIDANCE FOR THE COMMUNITY AREAS IN OF OUR, IN OUR STATE AND IN OUR COUNTRY ARE TRENDING UP IN CASES AREAS WHERE VACCINE RIGHTS ARE GOOD, THEY'RE HIGH, UM, BUT THERE'S A LAGGING OR LACKS, A USE OF MASKING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING.

AND IN AREAS WHERE THIS IS, UH, THESE INCREASE IN CASES ARE HAPPENING.

WE'RE ALSO NOTICING THAT THERE ARE, UM, FOLKS THAT ARE GETTING SICK, WHO NEED TO HAVE BOOSTERS.

SO, UH, IT'S A COMBINATION OF FACTORS THAT ARE IMPACTING THESE SURGES THAT WE'RE SEEING IN PLACES LIKE COLORADO AND CLOSE TO HOME AND EL PASO AND AMARILLO.

SO WE WANT TO KEEP THE MOST HIGH RISK PEOPLE IN MIND WHEN WE'RE GATHERING THIS WEEK AND OPEN WINDOWS AND STAY OUTDOORS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE WEAR MASKS AROUND PEOPLE WHO YOU DON'T KNOW IF THEY'RE VACCINATE OR NOT, OR, AND IF YOU CAN'T SOCIALLY DISTANCE WEAR THAT MASK, THE ONLY THING THAT YOU SHOULD BE BRINGING TO THE THANKSGIVING TABLE THIS YEAR IS THE FIXIN'S NOT COVID.

SO IF YOU'VE GOT SOME SYMPTOMS, YOU'RE NOT SURE BECAUSE YOU'VE BEEN AROUND FOLKS THAT YOU DON'T LIVE WITH, UM, GO GET TESTED AND MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE NOT SICK AND PROTECT THOSE THAT YOU LOVE.

UM, BOOSTER SHOTS ARE AVAILABLE LAST WEEK, THE CDC, UH, COMMITTEE, UH, ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON IMMUNIZATION PRACTICES, ACEP GATHERED, AND THEY DECIDED TO RECOMMEND BOOSTER SHOTS FOR ALL, UM, WHO ARE OVER THE AGE OF 18.

THIS WAS, UM, DECISION THAT WAS MADE BECAUSE WE ARE SEEING NATIONALLY THAT IN LATE OCTOBER, OUR, UM, COMMUNITY COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE NATIONALLY WAS AT 60,000 CASES PER A HUNDRED THOUSAND.

AND AS OF THE MIDDLE OF NOVEMBER, THERE WAS A CLIMB IN THOSE CASES AND INCREASING THE NUMBER OF CASES TO WELL OVER 80,000 CASES PER A HUNDRED THOUSAND.

AND SO THAT, UM, IS A STARK INCREASE THAT PROMPTED OUR LEADERS IN THE CDC TO EXAMINE THE NEED FOR BOOSTERS, PARTICULARLY FOR THOSE WHO GOT THEIR VACCINATION SHOTS EARLY ON, THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT WE IDENTIFIED AS BEING MOST VULNERABLE.

AND THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE WE NEED TO PROTECT TODAY.

IF YOU GET YOUR BOOSTER SHOT AS

[00:05:01]

SOON AS POSSIBLE, UM, IT WILL TAKE EFFECT AFTER 14 DAYS OF RECEIPT OF THAT SHOT, AND YOU'LL BE IN GOOD SHAPE FOR CHRISTMAS.

THE BEST FORM OF GIVING IS TO GET YOUR BOOSTER.

AND FOR THOSE WHO'VE NOT BEEN VACCINATED AND DISHES RECENTLY PUBLISHED THAT THERE LOOK AT HOW MANY PEOPLE IN TEXAS DO NOT HAVE ANTIBIOTIC COVERAGE.

THEY FOUND THAT 25% OF TOXINS DON'T HAVE ANTIBIOTIC COVERAGE.

SO VACCINATED AND UNVACCINATED INDIVIDUALS NEED TO GO OUT THERE AND GET THEIR VACCINE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AS WELL.

I WILL ONE THIS BY SAYING THAT I'M THANKFUL TO BE A PART OF THIS AUSTIN COMMUNITY AND THANKFUL TO BE PART OF APH.

UM, AUSTIN HAS DONE AN EXCELLENT JOB AT LEADING THE WAY, UM, AS FAR AS WORKING TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY TO PROTECT ITSELF, UH, FROM THE SPREAD OF COVID-19, WE'VE JUST COME OUT OF A DELTA SEARCH.

UM, THE DELTA VARIANT IS MUCH MORE TRANSMISSIBLE.

UM, IT MAKES, UH, THOSE WHO WERE ILL WITH THE VIRUS, UH, CARRY TWO TIMES AS MUCH VIRUS.

AND IN THE PERIOD OF TIME, BEFORE YOU DEVELOP SYMPTOMS, YOU'RE SPREADING ILLNESS.

SO IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE PAY ATTENTION TO OUR SURROUNDINGS.

UM, IF WE'RE IN AN INDOOR SPACE, IN A PUBLIC AREA WITH PEOPLE THAT WE DO NOT KNOW, UM, OR DON'T KNOW WHAT THEIR VACCINATION STATUS IS, OR IF THEY'RE, UM, POSSIBLY ILL, IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO WEAR A MASK AND DOORS.

THE CDC RECOMMENDS IN AREAS WITH HIGH OR SUBSTANTIAL COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION THAT WE WEAR A MASK TO PROTECT OURSELVES AND GIVE OURSELVES AN EXTRA LAYER OF PROTECTION.

WE KNOW WHAT WORKS, WE'VE DONE IT BEFORE.

WE'VE HAD SEVERAL OTHER SURGES IN OUR RECENT PAST.

IN THIS LAST SURGE, WE LOST 30% OF ALL.

THOSE THAT HAVE DIED DURING THIS PANDEMIC, DELTA IS 99%, A HUNDRED PERCENT OF WHAT WE'RE SEEING RIGHT NOW IS THE VARIANT OF THIS COVID-19 VIRUS.

I'D LIKE TO SAY THAT WE IN AUSTIN ARE GOING TO AVOID HAVING ANOTHER SURGE.

LET'S PROVE THEM WRONG.

LET'S HAVE THANKSGIVING TOGETHER WITH OUR FAMILY SAFELY, AND I WISH YOU ALL HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS.

UM, THAT WAS A LOT OF GOOD INFORMATION.

AND I'M GOING TO START OUT ON THE THEME OF THINGS.

UM, DEFINITELY THE HOLIDAYS ARE THAT TIME OF YEAR WHERE WE THINK OF ALL THE THINGS THAT WE'RE THANKFUL FOR.

WE MAKE PLANS FOR OURSELVES AND OUR FAMILIES TO GO INTO THE NEW YEAR.

AND SO WITH THAT THEME OF BANKS, I JUST WANT TO MENTION THAT YESTERDAY WAS, UM, NATIONAL PUBLIC HEALTH APPRECIATION DAY.

AND SO I JUST WANT TO TAKE THIS MOMENT TO APPRECIATE THE FANTABULOUS AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH EMPLOYEES, THAT WORK HARD DAY IN AND DAY OUT TO PREVENT, PROTECT AND PROMOTE THE HEALTH OF AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY RESIDENTS.

SO WHETHER YOU'VE ENGAGED WITH US AS AT A VACCINE CLINIC, YOU WENT TO ONE OF OUR, UM, OTHER CLINICS WHERE WE OFFER A PREVENTATIVE HEALTH SERVICES.

YOU WERE AT WIC, YOU WERE AT OUR NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICE CENTERS, GETTING HELP AT THE FOOD PANTRY.

YOU'RE A VENDOR WHO PARTICIPATES WITH US IN A CONTRACT WE'LL AGREEMENT TO PROVIDE SERVICES TO COMMUNITY.

YOU'RE THE IT GUYS THAT HELP KEEP US GOING, OR YOU'RE THE BUDGET FOLKS THAT CRUNCH THE NUMBERS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE.

I APPRECIATE YOU.

AND I THANK YOU FOR THE WORK THAT YOU DO EACH AND EVERY DAY FOR THIS COMMUNITY.

AND WHEN WE TALK ABOUT REFLECTION, RIGHT, THIS TIME LAST YEAR, THE MESSAGE WAS STAY AT HOME BECAUSE WE DIDN'T HAVE THE VACCINE.

WE WERE ALSO ON THE VERGE OF A SEARCH.

SINCE THAT TIME WITH PARTNERS, WE HAVE MANAGED TO ADMINISTER ALMOST A HALF A MILLION DOSES OF VACCINE AND PROVIDED OVER 69,000 TESTS BECAUSE OF THAT EFFORT.

77% OF RESIDENTS IN AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY FIVE AND OVER ARE, HAVE RECEIVED.

AT LEAST ONE DOSE OF THE VACCINE ARE SIX, ARE A 65 IN THE POPULATION HAS REALLY TAKEN THE CHALLENGE ON AND 95% OF OUR RESIDENTS IN THAT AGE GROUP HAVE RECEIVED AT LEAST WINDOWS.

AND SO WE HEARD THE INFORMATION THAT DR.

WACHS GAVE US TODAY.

WE KNOW ABOUT COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE AND HOW THAT CAN KIND OF PREDICT THE SURGE.

WE SEE WHAT'S GOING ON NATIONALLY AND CLOSE TO HOME IN EL PASO AND IN AMARILLO.

AND SO WHAT WE WANT YOU TO DO IS TO CONTINUE TO PUSH AHEAD AND PRACTICE THOSE PREVENTATIVE

[00:10:01]

MEASURES THAT SHE TALKED ABOUT.

IF YOU'RE HAVING SYMPTOMS GET TESTED, UM, IT'S PROBABLY TOO LATE TO BE FULLY PROTECTED FOR THANKSGIVING, BUT IF IT'S ON YOUR LIST OF THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU'RE RUNNING OUT TO GET THAT LAST MINUTE CHICKEN BROTH OR THAT ROSEMARY OR THAT STAGE, GO AHEAD AND GET A DOSE OF VACCINE.

UM, THINK ABOUT YOUR HOLIDAY GATHERING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, BE OUTSIDE AND HAVE YOUR WINDOWS OPEN.

OR THE SIMPLEST THING THAT WE CAN DO IS WEAR A MASK.

AND WITH THAT, I WILL PASS IT ON TO JANET.

PICHET GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

UH, I'M GOING TO CONTINUE ON THIS THEME OF THANKS AND REFLECTION OVER THE LAST YEAR.

AND THIS TIME LAST YEAR, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH STAFF WERE VERY HARD AT WORK, UH, BEGINNING THE SURGE THAT WOULD SEEM, UH, KIND OF OVERWHELMING US DURING THE HOLLIS HOLIDAY SEASONS.

UH, STAFF WORKED HARD WITH SEE THROUGHOUT THANKSGIVING AND CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE, THE COMMUNITY WAS SAFE AND THAT WE WERE TRYING TO KEEP THINGS AT BAY, BUT, UH, WE MANAGE TO HAVE UNFORTUNATELY A FAIRLY LARGE SURGE.

AND SO, AS I REFLECT BACK ON LAST YEAR, JUST TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA, WE MANAGED TO, UH, MAKE IT THROUGH TWO MAJOR SURGES IN THE AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY COMMUNITY.

UH, YOU KNOW, WE HAD OUR HOLIDAY SURGE AT BEGAN THIS TIME LAST YEAR.

UH, WE WERE, WE WERE SEEING THE REPERCUSSIONS FROM, UH, UH, HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES LAST YEAR AND BEGINNING TO SEE A STARK INCREASE IN CASES ABOUT THIS TIME LAST YEAR.

AND, UM, WE ALSO MADE IT THROUGH THE DELTA SURGE, WHICH WAS, WAS HUGE AND VERY IMPACTFUL.

JUST TO GIVE YOU SOME PERSPECTIVE ABOUT THESE TWO MAJOR PANDEMIC WAVES, UH, FROM LAST YEAR IS THAT AT THIS TIME, LAST YEAR ON NOVEMBER 25TH, WE REPORTED 37,000 CASES ROUGHLY AROUND 37,000 CASES OF CONFIRMED CASES.

TODAY, WE'RE REPORTING OUT 122,000 CASES.

THAT'S ALMOST 80 AND 85,000, UH, ADDITIONAL CONFIRMED CASES THAT WE'VE SEEN SINCE THIS TIME LAST YEAR.

THAT'S HUGE.

UH, AND MUCH, MUCH OF THAT WAS RELATED TO THOSE TWO SURGES.

THERE WERE, AT THIS TIME WE REPORTED LAST YEAR, 483 DEATHS.

RIGHT NOW, WE ARE GOING TO REPORT OUT TODAY 1,184 DEATHS.

UH, THAT'S AN ADDITIONAL 701 DEATHS IN A ONE-YEAR PERIOD, AND IT WAS PRETTY MAJOR.

SO WE ARE DOING ALL THAT WE CAN AND ENCOURAGING YOU TO BE RESPONSIBLE AND, AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON.

AND SO WITH THAT, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT IF YOU DO PLAN TO CELEBRATE THAT PEOPLE ARE VACCINATED, AND IF THEY'RE NOT TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE WEARING THEIR MASKS AND PROTECTING LOVED ONES, IF YOU'RE OUT SHOPPING JUST TO BE SAFE, YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE ALSO MASKING THAT BECAUSE YOU MAY NOT ENCOUNTER, WE HAVE A LOT OF VISITORS COMING AND WE MAY ENCOUNTER SOMEONE WHO MAY BE POSITIVE.

AND IF YOU HAVE SOMEONE AT HOME THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO PROTECT, YOU KNOW, GO AHEAD AND MASK THAT, MAKE SURE YOU'RE TESTING YOURSELF IF YOU'RE NOT VACCINATED.

AND, AND IF YOU ARE VACCINATED, JUST BE SAFE OUT THERE.

UM, YOU KNOW, OUR GOAL IS TO FLATTEN THE CURVE THUS FAR, WE'VE KEPT, UH, HALLOWEEN HA YOU KNOW, WE, WE CAME OFF THE HOW HALLOWEEN, UH, HOLIDAYS, AND WE'VE PRETTY MUCH KEPT, UH, THE CASES AT BAY, BUT WE WANT TO MAINTAIN A FLATTENED CURVE AS WE ENTER INTO THE HOLIDAY SEASON, AS WE ENTER INTO COLD AND FLU SEASON.

AND SO, UH, IT'S GOING TO BE ALL THE MORE CRUCIAL TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE VACCINE ON GORE, UH, IN THE COMING MONTHS, AS YOU GET READY FOR, UH, THE CHRISTMAS AND OTHER HOLIDAYS, UH, AND TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE DOING THOSE PREVENTION MEASURES THAT WE ALWAYS ASK YOU TO DO, UH, TO KEEP YOUR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY SAFE.

UM, YOU KNOW, THAT'S THE GOAL.

WE WANT TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE HOLIDAY, JUST, AND THE REASON WHY I KEEP TALKING ABOUT SOME OF THESE NUMBERS IS, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE JUST TO KIND OF GIVE YOU AN IDEA.

WE'VE SEEN A 33% INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF NEWLY CONFIRMED CASES SINCE LAST WEEK FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK BEFORE THAT.

SO WE ARE BEGINNING TO SEE SLIGHT UPTICKS IN OUR INDICATORS, AND, YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW, ONE REASON WHY WE HAVE NOT CHANGED THE STAGES UPON THE POSSIBILITY THAT WE WERE LOOKING AT MULTIPLE INDICATORS HERE, WE'RE LOOKING

[00:15:01]

AT, YOU KNOW, IN THE SUMMER, WE FOCUSED VERY HEAVILY ON HOSPITALIZATION AND THE STRESS THAT HOSPITALIZATION WAS HAVING ON OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, BUT IT'S MORE THAN JUST ONE INDICATOR THAT WE FOLLOW, UH, OVER, UH, THE COURSE OF THE PANDEMIC AND TO MAKE SURE WE'RE MONITORING, UH, THE COMMUNITY COMMUNITY'S HEALTH, YOU KNOW, UH, WE'RE CHECKING THE PULSE AND WE'RE CHECKING ALL THE OTHER TYPES OF INDICATORS THAT MAY, UH, MAY, YOU KNOW, KIND OF HIGHLIGHT THE POTENTIAL SURGE THAT MIGHT OCCUR IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND SO WITH THAT, ONE OF THEM IS A NEW COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE, WHICH IS ACTUALLY LOOKING AT NUMBER OF NEW CASES, UH, OVER A SEVEN DAY PERIOD AND, UM, AND OUR TEST POSITIVITY RATES.

SO WITH THAT, I'LL LEAVE THAT.

I JUST WANT YOU ALL TO HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY, UH, AND THANKSGIVING THERE'S A LOT TO BE THANKFUL FOR, AND I WILL TURN IT OVER TO CASSIE.

THANK YOU, JANET.

UM, AND WE ARE EXCITED TO BE COMING TO YOU AT THIS PHASE IN RESPONSE, AS WE'RE LOOKING AHEAD TO THE HOLIDAY SEASON, KNOWING THAT AS A COMMUNITY, WE HAVE DONE A LOT TO, UM, PREPARE TO BE SAFE, UH, AND TO, TO WORK TOWARD, UM, MAKING SURE THAT WE CAN GATHER TOGETHER SAFELY.

UM, BUT IT'S AN IMPORTANT MOMENT TO REALLY STOP AND THINK ABOUT, UH, WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO MAKE SURE THAT, UM, WE CELEBRATE, UH, AND WE ARE ABLE TO LOOK AHEAD INTO OUR DECEMBER HOLIDAYS KNOWING THAT, UM, WE WON'T, UH, WON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT OUR LOVED ONES, POTENTIALLY GETTING SICK.

UM, AND SO THAT'S, THAT'S, THAT'S WHAT WE LIVE ON TO TALK ABOUT TODAY.

AND WE KNOW THAT WITHIN, UH, TRAVIS COUNTY, UH, WE BEGAN, UH, ADMINISTERING OUR VACCINES AND MINISTERING BOOSTERS.

NOW THAT WE, UH, KNOW THAT THE 18 ANYONE 18 AND OLDER IS RECOMMENDED FOR A BOOSTER, WE REALLY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT THEY'RE AVAILABLE.

THEY'RE FREE.

UM, YOU DON'T HAVE TO, UH, HAVE INSURANCE AND YOU DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT YOUR, UM, RESIDENT STATUS.

YOU, YOU, I, YOU SHOULD, EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO VACCINES.

WE REALLY WANNA ENCOURAGE ANYONE.

WHO'S LOOKING TO GET VACCINATED TO MAKE THOSE PLANS, TO GET THOSE VACCINES.

IF YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN IT YET, GO GET YOUR VACCINE.

IF YOU NEED YOUR SECOND DOSE, GET YOUR SECOND DOSE.

AND ANYONE 18 AND OLDER CAN GET A BOOSTER DOSE IF IT'S TIME.

SO GET YOUR VACCINE CARD OUT AND CHECK AND SEE IF YOU WERE VACCINATED FULLY VACCINATED, MAY IT'S TIME.

SO GET YOUR VACCINE CARD OUT AND CHECK IT OUT.

AND YOU CAN GO TO A LOT OF DIFFERENT LOCATIONS ARE OFFERING THE BOOSTER DOSE.

UM, TODAY'S A GOOD DAY TO GET IT.

CAUSE IF YOU HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS TOMORROW, YOU'RE GOOD AND READY FOR THURSDAY, YOU'LL BE READY FOR THE WEEKEND TO DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.

UM, YEAH, THE THING, UH, JUST WANT TO NOTE THAT, UM, WE'RE ALSO SEEING AND WORKING COLLABORATIVELY QUITE A BIT WITH OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR YOUNGEST POPULATION THAT'S BEEN IDENTIFIED AS NEWLY ELIGIBLE ARE FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLDS ARE GETTING ACCESS TO VACCINE.

AND WE'RE REALLY ENCOURAGED BECAUSE WE'RE SEEING, UM, FAMILIES REALLY CONSIDERING THAT CHOICE AND MAKING THAT DECISION.

UM, WE'RE ONE OF THE, UM, MOST PROGRESSIVE AREAS THAT HAVE SEEN AN INCREASE IN, IN THAT FIVE 11 POPULATION SEEING ALMOST 20%, UM, OR RIGHT AT 19% OF THAT POPULATION HAS RECEIVED THEIR FIRST DOSE.

SO THAT'S REALLY ENCOURAGING, UM, AND NOTING THAT, UH, IT'S IMPORTANT WHEN IT'S TIME FOR THE SECOND DOSE, THOSE CHILDREN WILL, WILL BE FULLY VACCINATED IN TIME FOR THE, UM, NEXT HOLIDAYS THAT WE HAVE UPCOMING.

AND SO THEY ARE GETTING SOME LAYER OF PROTECTION.

UM, IN ADDITION TO THAT, EVEN, UH, OUR OTHER POPULATION ARE 12 TO 15 YEAR OLDS THAT, UH, WE'RE, WE'RE, UM, EXPANDED AT THE BEGINNING OF SUMMER.

THEY ALSO HAVE DONE SOME, WE'VE MADE SOME GREAT STRIDES AND WE SEE THAT THAT POPULATION IS 65% FULLY VACCINATED.

SO THAT'S REALLY INCREDIBLE TO SEE THAT WE'VE GOT ALL THOSE CHILDREN THAT PREVIOUSLY HAD NO LAYER OF PROTECTION.

NOW WE'RE GETTING SOME LAYER AND, AND IT GIVES US MORE PEACE OF MIND AS WE KNOW THAT WE'LL BE GATHERING, UM, WITH, UM, WITH OUR OLDER GENERATIONS, UH, WITH OUR GRANDPARENTS, WITH OUR PARENTS, WITH OUR EXTENDED FAMILIES DURING THIS WEEKEND TO NOTE THAT ALL OF THOSE, UH, THAT ARE COMING TOGETHER HAVE HAD POTENTIALLY HAD THAT VACCINE.

BUT WE ALSO WANT TO THINK ABOUT, IS THERE STILL A LARGE PORTION OF OUR POPULATION HERE IN TRAVIS COUNTY THAT ARE NOT VACCINATED EITHER.

THEY JUST HAVEN'T MADE THAT DECISION YET, OR THEY'RE PART OF THE POPULATION THAT, UM, ISN'T ELIGIBLE.

UM, WE KNOW THAT EVERYONE UNDER FIVE CAN'T GET A VACCINE AND WE STILL KNOW THAT THOSE THAT ARE FIVE TO 11 DON'T HAVE THAT FULL PROTECTION YET BECAUSE THE VACCINE HASN'T BEEN AVAILABLE LONG ENOUGH FOR THEM TO GET THE SECOND DOSE.

SO WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE AND THINK ABOUT THOSE POPULATIONS AS WE MOVE INTO THIS HOLIDAY SEASON,

[00:20:01]

BECAUSE WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE'RE, WE'RE PROTECTING EACH OTHER.

UM, SO STILL WORKED TOWARDS GETTING VACCINATED, STILL WORK TOWARDS, UM, UTILIZING YOUR MASK.

ALL OF THE THINGS THAT ARE ARE WE'RE COMING, WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT TODAY AND WE WERE COMING TO YOU AND GIVING YOU THOSE TOOLS TO STAY PROTECTED.

WE WANT TO KEEP THOSE IN MIND AS WE, AS WE GATHER TO CELEBRATE AND TO CLOSE OUT, I'M JUST THANKFUL THAT FOR THIS COMMUNITY, WE'VE HAD A LONG, LONG TIME, UH, WORKING WITH THIS PANDEMIC AND WE'VE DONE WHAT WE NEED TO DO.

WE'VE WE KNOW WHAT WE CAN DO.

WE KNOW WE CAN USE MASKS.

WE KNOW HOW TO SOCIAL DISTANCE.

WE KNOW HOW TO DO THIS SAFELY, AND WE'VE DONE A GOOD JOB GETTING VACCINATED.

WE'RE ONE OF THE HIGHEST VACCINATED COUNTIES IN THE STATE.

UM, WE ARE, UM, HAVE HIGHER VACCINATION RATES THAN, THAN OTHER MAJOR METROS IN THE STATE, UH, FOR ALL AGE CATEGORIES.

THAT IS AN IMPRESSIVE, UM, THAT'S IMPRESSIVE FOR US.

AND THAT JUST GIVES US THAT ASSURANCE, THAT WE'RE DOING A LOT TO STAY PROTECTED, BUT IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW WE'RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET, AND WE KNOW WHAT TO DO.

SO AGAIN, I'M JUST SO THANKFUL FOR US AS A COMMUNITY THAT WE, WE ARE WORKING TOGETHER AND BEING CONSIDERATE OF EACH OTHER, PARTICULARLY AT THIS TIME, UH, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE WERE SAFE AS A, AS A OVERALL COMMUNITY.

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

THANK YOU.

AT THIS TIME, WE WILL OPEN IT UP TO OUR POOL REPORTER, BRIDGET SPENCER FROM FOX SEVEN TO ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA BRIDGET MORNING, EVERYONE.

THANKS FOR HAVING US.

UM, FIRST QUESTION COME FROM US.

UM, EARLIER IN THE PANDEMIC, YOU KNOW, YOU GUYS TALKED ABOUT AS FAR AS MOVING STAGES, THE THRESHOLD WAS HOSPITAL HOSPITALIZATIONS AND ADMISSIONS, ET CETERA.

SO IT WAS COMMUNITY TRANS TRANSMISSION RATE BEING CONSIDERED FOR THE THRESHOLDS EARLIER IN THE PANDEMIC.

AND IF NOT, WHY IS IT BEING USED NOW, WE'VE BEEN CONSIDERING A NUMBER OF FACTORS AS THE DECISION WAS BEING MADE TO CHANGE STAGES.

AND MOST RECENTLY, UM, BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN, UH, ABLE TO USE THE ASSISTANCE OF THE UT MODELING GROUP.

WE LOOKED AT OUR MODEL PROJECTIONS BASED ON THE PRESENCE OF THE DELTA VARIANT OF COVID-19 IN OUR COMMUNITY AND SAW THAT THERE WAS A POSSIBILITY FOR A SURGE TO OCCUR.

UM, IF WE MOVED QUICKLY FROM STAGE THREE TO STAGE TWO WITH JUST LOOKING AT THE SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF HOSPITALIZATIONS, AND IT SHOWED THAT INDEED, THAT WAS THE CASE.

AND IN ORDER TO AVOID THAT, UM, FROM HAPPENED, KEEP THAT FROM HAPPENING.

WE NEEDED SOMETHING THAT WOULD HELP GUIDE THE COMMUNITY'S ACTIONS AND BEHAVIORS.

AND SO WITHOUT ADDING THE COMMUNITY-BASED, UH, TRANSMISSION RATE, THE NUMBER OF CASES PER A HUNDRED THOUSAND IN A SEVEN DAY PERIOD, WE WERE ABLE, WE WERE ABLE TO INFORM THE COMMUNITY ABOUT WHAT THEIR RISK OF CATCHING COVID-19 WHEN THEY'RE OUT IN PUBLIC SPACES, PARTICULARLY INDOORS WOULD BE, UM, CAUSE THIS IS A COMMUNITY EFFORT AND THE COMMUNITY HAS THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE COURSE OF THE PANDEMIC.

SO BY ADDING THIS, IT WAS SHOWN BY MODELING THAT WE COULD AVOID HAVING ANOTHER SURGE.

SO THAT'S WHY WE'VE ADDED THAT TO OUR RISK BASE CHART.

HOWEVER, IT IS ONE OF MANY THINGS THAT WE LOOK AT AS WE MAKE OUR DECISION TO MAKE A CHANGE IN STAGING.

AND I'LL GO AHEAD AND ADD TO THAT BY SAYING, YOU KNOW, AS EPIDEMIOLOGIST, UH, WHAT WE DO IN OUR JOBS IS WE MONITOR THE TREND AND PATTERN OF DISEASE IN A COMMUNITY.

AND SO WE'RE LOOKING AT A NUMBER OF INDICATORS THAT KIND OF TELL US, UH, WHAT WE, THERE ARE WARNING INDICATORS THAT TELL US, YOU KNOW, HOW WE'RE DOING AS A COMMUNITY AT LARGE.

AND WHILE WE HAVE MANY INDICATORS THAT WERE BEGINNING TO DECLINE, COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE GIVES YOU AN IDEA OF WHAT THE POTENTIAL IS, UH, AS FAR AS DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISKS OUT IN THE COMMUNITY.

AND SO, AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, YOU KNOW, DURING THE SUMMER WE SAW A LOT OF STRESS ON OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.

AND SO WE WERE VERY FOCUSED ON HOSPITALIZATION RATES, THE IMPACT OF STAFFING SHORTAGES, UH, VENTILATOR CAPACITY AND ICU BEDS.

UH, THOSE THINGS ARE VERY IMPORTANT AS FAR AS THE HEALTH, UH, AND STRESS ON THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

UH, HOWEVER,

[00:25:01]

UH, YOU KNOW, WE ARE ALWAYS MONITORING WHAT THE NUMBER OF NEW CASES ARE.

THE TEST POSITIVITY RATE THAT'S OCCURRING, BECAUSE THOSE TEND TO GIVE US INDICATION OF WHAT THE POTENTIAL IS FOR DISEASE SPREAD IN THE COMMUNITY.

AND IF WE HAVE ALL OF THOSE FACTORS IN CHECK, UH, IT WILL HELP US DRIVE OUR STAGE DOWN.

SO WE NEED, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE BEING MINDFUL OF ALL OF THOSE INDICATORS AS WE MOVE FORWARD.

OKAY.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

NEXT QUESTION FROM KEG SAYING, UM, THE UT MODELING CONSORTIUM RELEASED SEVERAL PROJECTIONS LAST WEEK THAT SHOWED THERE COULD BE ANOTHER HOLIDAY SPIKE DEPENDING ON BEHAVIOR.

WHAT SHOULD THE PUBLIC TAKE AWAY FROM THOSE PROJECTIONS? SO, AS I WAS JUST MENTIONING, WE'RE TRYING TO INFORM THE PUBLIC ABOUT WHAT THE RISK IS WHEN THEY'RE IN INDOOR PUBLIC SPACES DURING THIS HOLIDAY TIME, PARTICULARLY WHEN THEY'RE OUT GETTING READY FOR GATHERINGS, OR IF THEY'RE LEAVING THEIR HOME AND GOING TO PLACES WHERE THEY'RE GOING TO ENCOUNTER PEOPLE THAT THEY DON'T NORMALLY SEE LIVE WITH, THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEIR VACCINATION STATUS IS.

UM, WITH LOOKING AT THAT, UH, RISK OF, UM, INTERACTION OR ENCOUNTERING COVID-19 IN THOSE PUBLIC SPACES, THEY WILL BE ABLE TO, UM, LOOK TO THE OTHER THINGS THAT WE KNOW HAVE HELPED KEEP US FROM HAVING COVID-19 SPREAD IN OUR COMMUNITY, SUCH AS SOCIAL DISTANCING MASKING, AND THEN IF ENCOUNTER OR HAVE EXPOSURE TO COVID-19, THEY CAN, UM, MONITOR FOR SYMPTOMS, UM, WHEN THEY COME HOME, IF THEY'RE VACCINATED, UM, AND TEST, IF THEY DEVELOP SYMPTOMS AND IF AND MORE MASKS SO THAT THEY CAN PROTECT THOSE THAT THEY MAY BE AROUND, WHO ARE UNVACCINATED AND UNPROTECTED.

UM, AND IF THEY'RE, IF THEY'RE UN-VACCINATED, THEY CAN TEST, UM, AND THEN REMAIN IN QUARANTINE AFTER THAT EXPOSURE.

SO THE, THE GUIDANCE THAT WE'RE ADDING TO OUR RISK BASED GUIDANCE CHART, UH, THAT IS, UH, THE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE IS TO HELP INFORM THE COMMUNITY ABOUT HOW THEY CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR LOVED ONES.

THANK YOU.

UH, NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS, AUSTIN, DO YOU THINK AUSTIN WILL REMAIN IN STAGE THREE THROUGH THE HOLIDAY SEASON AS A PREVENTATIVE MEASURE, SINCE WE'RE WITHIN THRESHOLD MOVE TO STAGE TWO, WE'RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS AND I'M GOING TO PUNT THIS OVER TO HER AT THE GENEALOGIST, CAUSE SHE'S SEEN, UM, COVID INACTION LAST THANKSGIVING TIMEFRAME AND SURGE HAS LOOKED LIKE.

SO I'LL JUST SAY THIS THIS TIME, LAST YEAR, AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, UH, WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF S UH, INCREASE AND THE BEGINNING OF A SURGE, UH, OR WE ARE PRETTY WELL INTO THE SURGE THAT WAS GOING TO TAKE US THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS, UH, THROUGH JANUARY TIMEFRAME.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE ARE IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR WHERE IT'S COLD AND FLU SEASON THERE'S HOLIDAY GATHERINGS OR PEOPLE GETTING TOGETHER, IT'S COLDER OUTSIDE.

SOME MORE PEOPLE ARE INSIDE.

UH, AND YOU KNOW, THERE'S JUST THE POTENTIAL FOR NOT JUST DEVELOPING COVID, BUT BEING EXPOSED TO, UH, FLU AND OTHER TYPES OF RESPIRATORY VIRUSES.

SO, UM, YOU KNOW, LIKE I SAID, OUR INDICATORS HAVE REALLY GONE DOWN, UH, SOME OF THE KEY INDICATORS THAT WE LOOK AT, LIKE HOSPITALIZATIONS, LIKE NUMBER OF CASES.

HOWEVER, WITH LAST WEEK WE SAW A 33% INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF CASES FROM THE WEEK BEFORE THAT CAUSES ME TO PAUSE A LITTLE AND SAY, OKAY, WHAT'S GOING ON? DO WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO THEIR VACCINE IS WANING A LITTLE BIT AND THEY NEED TO GET BOOSTED? DO WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO, UH, ARE NOT MASKING AND GETTING A LITTLE LAX IN THEIR MASK WEARING WHEN THEY'RE OUT AND ABOUT, UH, JUST KEEP IN MIND, YOU KNOW, THESE ARE IT'S, UH, JUST LIKE THERE ARE A BUNCH OF INDICATORS THAT WE'RE WATCHING.

THERE ARE A BUNCH OF FACTORS THAT COULD INFLUENCE YOUR DEVELOPMENT OF DISEASE, UH, BECAUSE YOU, YOU JUST, WE JUST ARE ASKING THE COMMUNITY FOR THE CONTINUED VIGILANCE AT THIS TIME, ESPECIALLY AS WE ENTER COLD AND FLU SEASON AND, UH, THE POTENTIAL TO GATHER WITH, UH, INDIVIDUALS, WE WANT TO HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY, UH, AS WE GO INTO, UH, THE HOLIDAY SEASON IN DECEMBER AS WELL.

[00:30:01]

UM, WE NEED TO DO ALL THOSE THINGS THAT WE'VE BEEN SAYING FOR TWO YEARS NOW, UH, TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND, AND, YOU KNOW, WE JUST NEED TO, WE NEED TO DO THE RIGHT THING, UH, AND HOPEFULLY FLATTEN THE CURVE AND KEEP IT FLAT.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KUT.

DO YOU RECOMMEND THAT PEOPLE TRAVELING OUT OF TOWN FOR THE HOLIDAY QUARANTINE FOR A BRIEF PERIOD BEFORE RETURNING TO NORMAL ACTIVITIES NEXT WEEK, AND DOES THAT GUIDANCE DIFFER FOR THE VACCINATED OR UNVACCINATED? IF, UH, PEOPLE HAVE AN EXPOSURE AND THEY'RE VACCINATED, IT'S RECOMMENDED THAT THEY WEAR A MASK AND MONITOR THEMSELVES FOR SYMPTOMS, AND IF THEY DEVELOP SYMPTOMS, THEY SHOULD TEST THEMSELVES, UM, AND PROTECT THOSE AROUND THEM WHO ARE UNVACCINATED OR ARE AT RISK FOR A SEVERE DISEASE, SUCH AS THE ELDERLY OR IMMUNE COMPROMISED.

THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED AND, UM, ARE EXPOSED TO COVID-19 DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON, UM, SHOULD FOLLOW THE QUARANTINE GUIDANCE, UM, THAT THEY ARE THAT'S OUTLINED FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED.

UM, AND THEY SHOULD TEST, UM, TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE COVID-19.

THAT'S THE QUESTIONS FROM UNIVISION.

UH, WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT VACCINATED? UM, THOSE WHO ARE NOT VACCINATED ARE, UH, 13 TIMES THE RISK OF DEVELOPING ILLNESS AND 20 TIMES THE RISK OF REQUIRING HOSPITALIZATION AND OR DYING FROM COVID-19 AS A RESULT OF THIS DELTA VARIANT.

UM, AND THAT'S SOME DATA THAT CAME FROM A RECENT DEPARTMENT, STATE HEALTH SERVICES, UM, STUDY.

SO THE REAL ANSWER IS FOR THEM TO GET VACCINATED AND IN THE EVENT THAT THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN, THEY SHOULD WEAR A MASK TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM DEVELOPING COVID-19 SOCIALLY DISTANCE.

AND IF THEY'RE SICK, THEY SHOULD GET TESTED SO THAT THEY CAN DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THEY HAVE COVID-19 AND SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION TO SEE IF THEY'RE ELIGIBLE FOR MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY THERAPY.

UM, THEY, THE REAL, UM, STRATEGY THAT HELPS PROTECT PEOPLE FROM DEVELOPING COVID-19 FOR THOSE THAT ARE ON VACCINATED IS TO PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING MASKING, BUT ULTIMATELY WE HAVE THE TOOL TO PROTECT THEM, AND THAT IS GET VACCINATED, UM, AND VACCINES AVAILABLE.

IT'S FREE.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO PROVE A RESIDENCY.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE INSURANCE.

UM, IT'S IT'S THAT EASY.

AND I URGE ANYBODY WHO'S UN-VACCINATED TO REALLY CONSIDER BEING VACCINATED.

THERE HAVE BEEN 452 MILLION PLUS VACCINES GIVEN IN THIS COUNTRY 36 MILLION BOOSTER DUSTERS DOES, HAS GIVEN.

UM, WE HAVE SHOWN THAT THIS IS A SAFE PRODUCT, AND IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE ALL, UM, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF, UH, PROTECTING OURSELVES AND OUR FAMILY BY GETTING VACCINATED.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE STATE SMITH, DO WE HAVE ANY TIMETABLE OF WHEN WE MIGHT REACH STAGE TWO? THE DASHBOARD YESTERDAY SHOWED THE TRANSMISSION RATE WAS SUBSTANTIAL, BUT THE DAILY HOSPITALIZATION AVERAGE WAS DOWN TO 12.

DO YOU WANT ME TO TAKE THAT JANET? I CAN.

SO, AGAIN, AS WE SAID EARLIER, UH, YOU KNOW, WE'RE LOOKING AT A NUMBER OF INDICATORS, UH, BEFORE STAGE WE'LL DROP DOWN TO THE STAGE TWO LEVEL.

AND ONE OF THE BIG INDICATORS THAT IS KEEPING US FROM REACHING STAGE TWO IS OUR COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE.

CDC HAS MARKED ASSESS HAVING MODERATE EXPOSURE IN THE AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY AREA, MEANING THAT THERE'S STILL THE POTENTIAL RISK FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE OUT AND ABOUT TO EXPOSE THEMSELVES TO COVID-19 AND S AND, UH, YOU KNOW, TRANSMIT THAT DISEASE TO OTHER PEOPLE NEARBY THEM.

UH, PEOPLE, THEY LIVE WITH PEOPLE, THEY WORK WITH, UH, PEOPLE THEY PLAY WITH.

SO,

[00:35:01]

YOU KNOW, IT'S, IT'S THOSE, THOSE THINGS.

AGAIN, WE'RE LOOKING AT THIS COLLECTIVELY, UH, WE LIKE HOW THE HOSPITALIZATION NUMBERS ARE DOWN.

WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE, I'D LIKE TO SEE, UH, MORE FLATTENING OF THE CURVE.

WE'RE BEGINNING TO SEE UPTICKS IN OUR NUMBER OF NEW CASES.

AND WE'RE WATCHING THAT VERY CLOSELY AND TEST POSITIVITY RATE OUR TEST POSITIVE ACTIVITY RATE IS GETTING CLOSER TO 5%.

AND WHEN IT BECOMES, UH, GREATER THAN FIVE, WE NEED TO, YOU KNOW, WE NEED TO MAKE THAT IT GETS, THAT'S A BETTER INDICATION THAT WE HAVE MORE TRANSMISSION IN THE COMMUNITY.

SO WE'RE AT 4.8%.

WE NEED TO GET THAT LOWER THAN THAT.

UH, AND I THINK ONCE WE GET TO ALL THOSE INDICATORS, UH, BEING AT THE RIGHT LEVEL, THEN THE RISK-BASED STAGE WILL DECREASE.

I JUST LIKE TO ADD THAT WE HAVE LEARNED FROM OUR PREVIOUS SURGE, THAT THE COMMUNITY TRUE TRANSMISSION RATE GOES UP BEFORE WE ACTUALLY SEE HOSPITALIZATION RATES GO UP.

THERE'S A LAG BECAUSE OF THE, DUE TO THE FACT THAT PEOPLE GET SICK.

AND THEN AFTER A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TIME, THEY BECOME SICK ENOUGH TO REQUIRE HOSPITALIZATIONS.

SO WATCHING THE TRANSMISSION RATE HAS INFORMED US, UM, AND HAS INFORMED THE CDC MOST RECENTLY FOR, UM, IN THE ACE OF COMMITTEE HEARINGS, THAT THERE IS, UH, AN INCREASE IN COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION, NOT ONLY HERE, BUT IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY HERE, WE'VE HAD LESS COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE RISES THAN THERE HAVE BEEN IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, BUT WE DON'T REALLY WANT TO COPY THEIR FOLLOWS OR FOLLOW SUIT.

THOSE OTHER PLACES.

UM, OUR COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RIGHT NOW IS 60 CASES PER A HUNDRED THOUSAND, WHICH IS CONSIDERED SUBSTANTIAL TRANSMISSION.

AND THE RECOMMENDATION IS TO MASK EVERYBODY.

IT SHOULD MASK INDOORS IN PUBLIC PLACES TO PROTECT THEMSELVES, TO GIVE THEMSELVES A LAYER OF PROTECTION FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNVACCINATED.

AND FOR THOSE WHO ARE VACCINATED TO GIVE THEMSELVES AN EXTRA LAYER OF PROTECTION FROM DEVELOPING COVID-19.

UM, WE HAVE SEEN THAT IN PLACES WHERE THAT, UM, COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE IS GOING UP, THAT THERE'S BEEN AN ASSOCIATED, UM, NEED FOR MORE BOOSTER SHOTS IN THE COMMUNITY.

UM, SO WE ARE ASKING OUR COMMUNITY TO GET BOOSTER SHOTS.

IF THEY'RE ELIGIBLE FOR SUCH AT THIS TIME, WE'VE ALSO SEEN THAT THERE'S BEEN A DECREASE IN A NUMBER OF PEOPLE MASKING.

AND SO WE'RE ASKING OUR COMMUNITY TO MASK ONE MORE TIME.

IT'S A SMALL, UM, THING TO DO TO PUT A MASK ON WHEN YOU'RE IN A PUBLIC PLACE TO PROTECT YOURSELF, TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN, YOUR GRANDCHILDREN, YOUR MOM, YOUR DAD, YOUR AUNTIES, JUST THOSE TWO THINGS CAN BE THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING AND CAN KEEP US FROM HAVING THOSE HOSPITAL NUMBERS GOING UP AND CAN KEEP THOSE WHO MAY HAVE THOSE VULNERABLE INDIVIDUALS AT THEIR HOME, UM, IN A PLACE WHERE THEY ARE SITTING AT THE TABLE, SHARING THANKSGIVING DINNER, OR WHATEVER CELEBRATION IT IS THAT WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS, UM, AS OPPOSED TO WONDERING HOW THEY'RE DOING IN THE HOSPITAL.

SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW TO JUST DO THIS ONE THING, WEAR A MASK AND INDOOR PUBLIC PLACES AND PROTECT YOURSELF FROM GETTING COVID-19 UH, NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KVU.

UH, THE CDC SAYS THE BOOSTER SHOT IS AVAILABLE FOR PEOPLE OVER 18 AND IS RECOMMENDED FOR OTHER HIGH RISK GROUPS WHO ACTUALLY NEEDS TO GET THE BOOSTER SHOT.

SO WITH THE NEW CDC RECOMMENDATIONS, ANYONE WHO HAS RECEIVED HAS BEEN FULLY VACCINATED AND IS 18 AND OLDER, AND IT'S SIX MONTHS PAST THE TIME THAT THEY'VE RECEIVED PFIZER OR MADONNA SHOULD CONSIDER GETTING THE BOOSTER SHOT.

UM, REGARDLESS WE KNOW THAT THE IMMUNITY WANES AFTER SIX MONTHS.

SO WE WANT TO MAKE SURE, EVEN IF YOU'RE A HEALTHY INDIVIDUAL, THAT YOU GET THAT EXTRA LAYER OF PROTECTION SO THAT YOU, UM, IT REDUCES YOUR LIKELIHOOD OF, UM, CONTRACTING THE VIRUS, AND THEN ALSO INCREASES YOUR ABILITY TO, IF YOU SHOULD CONTRACT THE VIRUS, UM, PROTECTS YOU FROM

[00:40:01]

BEING ABLE TO TRANSMIT THE VIRUS TO OTHERS.

SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT IF YOU'RE 18 AND OLDER TO GET THE BOOSTER.

UM, IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE, ANYONE WHO RECEIVED THE JOHNSON, JOHNSON VACCINE THAT'S, AND THAT'S AN 18 AND OLDER VACCINE, UH, RECOMMENDED YOU NEED TO GET A SECOND DOSE AFTER TWO MONTHS.

AND SO THOSE, THOSE ARE REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS THAT IF YOU YOU'VE, YOU NEED TO PULL YOUR VACCINE CARD OUT, LOOK AT THOSE DATES AND START MAKING A PLAN TO GET A BOOSTER.

IF YOU'RE 18 AND OLDER, AND YOU'VE BEEN FULLY VACCINATED, IT'S TIME TO CONSIDER YOUR POSTER.

ALRIGHT, AND WE'RE GOING TO START ON OUR SECOND ROUND OF QUESTIONS HERE, UM, WITH MINE BEING JUST A QUICK CLARIFICATION QUESTION, UM, DR.

WALTZ, YOU WERE SAYING, YOU KNOW, HOW HOLIDAY DINNERS SHOULD LOOK, HOW WOULD A THANKSGIVING DINNER LOOK RIGHT NOW? YOU KNOW, VACCINATOR UNVACCINATED CAUSE EVERYONE WEAR A MASK ANYWAY, ET CETERA.

HOW, HOW WOULD A GOOD HEALTHY GATHERING LOOK ON THURSDAY? WELL, THE BEST WOULD BE FOR US TO HAVE EVERYBODY AT THE TABLE VACCINATED.

UM, IF THERE'S, UM, SOMEBODY THAT IS UNVACCINATED OR NOT FULLY VACCINATED COMING TO DINNER, I WOULD RECOMMEND, UM, THAT THEY TEST BEFORE COMING TO THE HOME.

AND IF THEY'RE AROUND SOMEONE WHO IS, UM, VULNERABLE TO, OR AT RISK FOR GETTING REALLY SEVERE DISEASE FROM COVID-19, THEY SHOULD WEAR A MASK AROUND THAT PERSON.

UM, UH, IF THEY DON'T HAVE THAT TEST, THAT SHOWS THAT THEY'RE NEGATIVE, UM, AND THE MASK FOR THE PERSON THAT'S VULNERABLE, UM, MAYBE SOMETHING THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO CONSIDER IF YOU'RE NOT REQUIRING TESTING FOR PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING INTO THE HOME, JUST TO PROTECT THEM FROM GETTING SICK.

UM, BUT IDEALLY YOU WOULD WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE STATUS IS OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING INTO THE HOME.

UM, VACCINES ARE PROTECTING US FROM DEVELOPING THE DELTA VARIANT OF COVID-19.

UM, AND THAT'S A GOOD THING, BUT IF SOMEONE HAS BEEN EXPOSED TO COVID-19 AND THEY'RE UNSURE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THEY MAY HAVE ASYMPTOMATIC ILLNESS, THEY SHOULD, UM, GO AHEAD AND GET TESTED.

UH, LAST QUESTION IS, UM, CBS, AUSTIN.

OH, NO, SORRY.

CAKES.

AND, BUT WEATHER THIS WEEK IS EXPECTED TO BE RAINY AND COLD.

ARE YOU WORRIED THOUGH, THAT WILL PUSH PEOPLE INSIDE THAT MAY HAVE OTHERWISE DONE OUTDOOR GATHERINGS AND WHAT TIPS AND TRICKS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE PEOPLE IN THAT SITUATION? I THINK IT'S JUST A REPEAT OF WHAT DR.

WACHS JUST SAID.

UM, YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE NOT SURE OF THE VACCINATION STATUS OF THE PERSONS THAT YOU INVITED TO YOUR HOME, YOU ASK THEM TO WEAR A MASK, OR MAYBE YOU CHANGED YOUR PLANS AND YOU HAVE A SMALLER DINNER.

UM, EACH FAMILY HAS TO DECIDE, WE'LL LET, WHAT LEVEL OF RISK THEY WANT TO TAKE FOR THEIR HOUSEHOLD AND, OR LOVE EXTENDED LOVED ONES.

AND WHILE THANKSGIVING IS AN IMPORTANT FAMILY TIME, UM, FOR ME, I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT I'M ABLE TO SEE MY FAMILY IN THE FUTURE.

AND SO IF I HAVE TO CHANGE MY PLANS IN ORDER TO BE SURE OF THAT, THEN THAT'S WHAT I'M WILLING TO DO.

SO IT'S EITHER STICK TO A GATHERING WITH THE PEOPLE THAT YOU USUALLY LIVE WITH, THAT, YOU KNOW, THEIR VACCINATION STATUS, OR JUST HAVE EVERYONE TEST AND MASK UP WHEN THEY COME INTO YOUR HOME.

AND DOCTOR WALKS.

I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR GUIDANCE YOU WOULD LIKE TO ADD TO THAT.

NO, UH, DIRECTOR, SIR, BY GRAY WITH YOU.

UM, WE ALL HAVE TO DECIDE, UH, OUR LEVEL OF RISK TOLERANCE AND AT THIS POINT, UM, WE NEED TO, I BELIEVE PROTECT THOSE THAT WE LOVE.

AND, UH, THAT MEANS LOOKING AT WHAT IT IS THAT WE'RE WILLING TO EXPOSE THEM TO AND PROTECTING THEM FROM GETTING ILL, THE ILLNESS OR COVID-19, UM, IF WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO SO, AND WE ALL HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO SO, IT'S A CHOICE.

UH, NEXT QUESTION IS THAT CBS AUSTIN, AUSTIN IS SEEN A STRONG RESPONSE TO COVID VACCINES IN THE PAST.

DO YOU SEE A SIMILAR RESPONSE TO THE BOOSTER SHOTS SO FAR? WE DEFINITELY HAVE SEEN AN INCREASE IN BOOSTER, UH, VACCINE SINCE THE EXPANSION TO ALL, UM, AGES, UH, OR THE 18 AND OLDER,

[00:45:01]

UH, RECOMMENDED FOR EVERYONE.

UM, WE DO WANT TO ENCOURAGE FOLKS IT'S IT'S WE, WE, IT'S NOT YET TO THE COVERAGE.

WE'D LIKE TO SEE, KNOWING THAT A MAJORITY OF OUR POPULATION THAT'S FULLY VACCINATED THAT'S WITHIN THE 18 AND OLDER AGE RANGE ARE ELIGIBLE FOR A BOOSTER.

SO WE REALLY WANT TO SEE THOSE NUMBERS TICK UP QUITE A BIT IN THE, IN THE COMING DAYS AND WEEKS, SO THAT WE HAVE THAT KNOW THAT THE MAJORITY OF THAT POPULATION IS FULLY VACCINATED.

UM, RIGHT NOW WE'RE RIGHT AT ABOUT 135,000 HAVE RECEIVED THAT ADDITIONAL DOSE.

AND IT INCLUDES THIRD DOSES.

THOSE WHO WERE SEVERELY IMMUNOCOMPROMISED THAT WERE AUTHORIZED EARLY ON.

UM, AND THEN, UH, THERE'S THAT, UH, WE'RE APPROVED FOR BOOSTERS, UM, AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER AND DELLA MADRONA ADVISER AND, UH, JOHNSON AND JOHNSON WERE APPROVED FOR BOOSTER.

SO WE DO WANT TO, UM, REALLY MAKE SURE THAT FOLKS ARE AWARE, UH, THEIR ELIGIBILITY ARE LOOKING AT THEIR VACCINE CARDS AND THEY'RE MAKING PLANS, UH, TO GET THAT BOOSTER SO THAT THEY HAVE THAT LAYER OF PROTECTION, UM, AND, UH, AND ARE AWARE OF, OF, OF WHERE THEY CAN GET THAT YOU CAN GO TO VACCINES.GOV.

UH, WE HAVE WALKUP CLINICS BOTH TODAY AND TOMORROW AVAILABLE FOR ANYONE, UH, WHO'S NEEDING A BOOSTER OR THEIR FIRST OR SECOND DOSE OR, UH, A PEDIATRIC VACCINE.

SO WE WANNA ENCOURAGE EVERYONE WHO'S EATING VACCINE TO, TO FIND A LOCATION, UM, TO GET THAT ADDITIONAL DOSE OR GET THEIR INITIAL VACCINE.

AND, UM, THINK ABOUT KIND OF HOW WE CAN CONTINUE TO BE HEALTHY AND SAFE FROM COVID VACCINE IS, AND WE'VE HEARD THIS A LOT IS THE WAY FOR US TO, UM, TAMP DOWN THIS, THIS ENDEMIC AND, AND HELP TO STAVE OFF THE SPREAD.

AND SO IF WE CAN GET MORE OF OUR POPULATION PROTECTED AND WITH THOSE WHO ARE STARTING TO HAVE WINNING IMMUNITY SET IN, WE CAN GET THEM THAT EXTRA BOOST.

UM, WE CAN, WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT, UH, PROTECTING OUR COMMUNITY AND, AND HOPEFULLY NOT SEE A HOLIDAY SURGE SIMILAR TO WHAT WE SAW LAST YEAR.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM UNIVISION.

HOW MANY DAYS IN ADVANCE DO PEOPLE NEED TO GET TESTED BEFORE TRAVELING AND GATHERING THE RECOMMENDATION WOULD BE, UM, AT THE MOST 72 HOURS BEFORE THEY, UM, GO OFF TO THEIR LOCATION, UM, SO THAT THEY WOULD HAVE, UH, AN OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE THOSE RESULTS PRIOR TO THEIR DEPARTURE.

UM, IF THEY ARE ABLE TO, UM, GET A TEST BACK EVEN MORE PROMPTLY, UM, YOU KNOW, 48 HOURS WOULD BE IDEAL.

UM, BUT IN ANY CASE, UM, ANY TIME BETWEEN 72 AND 48 HOURS OF THAT, UH, ARRIVAL AT THEIR NEW DESTINATION WOULD BE IDEAL FOR ASSESSING WHETHER OR NOT THEY HAVE A NEGATIVE TEST AND ARE FREE FROM COVID-19.

AND I'LL ADD HERE THAT THERE ARE A NUMBER OF RAPID ANTIGEN TESTS THAT ARE AVAILABLE OVER THE COUNTER, THAT YOU CAN GO AND PICK UP AT YOUR LOCAL PHARMACY, UH, AND ADMINISTERED DAY OF YOUR FAMILY GATHERING BEFORE YOU HEAD OVER, UH, TO VISIT SOMEONE, UH, THAT CAN GIVE YOU SOME ASSURANCE THAT YOU'RE, UH, NEGATIVE FROM COVID.

UH, I DO WANT TO MENTION THIS, UH, THERE ARE, WE HAVE, BECAUSE WE'VE SEEN THIS A LOT AS FAR AS PEOPLE WHO ARE WHAT I CALL TEST SHOPPING.

UM, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE GETTING A PCR TEST, OR THEY'RE GETTING A RAPID ENERGY TEST, AND ONE TEST IS POSITIVE AND THE SUBSEQUENT, THEY DON'T REALLY BELIEVE THE RESULTS.

SO THEY GO ON TO READ TO GET ANOTHER TEST OR ANOTHER TWO TESTS.

AND THOSE MAY BE NEGATIVE.

IF YOU HAVE A POSITIVE TEST THAT POPS UP, YOU NEED TO CONSIDER YOURSELF POSITIVE, REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOUR SUBSEQUENT TESTS MAY BE, ESPECIALLY WITH, IF YOU'RE WITHIN 10 DAYS OF THAT TEST COLLECTION.

UM, SO BE MINDFUL THAT, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU MAY NOT HAVE MISSED SELF ADMINISTERED, A TEST, AND, AND I'VE GOTTEN DEEP ENOUGH INTO YOUR NASAL CAVITY OR NASAL PHARYNGEAL SWAB TO, TO GET A GOOD SAMPLE, UH, BECAUSE WE KNOW IT'S AN UNCOMFORTABLE TEST TO TAKE, BUT THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF THINGS THAT COULD BE THE REASON FOR THAT FALSE POSITIVE OR FALSE NEGATIVE, UH, ODDS.

ARE IT, IF YOU HAVE A POSITIVE THAT YOU'RE POSITIVE.

SO JUST KEEP THAT IN MIND.

OKAY.

AND THIS WILL BE OUR LAST QUESTION COMING FROM KVU WE'RE TOLD TO WAIT, SIX MONTHS AFTER THE COVID VACCINE DOSE, AFTER THE SECOND COVID VACCINE GOES

[00:50:01]

TO GET THE BOOSTER, BUT WHAT IF YOU WERE INFECTED WITH COVID? HOW LONG SHOULD YOU WAIT AFTER INFECTION? THE RECOMMENDATION FROM THE CDC IS FOR A COVID TEST TO THE COVID VACCINATIONS, SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN RECEIVE AS SOON AS YOU'VE RECOVERED.

UM, WE ARE OPERATING ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE PROTECTION THAT IS GIVEN, HAVING THE INFECTION LAST FOR UP TO 90 DAYS, BUT YOU CAN RECEIVE THE VACCINATION AS SOON AS YOU'VE BEEN ASSESSED AS BEING RECOVERED FROM COVID-19 AND IDEALLY SHOULD GET THAT VACCINE DOES AS SOON AS YOU'RE ABLE TO DO SO TO GET YOURSELF THAT FULL PROTECTION AND PUT IN 19.

AND I'LL ADD JUST ONTO WHAT DR.

WACHS IS SAYING.

SO THE RECOVERY PERIOD FOR COVID IS 10 DAYS.

SO IF YOU HAVE A POSITIVE TEST, UH, YOU KNOW, 10 DAYS BEYOND THAT POINT, IF YOU'RE ASYMPTOMATIC, IF YOU WERE A SYMPTOMATIC PERSON AND YOU BECOME POSITIVE, YOU GET A POSITIVE TEST.

IT GOES FROM 10 DAYS FROM YOUR SYMPTOM ONSET TILL THE END OF YOUR RECOVERY PERIOD.

SO ANYTIME AFTER THAT 10 DAY PERIOD, UH, HE SHOULD BE ELIGIBLE TO GET A VACCINATION.

THANK YOU.

THAT CONCLUDES ALL OF OUR QUESTIONS FOR TODAY.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO DR.

WACHS APH, INTERIM DIRECTOR APH SEES ME APH, INTERIM DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP, OUR CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET PICHETTE, AND OUR CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION, CASSANDRA DAILY ON AND TO OUR POOL REPORTER, BRIDGET SPENCER FROM FOX SEVEN.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.

HAVE A SAFE DAY.

AND HOWEVER YOU CELEBRATE, PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU ARE SAFE DOING THAT AS WELL.

THANK YOU.

HAVE A GOOD DAY.



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