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[ COVID-19: Press Q & A]

[00:00:12]

THE STATION IS AVAILABLE ON EDX AND THREE START, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME OPENING REMARKS.

MY DOCTOR DOES MY WALKS, AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY FOLLOWED BY ADRIAN STIRRUP, INTERIM DIRECTOR, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH.

THEN JANET PICHET, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, AND CASSANDRA DELYON AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, OR OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION.

AND WE'RE GOING TO OPEN IT UP TO OUR POOL.

REPORTERS CAN ASK THE QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA.

I'M GOING TO START TODAY WITH DR.

WACHS.

GOOD MORNING, AUSTIN.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

UH, IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR WHEN NOW WE ARE, UM, PREPARING TO GATHER WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY, AND, UM, WE'RE HERE TO GIVE SOME PUBLIC HEALTH TIPS ON HOW WE CAN DO THIS SAFELY.

UM, WE KNOW THAT WE HAVE 98% DELTA CIRCULATING IN OUR COMMUNITY AT THIS MOMENT, BUT, UH, THE ALMA CRON VARIANT OF THE COVID-19 VIRUS HAS REACHED OUR SHORES AND IS NOW IN 33 STATES IN OUR COUNTRY.

UM, AND SO WE NEED TO REMEMBER THAT WE KNOW HOW TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM THIS VARIANT.

UH, COVID-19 IS A RESPIRATORY ILLNESS AND IT CAN BE PREVENTED BY GETTING VACCINATED.

AND WE'VE HAD GREAT RESPONSE IN OUR COMMUNITY THUS FAR TO VACCINATIONS AND PEOPLE ARE NOW COMING OUT TO GET BOOSTER SHOTS.

AND JUST WITHIN THE LAST 24 HOURS, THE CDC HAS APPROVED THE VACCINE FOR THE 16 AND 17 YEAR OLD AGE GROUP.

SO WE'RE READY TO DEPLOY THAT IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND PFIZER VACCINE IS THE ONE OR THE 16 AND OLDER AGE GROUPS NOW.

SO IT IS TIME TO GET YOUR BOOSTER IF YOU HAD YOUR LAST OF YOUR VACCINE SERIES SIX MONTHS OR MORE AGO.

SO, UH, WE WANT PEOPLE TO GO OUT AND DO THAT, TO GET THAT FULL PROTECTION AGAINST COVID-19, BUT IN PARTICULAR, MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO SO BECAUSE ALL MACRON IS DIFFERENT AND WE NEED THAT EXTRA PROTECTION TO PROTECT AGAINST ILLNESS IN THIS, IN THE COMING WEEKS, WE'RE SEEING INCREASES IN HOSPITALIZATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, IN VARIOUS AREAS AND IN OUR STATE, WE'RE ALSO SEEING SOME INCREASE IN CASES, NOT ONLY OF COVID, BUT FOR THE FLU AS WELL.

UM, SO IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE GET THAT WE GET OUR VACCINES FOR COVID 19 AND FOR INFLUENZA, OUR COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION HAS BEEN ON THE RISE.

UM, THAT MEANS THAT WE'RE SEEING A SPREAD OF COVID-19 CASES IN OUR COMMUNITY, AND WE'RE SEEING A SUBSTANTIAL RATE OF TRANSMISSION AT THIS POINT.

SO IT'S RECOMMENDED THAT EVERYONE THAT'S OUT IN PUBLIC PLACES WHERE THEY'RE NOT AWARE OF, UH, THE VACCINATION STATUS OR WHETHER SOMEBODY'S SICK IN THE AREA WHERE THERE MAY BE IN PUBLIC INDOORS, THAT THEY WEAR A MASK.

UM, MASKING IS STILL THAT EXTRA LAYER OF PROTECTION.

IN ADDITION TO THE VACCINATIONS TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITY.

I'M REALLY PROUD OF HOW AUSTIN TRAVIS COUNTY HAS RISEN TO THE OCCASION ON SO MANY OCCASIONS.

WE'VE HAD SEVERAL SURGES AND WE'VE WORKED TOGETHER TO HELP TO PROTECT OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM AND OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM, SO THAT THOSE WHO BECOME ILL CAN BE TREATED.

AND AT THIS POINT, WHEN WE'RE GOING OUT TO BE IN HOUSEHOLDS WHERE WE'RE SEEING PEOPLE THAT WE DON'T NORMALLY SEE OR LIVE WITH, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE FOLLOW THE CDC GUIDANCE AND GET TESTED PRIOR TO GOING TO VISIT.

UM, SO WE CAN PROTECT THOSE THAT WE'RE SEEING AND PROTECT OURSELVES FROM BECOMING ILL AT THIS POINT.

UM, I'D LIKE TO TURN THIS OVER TO DIRECTOR STIR, THANK YOU, DOCTOR WALKS AND YOU, YOU REALLY LAID OUT THE FOUNDATION.

WE AS A COMMUNITY HAVE CONTINUED TO, TO RALLY AND WE CONTINUED TO DO WHAT WE KNOW WORKS, UM, TO PROTECT OURSELVES AND OUR LOVED ONES FROM COVID-19.

AND SO, AS DR.

WACHS SAID, YOU KNOW, THIS IS THE PERFECT TIME AS YOU'RE DOING YOUR LAST MINUTE, UM, HOLIDAY SHOPPING.

WE KNOW THAT MONDAY IS GREEN MONDAY, AND THEN TUESDAY IS THAT LAST CHANCE FOR YOU TO

[00:05:01]

BUY SOMETHING.

SO THAT WILL BE DELIVERED TO YOUR LOVED ONE ON TIME.

SO ON YOUR WAY TO THE POST OFFICE, ON YOUR WAY BACK, YOU CAN VISIT ANY AWESOME PUBLIC HEALTH LOCATION.

THERE'S PLENTY OF VACCINES IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UM, AWESOME PUBLIC HEALTH IS ONE OF THE, UH, OFFERS ONE OF THE FEW LOCATIONS THAT HAVE WALK-UP OPTIONS AVAILABLE.

AND SO WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? THAT MEANS IF YOU WALK OUT, WE'RE GOING TO SERVE YOU APPOINTMENT OR NOT, BUT IT MAY MEAN JUST LIKE YOU WAITED A LITTLE BIT OF TIME TO DROP OFF THAT PACKAGE TO GRAMMY.

AND DESMOGLEIN, YOU MIGHT HAVE TO WAIT A LITTLE BIT TO GET YOUR BOOSTER SHOT.

AND IF TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE, YOU CAN ALWAYS REGISTER ONLINE FOR ANY OF OUR APPOINTMENTS.

YOU CAN CALL 3, 1, 1, OR, AND THEY CAN CONNECT YOU TO OUR EQUITY LINE IF YOU'RE NOT COMPUTER SAVVY AND YOU CAN MAKE THAT APPOINTMENT SO THAT YOU CAN PLAN YOUR DAY DOWN TO THE T IN ADDITION TO MAKING SURE THAT WE'RE SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY WITH VACCINE OPTIONS, WE KNOW THAT PEOPLE HAVE PLANS IN PLACE.

SO WHAT'S THE BEST THING THAT YOU CAN DO TESTS BEFORE YOU LEAVE AND TEST WHEN YOU COME BACK AND WE CAN HELP YOU OUT WITH THAT AS WELL.

NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE OUR TESTING LOCATIONS AVAILABLE, WE'RE SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF HOME TEST KITS COMPLETE WITH ALL THE INFORMATION THAT YOU WOULD NEED TO, TO FOLLOW IN CASE YOUR TEST DOES COME UP POSITIVE.

AND SO WE'RE ALSO PREPARING BECAUSE WE KNOW THE S WORD IS IN OUR FUTURE SEARCH.

SO OPERATIONALLY AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH CONTINUES TO WORK WITH OUR PARTNERS IN TRAVIS COUNTY AND THE HOSPITAL SYSTEMS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE PROTECTING OUR HEALTHCARE SYSTEM AND THAT WE'RE READY TO RESPOND.

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

UH, GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

I KNOW WITH NEWS OF OMICRON REACHING TEXAS, UH, IN HARRIS COUNTY, A LOT OF PEOPLE MAY BE ASKING, UH, YOU KNOW, DO WE HAVE OMICRON HERE IN AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY? THAT'S, THAT IS A VERY BIG POSSIBILITY THAT WE VIEW AND IT IS LIKELY SPREADING.

UM, BUT IF YOU, YOU MAY ASK, YOU KNOW, IF I TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID, HOW WILL I KNOW IF I HAVE THE ELOCON BEARING? AND THE ANSWER IS YOU PROBABLY WON'T KNOW THAT YOU HAVE IT, THE TESTING ONLY INDICATES WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE COVID-19 GENETIC SEQUENCING NEEDS TO TAKE PLACE IN ORDER FOR US TO FIND OUT WHETHER YOU ARE THAT, THAT COVID-19 AND HAVE IDENTIFIES A SPECIFIC VARIANT.

UM, YOU KNOW, AND SO ONE THING THAT WE ARE DOING AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, ALONG WITH OUR HOSPITALS AND CLINICAL PROVIDERS AND TESTING LABORATORIES IS WE ARE TRYING TO WORK WITH THEM SO THAT WE HAVE A BETTER IDEA, UM, WHAT, WHAT VARIANTS ARE ACTUALLY CIRCULATING IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND THAT'S ONE OF THE MAIN PURPOSES OF GENETIC SEQUENCING AND, AND VARIANCE SURVEILLANCE IS TO MAKE SURE WE KNOW, UH, WHAT WHAT'S OCCURRING IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND SO LIKE DR.

WACHS MENTIONED, YOU KNOW, 98% OF WHAT WE HAVE IS DELTA.

THOSE GENETIC SEQUENCING, CHESTS ARE THINGS THAT ARE TYPICALLY HELP US IDENTIFY WHAT'S CIRCULATING.

UM, SO HOW IT WORKS IN OUR AREA, IF YOU GET TESTED A PCR TEST, AND THOSE ARE REPORTED TO AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, UH, WE HAVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH HOSPITALS, LIKE I SAID, PROVIDERS, AND SOME TESTING FACILITIES, AND WE TRY TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS SO THAT THOSE TESTS, IF THERE'S ENOUGH VIABLE MATERIAL CAN BE SENT ONTO THE STATE LAB AND FURTHER ANALYSIS.

AND SO A LOT OF TIMES, UH, YOU KNOW, IT IS KIND OF CHALLENGING TO GET GENETIC SEQUENCING COMPLETED.

UH, BUT YOU KNOW, IT'S SORT OF, IT'S SORT OF A RANDOM SAMPLE WHAT'S ACTUALLY CIRCULATING OUT THERE.

UM, AND, UM, ANYHOW, IT DOES TAKE TIME.

IT TAKES EXTRA EFFORT TO TRY TO DO THAT.

SO, UM, AS YOU CAN SEE WITH WHAT'S HAPPENED OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS AND THE UNITED STATES, YOU KNOW, OMICRON HIT.

AND THEN WE, A LOT OF PEOPLE STARTED LOOKING ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR THAT, UH, VARIANT TO SEQUENCING, UM, BUT ALL IN ALL, JUST THE BOTTOM LINE OF IT, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE VARIANT IS, PREVENTION METHODS THAT WE TAKE PLACE AND USE EVERY DAY.

AND THE RECOMMENDATIONS THAT WE MAKE TO YOU EVERY DAY STILL ARE THE SAME AND STILL WILL HELP YOU PREVENT GETTING DISEASE.

AND THAT IS WEARING YOUR MASK, WASHING YOUR HANDS, GETTING VACCINATED.

IF YOU'RE SICK, STAY AT HOME, UM, GO AHEAD AND GET YOUR BOOSTER VACCINATION.

OR IF YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN VACCINATED, GET VACCINATED.

[00:10:01]

AND IF YOU DO BECOME ILL CONSIDER GETTING A TEST, THERE'S MULTIPLE OPTIONS FOR GETTING THE TESTS THERE'S TESTING, THAT'S AVAILABLE THROUGH AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, BUT YOU CAN ALSO GET TESTED THROUGH YOUR PROVIDER.

AND THERE ARE PLENTY OF OVER THE COUNTER TESTS THAT ARE ALSO AVAILABLE.

SO WITH THAT, I WILL STOP AND TURN IT OVER TO CASSIE DELYON AND, UH, IT'S ALL YOURS CAFFEINE.

THANKS, JANET.

UM, AND JUST AS EVERYONE ELSE HAS SAID ON THE PANEL, I COULDN'T ECHO MORE ABOUT THE THINGS THAT WE CAN DO AND HAVE BEEN DOING TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 AND PROTECT OUR LOVED ONES.

THIS TIME, LAST YEAR, WE WERE WAITING FOR THE VACCINE TO ARRIVE, AND NOW WE'VE HAD A FULL YEAR OF ITS AVAILABILITY AND WE'VE BEEN IMPLEMENTING IT.

AND I REALLY WANT TO, UM, CONGRATULATE AND THANK OUR COMMUNITY FOR STEPPING UP AND DOING WHAT THEY NEEDED TO DO TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FOR STANDING, FOR GOING TO THOSE VACCINE, UM, CLINICS AND GETTING THE VACCINE RIGHT NOW, EVEN WITH THE NEWLY ELIGIBLE POPULATION OF PEDIATRICS FIVE TO 11, WE ARE AT 69.1, 3% FULLY VACCINATED.

THAT'S INCREDIBLE.

UM, THAT'S, THAT'S BETTER THAN MOST OF THE STATE OF TEXAS.

SO THAT'S A LOT TO REALLY THINK ABOUT AS A, AS A CITY IN A COMMUNITY THAT WE'VE REALLY HIT THOSE REALLY IMPORTANT MARK MILESTONES.

ADDITIONALLY, WITH THE, UM, NEW PEDIATRIC, UM, FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLDS, UM, WE'RE MAKING GREAT PROGRESS THERE.

UH, WE HAVE SEEN THAT, UM, 27% OF THAT POPULATION LIVING THAT'S ELIGIBLE, UH, LIVING IN, UH, TRAVIS COUNTY HAS GOTTEN THE FIRST DOSE.

AND WE KNOW NOW THAT ABOUT HALF OF THEM BEEN FULLY VACCINATED.

SO THAT'S INCREDIBLE.

AND KNOWING THAT THAT'S ONLY BEEN THAT VACCINE'S ONLY BEEN AVAILABLE FOR ABOUT SIX WEEKS OR A LITTLE LESS THAN SIX WEEKS.

AND THEN IN ADDITION TO THINK AHEAD TO BOOSTERS, THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DEMAND LATELY FOR BOOSTERS, WHICH IS FANTASTIC.

AND IT'S GREAT TO SEE PEOPLE OUT IN THE COMMUNITY LOOKING, WANTING TO GET THAT VACCINE.

AND IT'S SHOWING IN OUR DATA.

UH, WE HAVE SEEN THAT, UM, 24% OF OUR FULLY VACCINATED POPULATION HAS RECEIVED AN ADDITIONAL DOSE, WHICH IS INCREDIBLE.

AND SO THAT MEANS THAT, UH, PEOPLE ARE ACTIVELY GETTING VACCINATED.

WE HAVE THAT, UH, 200,000 PEOPLE WHO HAVE RECEIVED THAT ADDITIONAL DOSE.

UM, AND THAT MEANS THAT WE'RE JUST THAT MUCH MORE PROTECTED.

THAT BEING SAID, UH, THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS FOR BOOSTERS, BUT IF YOU DON'T HAVE AN APPOINTMENT, YOU CAN COME TO AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, WALK UP AND GET A VACCINE.

UM, AND IF YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN VACCINATED AT ALL, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT TIME TO DO IT.

AND YOU CAN THINK OF IT AS A WAY TO GIVE A SPECIAL GIFT TO THE COMMUNITY, TO YOUR FAMILY, TO YOUR LOVED ONES.

UM, HERE AT THE HOLIDAY SEASON, THIS IS THE SEASON OF GIVING, AND THIS IS OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE EACH OTHER GOOD HEALTH.

SO AS YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT YOUR HOLIDAY PLANS, CONSIDER THAT AS PART OF YOUR PLANNING AND CONSIDER THE POTENTIAL OF FUTURE YEARS THAT YOU BE EXTENDING FOR EVERYONE.

IF WE CAN GET AHEAD OF THIS NEXT SURGE.

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

WHEN DO YOU HAVE THAT SULLIVAN ON THE LINE FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE TO ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

AND THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE WITH US TODAY.

THE FIRST QUESTION IS FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT, BUT THE FDA AUTHORIZING THE PFIZER BOOSTER FOR THE 16 AND 17 AGE RANGE, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT 16 AND 17 YEAR OLDS RECEIVE AN ADDITIONAL SHOT? IT'S IMPORTANT THAT EVERYBODY WHO'S ELIGIBLE FOR BOOSTER THERAPY GO OUT AND GET THEIR BOOSTER SHOT.

UM, WE ARE DEALING RIGHT NOW PREDOMINANTLY WITH THE DELTA VARIANT IN OUR COMMUNITY, AND IT DOES CAUSE SEVERE DISEASE AND ILLNESS AND BOOSTERS WILL GIVE YOU THAT EXTRA PROTECTION AGAINST DELTA AND THE NEW OMNICOM VARIANT THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT, UM, ON OUR SHORES NOW.

SO IT'S EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE THAT'S ELIGIBLE TO GO AND GET THAT BOOSTER SHOT.

AND I'D LIKE TO ADD IN THAT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, UM, THANKS TO DR.

WACHS AND RAPIDLY, UM, PREPARING US.

WE NOW HAVE THE ABILITY TO PROVIDE THAT BOOSTER SHOT AS WELL.

AND SO IF YOU ARE LOOKING, UH, TO GETTING YOUR, UM, 16 YEAR OLD, UH, BOOSTED AND 17 YEAR OLDS BOOSTED, YOU CAN DEFINITELY COME TO ANYONE OF THE AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH LOCATIONS AND RECEIVE THAT BOOSTER DOES.

THE QUESTION IS FROM CBS, AUSTIN, APH REPORTED AN INCREASE OF PEOPLE GETTING BOOSTER SHOTS LAST WEEK.

IS THAT CONTINUING? WHAT PERCENTAGE OF VACCINES

[00:15:01]

BEING GIVEN ARE BOOSTER SHOTS? WE DEFINITELY HAVE SEEN AN INCREASE AND BOOST YOUR DEMAND.

I WAS LOOKING AT NUMBERS AND IT REALLY DOES VARY FROM CLINIC TO CLINIC, BUT IT'S RANGING FROM ABOUT 75% TO 90% OF THE VACCINE, UM, ADMINISTERED AT, UH, OUR, OUR NORMAL CLINICS.

UM, YEAH, OUR BOOSTER DOSES.

UH, SO IT'S EXCITING TO SEE THAT, UM, I'M REALLY PROUD OF OUR TEAM BECAUSE WE PLANNED FOR THIS AND WE WERE ABLE TO EXPAND OPERATIONS AND INCORPORATE, UH, UH, WHAT WE NEEDED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE WERE ABLE TO SERVE EVERYONE THAT CAME IN.

AND SO WE ARE SEEING ACTUALLY THIS WEEK, THE SAME DEMANDS, UM, AND WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO ALSO, AS THE DEMAND HAS INCREASED EACH OPERATION, EACH LOCATION HAS MADE OPERATIONAL CHANGES TO HELP, UM, REALLY MAKE THE CLINIC MOVE, UH, SMOOTHER AND RUN SMOOTHER, UH, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE PROVIDING THE BEST SERVICE POSSIBLE.

THAT BEING SAID, AS WE KNOW, WITH INCREASED DEMAND, UM, AND ALLOWING FOR A WALKUP SPACE, UM, THERE MAY BE SOME WAIT TIMES.

UM, BUT WE'RE ALSO TRYING TO MANAGE THAT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

THERE ARE, UM, OPPORTUNITIES TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS.

AND SO IF YOU MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, UM, YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO FAST TRACK THROUGH THE, THE CLINIC.

UM, BUT ALSO WE ARE ALSO LOOKING TO SEE HOW WE CAN PROBLEM SOLVE FOR WALK-UPS SO THAT THERE IS AN ENJOYABLE, PLEASURABLE EXPERIENCE, BUT NOTE IT'S IMPORTANT TO PLAN.

UM, YOU MAY HAVE TO WAIT A LITTLE BIT IF YOU COME OUT TO ONE OF OUR CLINICS, BUT YOU'LL GET THAT SHOT TODAY.

AND I'D LIKE TO ALSO ADD, UM, JUST FROM MY OBSERVATION THAT THE CLINICS, IF YOU DO DECIDE TO PRESENT TO ONE OF OUR CLINICS, UH, IN A WALK-UP FASHION, ONE THING THAT WILL PUT YOU AT AN ADVANTAGE, UH, AND WILL HELP EXPEDITE SOME OF THE PROCESS IS, UH, MAKING SURE THAT YOU REGISTER YOUR APH VACCINE PORTAL TO MAKE SURE THEY HAVE YOUR INFORMATION IN THERE.

ESPECIALLY IF YOU, IF YOU RECEIVED YOUR FIRST OR SECOND DOSE, UH, FROM A COMMERCIAL PHARMACY OR FROM YOUR, FROM ANOTHER PROVIDER, IF YOU HAVE AN, IF YOU DID RECEIVE IT FROM APH, UH, WE WILL HAVE YOUR INFORMATION AND WE WILL NOT HAVE TO INPUT THAT IN, BUT THAT WILL SLOW, UH, SPEED UP THE PROCESS A LITTLE BIT, K U T ASKS WITH THE RISE IN DEMAND FOR BOOSTERS.

WHAT SPECIFIC STEPS, IF ANY, IS APH TAKING TO ADDRESS LONG WAIT TIMES A WALK OF VACCINATION CLINICS? YES, JUST AS WE KIND OF ALREADY, UM, MENTIONED BEFORE, WE'RE DOING QUITE A BIT TO TRY TO PUSH IN ADDITIONAL STAFF TO HELP SUPPORT, UH, WHAT WE CAN.

AND WE ALSO BASED ON, UH, KIND OF WHAT WE'VE SEEN LAST WEEK, WE'VE MADE SOME STAFFING ADJUSTMENTS TO INCREASE, UM, VACCINATORS AND OTHER STAFFING NEEDS, WHERE THERE ARE SOME AREAS IN THE CLINIC THAT MAY CAUSE, UM, UM, ADDITIONAL WEIGHTS.

UH, THAT BEING SAID, AS JANET SAID, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT, UM, INDIVIDUALS CAN DO IS TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE REGISTERED.

IF THERE'S AN APPOINTMENT AVAILABLE, MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, BECAUSE THAT WILL INCREASE, THAT WILL SPEED UP YOUR PROCESS, UH, THROUGH THE CLINIC.

UM, WE'RE DOING EVERYTHING WE CAN TO MAKE THE EXPERIENCE AS PLEASURABLE AS POSSIBLE, BUT NOT WITH A WALK-UP CLINIC CAPACITY, IF YOU'RE IN LINE AT FIVE 30 AND SO ARE A HUNDRED OF YOUR FRIENDS, UM, IT'S GOING TO TAKE TIME TO GET YOU THROUGH, UM, BUT KNOW THAT WE WILL GET YOU THROUGH AND YOU'LL GET THAT VACCINE.

UM, AND AT ANY PLACE THAT YOU WERE LOOKING TO GET, UM, UM, ANY KIND OF SERVICE, IF YOU'RE TRYING TO GET THAT LAST MINUTE, UH, CHRISTMAS GIFT, UH, YOU MAY EXPERIENCE A LONG WAIT TIME JUST TO GET THROUGH THE CHECKOUT.

THAT'S THE SAME SITUATION.

YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE LOOKING FOR THIS SERVICE, UM, ACROSS THE CITY.

UM, AND WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE CAN HAVE ACCESS.

SO IT'S TIME TO HAVE SOME PATIENTS.

WE HAVE PAID.

WE REALLY ARE WORKING WITH OUR, OUR, UM, CLINIC STAFF TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAVE PATIENTS AS WELL.

AND SO THAT WE CAN GET EVERYONE SERVED AND EVERYONE HAVE AS PLEASANT EXPERIENCE AS POSSIBLE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM HERE AT THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT PEOPLE GET A BOOSTER SHOT NOW RATHER THAN WAITING FOR A POTENTIAL ON THE CROHN'S SPECIFIC BOOSTER? I I'LL, UH, ANSWER THAT, UM, THIS VACCINE IS, HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE EFFECTIVE AT, UH, PROTECTING PEOPLE FROM SEVERE DISEASE ILLNESS AND HOSPITALIZATIONS AND DEATH, UM, FOR THE DELTA VARIANT, WHICH IS THE PREDOMINANT VARIANT IN OUR COMMUNITY NOW.

AND IT'S, UM, EARLY INDICATIONS ARE THAT IT IS ALSO GOING TO BE, UM, PROTECTIVE AGAINST THIS NEW AREA ON THE CRON.

UM, THE IMPORTANCE OF BOOSTER RIGHT NOW IS THAT IT WILL HELP IMPROVE THAT PROTECTION.

AND SO IT IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO USE THE VACCINE THAT WE HAVE AVAILABLE NOW TO PROTECT US NOW, AS WE PREPARE FOR A POSSIBLE SURGE IN CASES, AND TO CONTINUE

[00:20:01]

TO GET THAT EXTRA LAYER OF PROTECTION AND WEAR YOUR MASK.

UM, ADDITIONALLY, AS YOU'RE TRAVELING TO THIS FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES, THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU TEST BEFORE YOU GO TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE NOT ILL AND THAT YOU'RE NOT SPREADING VIRUS.

AND IF YOU ARE ILL, IF YOU ARE A POSITIVE IN YOUR COVID-19 TASKS, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU ISOLATE CONTACT YOUR HEALTH PROVIDER AND SEE IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR TREATMENT OR MONOCLONAL ANTIBODY TREATMENT.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX, A N EXPERTS ARE SAYING THE OMNICOM VARIANT IS SPREADING FOSTER IN THE UK, THEN IN SOUTH AFRICA.

WHAT IMPLICATIONS DOES THAT HAVE FOR US HERE AT HOME? UM, I'LL GO AHEAD AND TAKE THAT.

UM, SO AS I'VE SAID THROUGH VARIOUS OTHER PRESS CONFERENCES THAT WE'VE HAD, UM, YOU KNOW, WE ALWAYS LOOK TO WHAT'S HAPPENING IN EUROPEAN UNION JUST AS, BECAUSE IT TENDS TO BE A PRECURSOR OF WHAT CAN HAPPEN HERE IN THE UNITED STATES.

UM, YOU KNOW, UH, WITH CASES, UH, RAPIDLY EXPONENTIALLY GROWING IN THE UK.

UH, WE HAVE, WE HAVE CONCERN THAT THAT WILL HAPPEN HERE IN THE UNITED STATES AS WELL.

SO WE NEED TO DO ALL THOSE THINGS THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, GETTING BOOSTED, GETTING YOUR FIRST OR SECOND DOSE, UH, ONBOARD SO THAT YOU CAN KEEP, UH, WE CAN KEEP THIS VARIANT AT BAY.

UH, AND YOU KNOW, THE OTHER MEASURES THAT WE TALK ABOUT, UH, WEARING A MASK, SOCIAL DISTANCING, YOU REALLY JUST NEED TO BE AT THIS POINT, VERY AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME, WHERE YOU HAVE PEOPLE COMING INTO YOUR HOME, UM, YOU KNOW, UH, FOR THE HOLIDAYS, JUST MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE PROTECTING YOURSELF AND YOUR LOVED ONES, UH, TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY SO THAT YOU DON'T, UH, WE DON'T SEE THAT RAPID SPREAD HERE, BUT, BUT IT IS, UH, BASED ON PRELIMINARY DATA IS DEFINITELY MUCH MORE, UH, TRANSMISSIBLE.

UH, YOU KNOW, OBVIOUSLY THERE'S STILL A LOT OF RESEARCH THAT'S TAKING PLACE TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT A MACARON IS AS SEVERE AS DELTA, BUT, UM, WE, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT, UH, WE PROTECT PLACE OURSELVES IN THE BEST DEFENSIVE POSITION RIGHT NOW, AND IT'S TO DO THOSE PREVENTATIVE MEASURES.

AND I'D JUST LIKE TO ADD ON THAT THIS VIRUS HAS SPREAD EXPONENTIALLY IN SOUTH AFRICA, IT'S DOING THE SAME IN THE UK.

UM, AND WE'RE LIKELY TO SEE THE SAME THING LOCALLY.

WE REDUCED SPREAD BY MASKING INDOORS IN PARTICULAR BECAUSE VENTILATION IS NOT AS GOOD.

SO ANY CHANCE THAT YOU CAN TAKE TO MEET IN GROUPS OUTDOORS IS, UM, VERY BENEFICIAL FOR DECREASING SPREAD TESTING.

BEFORE YOU GO TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE NOT ILL BEFORE YOU GO TO VISIT FRIENDS AND FAMILY WILL BE ESSENTIAL AND MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL IS THAT YOU MUST GET YOUR BOOSTER.

IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE AND GET VACCINATED.

IF YOU'VE NOT RECEIVED ANY VACCINE, I CAN'T STRESS ENOUGH THAT THIS IS A TIME WHEN WE'RE OUT IN PUBLIC PLACES, GETTING READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

YOU'RE GOING BE INDOORS, SHOPPING AND GATHERING WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE, THOSE DINNER PARTIES AND PARTIES HAPPEN.

IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, EVEN IF YOU'VE BEEN VACCINATED TO WEAR A MASK, WE DO KNOW THAT THERE'S ASYMPTOMATIC TRANSMISSION OF THIS VIRUS TO THOSE WHO ARE VACCINATED, PARTICULARLY THOSE THAT HAVE NOT HAD THEIR BOOSTER.

SO IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU PROTECT YOURSELF AND MASK WHEN YOU ARE INDOORS IN PUBLIC PLACES.

THIS QUESTION IS FROM K O O P RADIO.

WHAT PREPARATIONS IS APH MAKING TO HOSPITALIZED AND VENTILATE CENTRAL TEXANS ONCE THE ALMOND, CRANBERRY AND ARRIVES IN THIS AREA, IS THERE ANY SPECIAL INSTRUCTION MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS SHOULD BE GIVING TO COMMUNITY MEMBERS BESIDES GET VACCINATED, GET BOOSTED AND MASK.

IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO DO ALL OF THOSE MITIGATION THINGS THAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT, MASKING SOCIAL DISTANCING, WASHING HANDS, AND REALLY GETTING YOUR VACCINATION IN A BOOSTER.

IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE.

THEN IN ADDITION TO THAT, UM, ON THE 6TH OF DECEMBER, THE CDC,

[00:25:02]

UM, UPDATED THEIR GUIDANCE ON, UH, TESTING SELF-TESTING, AND THEY'VE RECOMMENDED THAT IF YOU'RE GOING TO BE TRAVELING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON TO TEST YOURSELF BEFORE YOU GO TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE NOT SICK.

UM, AND SO THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO PUT ON THAT CHECKLIST OF PLANNING WHEN WE'RE GETTING READY TO GO AND SEE OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS IS HOLIDAY.

AND IT'S ALSO IMPORTANT TO TEST WHEN YOU RETURN TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU DIDN'T, YOU WEREN'T EXPOSED WHILE YOU'RE OUT AND VISITING.

SO THE BIG TAKE HOME MESSAGES, NOW'S NOT THE TIME TO, TO TAKE ANYTHING OFF THE TABLE.

NOW IS THE TIME TO WEAR A MASK INDOORS IN PUBLIC PLACES.

NOW'S THE TIME TO GET VACCINATED IF YOU'VE NOT BEEN VACCINATED.

AND NOW IS THE TIME TO GET YOUR BOOSTER SHOT IF YOU'RE 16 YEARS OR OLDER, SO THAT WE CAN ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS AND HOPEFULLY PREVENT A SURGE IN CASES.

AND I'LL ADD ALSO, UM, YOU KNOW, ONE THING THAT, UM, ESPECIALLY WITH CORONAVIRUS, WHAT WE'VE SEEN AS WE INVESTIGATE THESE CASES IS THAT ONE, A LOT OF PEOPLE MAY HAVE VERY MILD SYMPTOMS AND THEY, THEY MAY THINK IT'S NOTHING, BUT YOU KNOW, WHAT, IT ENDS UP BEING SOMETHING ENDS UP BEING CORONA VIRUS.

AND, UH, THEN IT, THEN IT ENDS UP BEING SOME KIND OF SUPER SPREADER EVENT WHERE WE WERE, YOU KNOW, INVESTIGATING THE OUTBREAK OR A CLUSTER OF ILLNESSES, ILLNESS WITHIN, UH, UH, SOCIAL SETTING.

SO, YOU KNOW, I WOULD STRESS IN ADDITION TO ALL THESE OTHER THINGS, IF YOU EVEN HAVE THE SLIGHTEST SYMPTOMS, UH, YOU NEED TO, YOU NEED TO STAY HOME.

IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL, YOU MAY NOT HAVE FEVER, BUT YOU MAY HAVE A SCRATCHY THROAT.

YOU MAY HAVE SNIFFLES.

UM, AND THOSE COULD BE INDICATIONS THAT YOU HAVE COVID.

SO, UH, IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS OF COVID OR COLD AND FLU OR RESPIRATORY TYPE SCENT SYMPTOMS, UH, YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU STAY HOME AND ISOLATE YOURSELF SO THAT YOU DON'T SPREAD DISEASE ELSEWHERE.

AND AGAIN, LIKE WHEN YOU HEARD THE TERM AND NO ONE'S SAID IT IN A LONG TIME, FLATTEN THE CURVE, WE NEED TO FLATTEN THE CURVE HERE.

WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE STOP THE DISEASE TRANSMISSION CYCLE.

AND THAT IS THE WAY TO DO THAT IS BY DOING ALL THESE THINGS THAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT.

AND NEXT QUESTION IS FROM LINDA DIVISION 62 LAST YEAR, MANY PEOPLE COULDN'T OR DIDN'T WANT TO TRAVEL BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T VACCINATED FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND PEOPLE TO TRAVEL THIS YEAR? WHAT ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU TEST BEFORE YOU TRAVEL AND TEST WHEN YOU RETURNED FROM TRAVEL, REGARDLESS OF YOUR VACCINATION STATUS, IF YOU ARE SICK, AS JANET JUST SAID, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU STAY HOME, UM, AND NOT GO AND SPREAD YOUR RESPIRATORY ILLNESS TO SOMEONE ELSE.

UM, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU MASK IN INDOOR PUBLIC SPACES, UH, WHERE YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH, WHETHER PEOPLE ARE VACCINATED AROUND YOU, OR IF THEY'RE ILL, IF YOU'RE GOING TO GO AND VISIT SOMEBODY WHO IS AT RISK FOR SEVERE DISEASE FROM COVID-19, YOU SHOULD MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE VACCINATED FULLY AND BOOSTED.

IF YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR A BOOSTER AND PROTECT THEM.

UM, THIS IS THE TIME WHEN WE'RE SHARING OUR LOVE WITH OUR LOVED ONES.

AND AS CASSIE SAID EARLIER, THE GREATEST GIFT THAT WE CAN GIVE EACH OTHER IS THAT PROTECTION OF OUR HEALTH AND THEIR HEALTH.

UM, WE WE'RE, WE'RE CHOOSING LIFE IN THIS SEASON.

WE'RE CHOOSING TO SHARE THE LOVE THAT WE HAVE FOR EACH OTHER IN THIS SEASON.

AND IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR US TO TAKE THOSE STEPS THAT WE KNOW WORK TO MAKE THAT POSSIBLE, TO MAKE THAT JOY POSSIBLE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT, HOW'S THE EMERGENCE OF THE AHMAD CRIME VARIANT YIELDED AN INCREASE IN PEOPLE RECEIVING THEIR FIRST DOSES.

WE HAVE SEEN, IT HAS BEEN A LITTLE INTERESTING, UM, AT, WITH EVERY CLINIC WE HAVE, WE DO SEE A TRICKLE OF FIRST DOSES.

UM, WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE, UM, BUT WE ALSO HAVE A VERY HIGH VACCINATION RATE.

UM, AND THERE'S A LOT OF, UH, REASONS WHY, UH, THOSE, UH, FIRST DOSES, WE ACTUALLY TALKED WITH SOME, I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO SOME OF THEM.

SO SOME OF THE ANECDOTES THAT WE'VE HEARD IN THE FIELD ARE,

[00:30:01]

UM, THESE ARE INDIVIDUALS WHO SUFFERED IN THE DELTA VARIANT AND, UM, HAD INFUSION AND AS A RESULT, UM, ANTIBODY INFUSION HAS TO WAIT 90 DAYS.

AND SO WE'RE RIGHT NOW HITTING THAT 90 DAY MARK SO THEY CAN GET THERE AND THEY WERE IN VACCINATED.

SO NOW THEY'RE CHOOSING TO GET VACCINATED BECAUSE OF THE DISEASE THEY SUFFERED DURING DELTA.

OTHER, UM, INFORMATION I'VE HEARD IS THAT, UM, SOME VACCINE MANDATES WERE COMING THROUGH, UM, DEPENDING ON THEIR EMPLOYER OR WHATNOT.

AND SO THEY WERE NEEDING TO GET VACCINATED BECAUSE OF THAT.

AND THEN ON THE CRA AMI, AMI CRON HAS ALSO BEEN, UM, A MOTIVATOR FOR SOME FOLKS TO GET VACCINATED, BUT THAT'S, UM, IT'S A VERY, VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE THAT WE'RE SEEING, UM, WITH THE FIRST DOSE UPTAKE, UM, OUTSIDE OF THAT FIVE TO 11 YEAR OLD POPULATION, WE STILL DO WANT TO ENCOURAGE THAT.

UM, EVERYONE WHO'S FIVE YEARS OLD AND OLDER CAN BE VACCINATED FOR COVID-19.

AND SO IF YOU ARE IN THAT CATEGORY AND YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED, UM, YOUR VACCINE WHERE YOU STILL HAVE NOT COMPLETED YOUR VACCINE SERIES, WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE THAT YOU GET VACCINATED.

SO THAT'S, THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW.

UM, LITERALLY THAT'S MOST OF OUR POPULATION, UM, IS ELIGIBLE.

SO WE WANT TO SEE THOSE, UM, EXTEND AND CONTINUE TO INCREASE.

UM, AND THEN IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR BOOSTER, ONE MORE TIME, IT'S TIME TO GET BOOSTED.

IF YOU, UM, HAD TO BOOST YOUR IN JULY, UM, YOU SHOULD BE LOOKING AT YOUR CAR TO SEE IF IT'S TIME TO GET USED TO IT.

SO WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE THAT.

AND IF YOU RECEIVED A JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE, UM, ANYONE WHO RECEIVED A JOHNSON JOHNSON VACCINE NEEDS TO GET A SECOND DOSE TWO MONTHS AFTER THEIR INITIAL DOSE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CBS AUSTIN.

NOW THAT WE'RE TWO WEEKS OUT FROM THANKSGIVING, WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE? THE IMPACT HAS BEEN FROM THAT HOLIDAY ON NEW CASES, WE ARE SEEING AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF CASES THAT WE'RE, UM, RECEIVING.

UM, WE'VE BEEN SEEING SOME INCREASE IN OUR SCHOOL CASES AFTER THOSE INDOOR GATHERINGS WITH FAMILIES AT THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY TIME.

AND, UM, I'LL LET JANET GO ON TO GIVE YOU SOME MORE DETAILS ON WHAT THEIR CASE INVESTIGATION TEAM'S BEEN SAYING.

YEAH.

SO I DID ASK THE CASE INVESTIGATORS THIS SPECIFIC QUESTION THIS MORNING.

AND, UM, AGAIN, I, I WANTED TO KNOW WHERE THEIR CLUSTERS ASSOCIATED WITH, UM, FAMILY GATHERINGS AND SUCH AND WELL.

UH, I THINK MOST PEOPLE WERE VERY CAREFUL.

UH, THE BIGGEST TREND AS FAR AS CASES GO HAVE BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED TRAVEL.

SO PEOPLE WHO'VE ACTUALLY TRAVELED TO OTHER AREAS WHERE THEY HAVE A HIGHER TRANSMISSION RATE OF COVID AND COME BACK TO AUSTIN ARE THOSE THAT ARE GETTING, UH, THAT ARE BECOMING ILL AND BEING EXPOSED TO COVID.

SO I THINK THIS IS WHY IT'S ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT, UH, TO IMPLEMENT THE CDC GUIDANCE AND THOSE THINGS THAT DR.

WATTS HAS TALKED ABOUT TODAY, ABOUT TESTING BEFORE YOU GO SOMEWHERE AND TESTING WHEN YOU RETURN.

AND IF YOU, IF YOU ARE ILL, OR IF YOU ENCOUNTER SOMEONE WHO IS COVID POSITIVE, YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE QUARANTINING AND ISOLATING, UH, CORRECTLY.

UM, SO, SO YEAH, UH, TRAVEL AND WE WILL SEE A MUCH GREATER TRAVEL, UH, I THINK THIS HOLIDAY SEASON, UH, WHICH IS GREAT FOR PEOPLE TO SEE THEIR FAMILY AND LOVED ONES, JUST MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE DOING EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND ROUGE, UH, SO THAT YOU CAN HAVE A SAFE HOLIDAY WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS, BUT IT'S BEEN MAINLY A LOT OF IT HAS BEEN RELATED TO TRAVEL EXPOSURE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KUT, WHAT EFFORTS ARE BEING MADE TO VACCINATE COMMUNITIES WITH LOW VACCINATION RATES WITH THEIR FIRST DOSE, HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE GETTING VACCINATED PER WEEK THROUGH THOSE METHODS? SO I'LL, UH, JUMP IN AND ANSWER THAT.

UM, WE DO A LOT OF DIRECT OUTREACH INTO, UH, AREAS AND ZIP CODES.

WE KNOW HAVE LOW VACCINE OF TANK.

UM, WE DO ON THE GROUND, UM, OUTREACH.

WE WORK WITH TRUSTED COMMUNITY SOURCES THAT THE COMMUNITY IS FAMILIAR WITH, AND WE TRY TO BE IN SPACES AND PLACES THAT THE COMMUNITY TRUSTS AND ARE COMFORTABLE IN SO THAT, UM, WE CAN BE EASILY ACCESSIBLE.

WE ALSO WORK WITH OUR, UM, HEALTH EQUITY LINE, UH, TO DIRECTLY CALL OUT TO FOLKS WHO, UM, MAY NEED EITHER A BOOSTER THAT'S FROM THAT COMMUNITY AND THEY'RE SUFFERED HIGHER RATES OF DISEASE.

OR ALSO IF WE GET INFORMATION ABOUT GROUPS THAT, UM, ARE STILL SEEKING VACCINE AND HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET A FIRST DOSE,

[00:35:01]

THEY ALSO HAVE BEEN REALLY BENEFICIAL IN, IN TRYING TO REACH OUT TO THEM.

SOME OF THE, UM, IT'S DIFFICULT FOR ME TO TEASE OUT THE DATA SPECIFICALLY FROM THOSE, UM, THOSE SPECIFIC, UM, ZIP CODES.

UH, WE DO KNOW FROM THE ZIP CODES, HOW MUCH VACCINE UPTAKE WE HAVE, BUT I'D HAVE TO GO BACK AND LOOK A LITTLE DEEPER TO PULL OUT THE FIRST DOSE UPTAKE.

UM, BUT I THINK WHAT'S ALSO IMPORTANT IS WE LOOK AT ALL OF THEM.

OUR GOAL IS TO GET THEM UP TO 70%.

AND, UM, RIGHT NOW WE HAVE A FEW THAT ARE UNDER THAT 60%.

AND EVEN WHEN THAT'S UNDER 50%.

AND SO WE, WE REALLY ARE FOCUSED IN TARGETING IN AREAS TO MAKE SURE THAT, UM, ANYONE WHO'S SEEKING A VACCINE HAS ACCESS.

UM, AND, UH, AND WE'RE MAKING OURSELVES AVAILABLE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND UTILIZING TRUSTED SOURCES THROUGH FAITH-BASED COMMUNITIES.

WE'RE AT CHURCHES, UM, THROUGH, UM, BUSINESSES, LOCAL BUSINESSES THROUGH, UM, AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMPLEXES.

SO WE TRY TO BE IN EVERY SPACE WE POSSIBLY CAN BE, BUT WE KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE EXPERIENCING BARRIERS TO ACCESS VACCINE AND ALSO HOSTING EDUCATIONAL, UM, UH, SESSIONS, BECAUSE SOMETIMES IT TAKES TIME FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR ABOUT, UH, THE VACCINE AND TO, TO COME TO THAT DECISION BECAUSE THIS DECISION IS PERSONAL.

UM, IT'S YOUR HEALTH DECISION, AND WE WANNA MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION THAT YOU NEED, UH, TO MAKE THAT DECISION FOR YOURSELF AND FOR YOUR FAMILY.

NEXT QUESTION, OH, EXCUSE ME, JEFF, ON THERE REAL QUICK, UM, TO, TO SAY SPECIFICALLY, YOU KNOW, NOT ONLY ARE WE LOOKING AT GEOGRAPHIC AREAS WHERE WE HAVE LOW UPTAKE, WE DO KNOW THAT IN POPULATIONS THAT ARE HISTORICALLY UNDERSERVED OR MARGINALIZED, THE RACE ARE NOT WHERE WE WOULD LIKE THEM TO BE.

AND SO THERE IS A FULL COURT PRESS IN OUR BLACK AND LATIN X COMMUNITIES TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE PROVIDING NOT ONLY INFORMATION AND ACTS OR ACCESS, BUT RESOURCES AND TOOLS, BECAUSE WE UNDERSTAND THAT APH MIGHT NOT BE THE PLACE THAT A PERSON CHOOSES TO, TO GET THEIR INFORMATION FROM, OR EVEN FROM THEIR VACCINE.

SO OUR PARTNERSHIPS WITH COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS AND OTHER FAITH GROUPS, AS KASEY MENTIONED, ARE VERY IMPORTANT IN THESE EFFORTS.

THE CITY MADE A SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT IN COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS, AND WE'VE BEEN VERY INTENTIONAL ABOUT RECRUITING, UH, UH, PEOPLE THAT ARE REFLECTIVE OF THE COMMUNITIES THAT WE ARE TRYING TO SERVE.

AND WE ARE CONTINUING TO DEVELOP OUR LANGUAGE ACCESS PROGRAMS TO MAKE SURE THAT, UM, LANGUAGE IS NOT A BARRIER, BUT NOT ONLY ARE WE GIVING A LOT OF INFORMATION.

WE'VE ALSO BEEN VERY INTENTIONAL ABOUT HAVING OPPORTUNITIES FOR COMMUNITIES TO REPORT BACK TO US.

WHAT DID WORK, YOU KNOW, WHAT'S WHAT, WHAT IS THE REASON WHY THEY'RE NOT SEEKING A VACCINE IN ANY WAY THAT WE CAN INFLUENCE THOSE DECISIONS OR IMPROVE OUR PROCESSES OR OUR PARTNERSHIPS TO DO THAT? WE'VE BEEN VERY INTENTIONAL ABOUT THAT.

THANK YOU.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM K X, A N THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION RECENTLY ANNOUNCED TAKE HOME TESTING IS GOING TO BE FREE FOR AMERICANS.

IS THAT HAPPENING LOCALLY? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR HOLIDAY TESTING? AND SO PART OF OUR, UM, PANDEMIC RESPONSE, UH, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE COUNTY AND THE OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, WE HAVE CRUTCHES, UM, TEST HOME TEST KITS.

UM, THOSE ARE BEING DISTRIBUTED THROUGH, UH, CITY OF AUSTIN AND NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICE CENTERS.

UM, DURING THE FOOD PANTRY OPTIONS, UH, TRAVIS COUNTY IS ALSO DISTRIBUTING THOSE KITS ALONG WITH THEIR FOOD PANTRY EFFORTS AT THE TRAVIS COUNTY COMMUNITY CENTERS.

AND AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, UM, YOU KNOW, WE, WE HAD AN ORGANIZATION REACH OUT TO SAY THAT THEY WERE DOING, UM, VERY IMPORTANT OUTREACH IN THE DEL VALLEY AREA.

AND COULD, DID WE HAVE ANY TEST KITS? WELL, WE SURE DID.

AND SO AGAIN, IT'S THAT KIND OF BEING ABLE TO PROVIDE THE SERVICES OURSELVES, WORKING IN COLLABORATION WITH PARTNERS AND ALSO RESOURCING OUR COMMUNITY TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE TEST KITS ARE AVAILABLE.

AND SO NOT ONLY ARE WE MAKING SURE THAT THE KIDS ARE AVAILABLE, THERE'S A FULL INFORMATION SHEET OF WHAT FOLKS SHOULD DO.

SHOULD THEY TEST POSITIVE? WE WANT THEM TO CALL THE NURSE LINE.

YOU KNOW, WE WANT THEM TO REPORT, UM, TO APH, AND THEN WE WANT THEM TO, TO, TO STAY HOME AND ISOLATE AND MAKE SURE THEY CONTACT THEIR DOCTOR BECAUSE THEY COULD BE ELIGIBLE FOR MONOCLONAL ANTIBODIES.

AND WE HAVE SEEN THAT TREATMENT WORK WONDERS AND REDUCING THE SEVERITY OF DISEASE.

AND SO, UH, WE ARE FULL FORCE WITH MAKING SURE THAT OUR COMMUNITY HAS ACCESS TO THOSE FREE RESOURCES.

THIS QUESTION IS FROM K O P RADIO ARE BOOSTERS THE SAME AS CURRENT FIRST AND AS APPLICABLE.

SECOND DOSES

[00:40:02]

ARE ALL BOOSTERS FOR ALL THREE VACCINES NOW AVAILABLE TO THOSE 16 AND OLDER, AND ARE THE DOSES FOR AVAILABLE BOOSTERS? THE SAME FOR ALL AGE GROUPS, I'LL, I'LL START.

UM, ALL THREE VACCINES ARE AVAILABLE AND THEY'RE AVAILABLE THROUGH AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH.

THE ONLY VACCINE THAT'S AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WHO ARE 18 AND OLDER IS THE PFIZER VACCINE.

AND IT'S DIFFERENT FOR THOSE WHO ARE 11 YEARS OLD AND OLDER.

IT'S A DIFFERENT VACCINE, UH, FOR YOUR FIRST AND SECOND DOSE THAN THE OTHER PFIZER VACCINE.

IF YOU'RE 12 AND OLDER THAN THE PFIZER VACCINE THAT'S AVAILABLE, OR THE 12 AND OLDER POPULATION IS ONE VACCINE, THE FIVE TO 11 VACCINE IS STILL A PFIZER COVID VACCINE, BUT IT'S A DIFFERENT DOSING, UM, UH, SCENARIO.

AND IT'S A DIFFERENT, UM, IT'S JUST, IT'S JUST PACKAGED A DIFFERENT WAY.

SO IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT, AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE VERY UPFRONT AND HONEST WHEN YOU'RE FILLING OUT YOUR INFORMATION.

IT'S HARD FOR THE INDIVIDUAL AT THE, AT THE VACCINE CENTER TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 10 AND NINE AND A 12 YEAR OLD.

SO IF YOUR CHILD IS 12, YOU NEED TO BE GETTING THE 12 YEAR OLD AND OLDER VACCINE.

IF YOUR CHILD IS 11 AND UNDER, THEY NEED TO BE GETTING THE YOUNGER VERSION OF THE PFIZER VACCINE.

IF YOU ARE, UM, GETTING A MADONNA BOOSTER, THERE'S A DIFFERENCE IN THEM.

AND THEY'RE NOT BOOSTER IF YOU ARE NEEDING AND YOU ARE IMMUNOCOMPROMISED, IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU TALK ABOUT, UM, YOUR HEALTH SITUATION SO THAT YOU AND THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION ABOUT WHICH DOSE ADDITIONAL DOSE DO YOU NEED.

DO YOU NEED THE FULL THIRD DOSE, WHICH IS A FULL DOSE OF MADRONA, WHICH IS THE SAME DOSING THAT YOU GOT FOR YOUR FIRST AND SECOND DOSE, OR ARE YOU ELIGIBLE TO GET JUST A NORMAL BOOSTER AND WHETHER THE FDA HAS RECOMMENDED THAT IT'S BASICALLY HALF THE DOSE THAT YOU WOULD HAVE RECEIVED FROM YOUR FIRST AND SECOND DOSE, THAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT.

IF YOU ARE IMMUNOCOMPROMISED IN ANY WAY, YOU REALLY NEED TO HAVE THAT CONVERSATION BECAUSE THAT DECISION IS IMPORTANT TO, TO MAKE AN IMPACT ON WHETHER OR NOT YOUR IMMUNITY AND THE PROTECTION THAT YOU NEED IS GOING TO BE, UM, UH, PROVIDED THROUGH THE TYPE OF DOSING THAT, UM, WE'RE ABLE TO PROVIDE.

SO THOSE CONVERSATIONS ARE REALLY IMPORTANT.

UM, I'VE HAD, AGAIN, SOME ANECDOTES FROM THE FIELD WHERE INDIVIDUALS HAVE SAID THEY COME THROUGH THE CLINIC, THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO GET THE MADRONA BOOSTER.

AND AFTER THEY WENT THROUGH THE PROCESS, THEY, UM, THE DECISION WAS MADE AND IT'S MADE WITH THE PATIENT AND WITH THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER THAT THEY'RE MORE APPROPRIATE TO GIVE THEM AN ADDITIONAL DOSE BASED ON THEIR HEALTH CONDITIONS.

SO THOSE ARE THINGS TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE AWARE OF AND THAT, UM, WHEN YOU GO IN TO GET YOUR VACCINE, THAT YOU ARE INFORMED ABOUT THOSE THINGS SO THAT YOU CAN RECEIVE THE BEST CARE POSSIBLE.

AND I JUST LIKE TO ADD THAT THE NEW BOOSTER THAT'S BEEN APPROVED FOR THE 16 AND 17 YEAR OLDS IS PFIZER AND JUST PFIZER.

UM, SO, UH, THE BOOSTER FOR THE 16 AND 17 YEAR OLDS IS FOR PFIZER PRODUCT.

THIS IS THE FINAL QUESTION, AND IT'S FROM UNIVISION 62.

IF PEOPLE GET THE BOOSTER SHOT, WILL IT STILL BE RECOMMENDED TO WEAR THE MASK, PLEASE WEAR YOUR MASK.

UM, A MASK IS AN EXTRA LAYER OF PROTECTION, AND IT'S GOING TO PROTECT YOU FROM BECOMING SICK WITH COVID-19.

IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE SOMEONE WHO'S AN ASYMPTOMATIC CARRIER OF COVID-19, YOU'LL BE PROTECTING SOMEONE WHO, UM, YOU MAY COME IN CONTACT WITH WHO IS UNVACCINATED OR AT RISK FOR, UM, HAVING COVID-19, UH, A SEVERE CASE.

UH COVID-19 SO I, I, IT'S AN EXTRA LAYER OF PROTECTION.

UM, MANY OF US HAVE PURCHASED SEVERAL DIFFERENT STYLES AND COLORS TO MATCH UP.

THAT'S.

UM, I'M LOOKING FOR SOMEBODY TO COME OUT WITH ONE THAT LOOKS LIKE A SANTA CLAUS, UH, MASK WITH A BEARD ON IT FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON, BUT IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT.

IT'S AN EXTRA LAYER OF PROTECTION.

AS A DIRECTOR STIRRUP SAID IN ONE OF OUR PRESS CONFERENCES, LIGHTWEIGHT, IT'S EASY TO, TO PUT ONE ON.

UM, AND IT'S JUST GOING TO HELP US DECREASE THE SPREAD OF THIS DISEASE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND SO FAR WITH MASKING AND THE VACCINE RATES THAT WE'VE HAD.

AND NOW WITH THE, UM, INCREASED SOME BOOSTERS THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO DEPLOY, WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO KEEP OUR CASE DOWN, AND IT WOULD BE NICE FOR ALL OF US TO HAVE A HOLIDAY SEASON WHERE WE'RE NOT SEEING A SURGE IN OUR HOSPITALS AND OUR HEALTHCARE WORKERS WOULD APPRECIATE THAT TOO.

I'M JUST GOING TO SAY IT ONE MORE TIME.

CAUSE MY MAMA TOLD ME IF YOU HEARD SOMETHING THREE TIMES, IT MUST BE TRUE.

AND SO HOPEFULLY JANET AND CASSIE WILL HELP ME OUT.

YES, A MASK WILL CONTINUE TO BE NECESSARY.

PLEASE

[00:45:01]

CONTINUE TO WEAR YOUR MASKS.

AND I'LL ADD FOR THE THIRD TIME, YES, MASS WILL BE NECESSARY.

YOU NEED TO BREAK THE GOAL HERE IS TO BREAK THE TRANSMISSION CYCLE.

UM, NOT, YOU KNOW, IT'S A LIFE-SAVING TOOL, THAT'S AT OUR DISPOSAL AND, UM, WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO BREAK THIS TRANSMISSION CYCLE AND PROTECT NOT ONLY YOURSELF, BUT THOSE AROUND YOU, ESPECIALLY WITH OMICRON ON THE HORIZON.

AND WE DON'T KNOW THE TRANSMIT.

I MEAN, WE KNOW THAT IT'S, IT APPEARS TO BE MUCH MORE TRANSMISSIBLE.

WE NEED TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO PROTECT OURSELVES.

AND MASKING IS ONE OF THOSE AUCTIONS AND I'LL JUST LAY HER ON FOR THAT EXTRA MASK MASK MASK, WASH HANDS, STAY HOME.

IF YOU'RE SICK, THINK ABOUT YOUR FAMILY.

THINK ABOUT YOUR FRIENDS BECAUSE THE BEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE IS TO NOT GET THEM SICK AND VACCINATE VACCINATE VACCINATE.

ALL RIGHT, WE'RE HEARING YOU LADIES LOUD AND CLEAR.

WE WANT TO THANK DR.

WACHS APH, INTERIM DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET PICHET, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION.

BECAUSE UNDER THAT LEON AND TO OUR POOL REPORTER TODAY, BETH SULLIVAN FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.

HAVE A SAFE WEEKEND.

WEAR YOUR MASK, GET VACCINATED.