Link

Social

Embed

Download

Download
Download Transcript


[COVID-19: Press Q & A]

[00:00:06]

GOOD MORNING.

I'M SYDNEY VENTER, PUBLIC INFORMATION SPECIALIST FOR AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH AND MODERATING TODAY'S NEWS CONFERENCE.

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

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

THEN JANET PUSH-IN, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, AND HIS ENTRE DE LEON AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION DIVISION WE'RE.

THEN GOING TO OPEN IT UP TO OUR POOL REPORTER CONNOR BOARD.

SHE WAS GOING TO ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA, DR.

WACHS, WE'LL START WITH YOU.

GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE.

WE'VE COME TOGETHER THIS MORNING TO WARN OUR COMMUNITY OF THE DANGER WE FACE HEADING INTO THE NEXT FEW WEEKS.

WE ARE LOWERING OUR STAGE FOUR THRESHOLD TO 25 BECAUSE THE U TEAM MODELING CONSORTIUM REPORTS THAT OMAR KHAN WILL OVERTAKE DELTA IN OUR COMMUNITY CAUSING A RAPID RISE IN CASES AND HOSPITALIZATIONS.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? BECAUSE WE ARE CONTINUING TO ACT AS THOUGH WE'RE IN STAGE TWO.

AND IF THIS CONTINUES, OUR ICU BEDS WILL FILL UP AND OVERFLOW BY HUNDREDS.

BY THE TIME THE NEW YEAR ARRIVES, WE ARE ON THE BRINK OF STAGE FOUR, AND WE NEED TO ACT AS SUCH.

WE NEED TO WEAR MASK IN ALL INDOOR SITUATIONS, INCLUDING INDOOR DINING AND SHOPPING ON THE CONS ARRIVAL AND AUSTIN COINCIDES WITH ONE OF THE BUSIEST TIMES OF YEAR WHEN PEOPLE ARE TRAVELING AND GATHERING AND LARGE GROUPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

RIGHT NOW, ACCORDING TO CDC, AMR CRIME MAKES UP 92% OF WHAT'S CIRCULATING IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND THIS IS GOING TO IMPACT OUR COMMUNITY IN WAYS THAT ARE CRUCIAL TO OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEMS. BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, UM, HOSPITALS USUALLY SAW AN INCREASE IN PATIENTS AROUND THIS TIME OF YEAR DUE TO RESPIRATORY ILLNESS OR JUST ROUTINE MEDICAL CARE CAR CRASS, IT CRUSHES, FREEZING WEATHER AND, AND MORE, BUT THIS YEAR WE HAVE THIS NEW, MORE TRANSMISSIBLE VARIANT ON MCCONN.

AND AS OF LAST WEEK, WE HAD HEARD REPORTS FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM THAT WE'RE NOT SURE THAT THIS IS NOT AS SEVERE DISEASE AS THE DELTA VARIANT.

SO WE REALLY MUST TAKE TIME AND TAKE STOCK TO DO THE THINGS THAT WE KNOW WILL HELP US PREVENT THE SPREAD IN OUR COMMUNITY.

BY MASKING INDOORS.

WE CANNOT LET OUR HOSPITAL SYSTEM DOWN.

WE CANNOT LET OUR HEALTHCARE WORKERS DOWN.

WE CANNOT LET OUR SYSTEM OF HOSPITALS FALL VICTIM TO ANOTHER SURGE.

WE MUST GET IN FRONT OF THIS.

WE HAVE THE POWER TO HELP YOU HAVE THE POWER TO HELP.

WE MAY EVERYONE TO GET VACCINATED, GET THEIR BOOSTER, WEAR MASK AND DOORS IN PUBLIC SETTINGS AND GET TESTED BEFORE AND AFTER TRAVELING TO VISIT WITH FRIENDS AND LOVED ONES, LET'S BE RESPONSIBLE AND SHOW COMPASSION FOR ONE ANOTHER.

IN THIS SEASON OF HOLIDAY CHEER, GET TESTED BEFORE TRAVEL AND GATHERING CAT VACCINATED AND GET BOOSTED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

AND NOW HAS SUSSAN TWO DIRECTOR STIRRUP.

THANK YOU, DR.

WACHS.

UM, GOOD MORNING, AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY.

UH, YOU KNOW, IT'S, IT, IT COULD POTENTIALLY BE AN ALARMING TIME.

UM, DEFINITELY THE INFORMATION THAT DR.

WACHS SHARED IS CAUSE FOR CONCERN, UM, THE STORIES THAT WE'RE SEEING ON THE NEWS MEDIA ABOUT ALMA CRON AND THE SPREAD OR CAUSE FOR CONCERN, BUT WE'LL, I WILL SAY THAT THERE'S NO CAUSE FOR FEAR AND FOR PANIC.

AND THE REASON FOR THAT IS WE HAVE THE CRIB NOTES TO THE TEST.

WE KNOW WHAT WORKS.

AND SO AGAIN, VACCINATIONS, NUMBER ONE, NO MATTER WHAT

[00:05:01]

VARIANT COVID-19 CHOOSES TO THROW AT US, WE STILL KNOW THAT OUR VACCINES ARE EFFECTIVE AT PREVENTING SEVERE DISEASE AND HOSPITALIZATIONS AND DEATH.

WE ALSO KNOW THAT MASKING WORKS.

SO IF YOU'RE IN A SETTING WHERE YOU'RE UNSURE OF SOMEONE'S VACCINATION STATUS, SPEED, THE INDOORS OR OUT PUT ON THE BAGS AND TESTING, IF YOU KNOW, BEFORE YOU GO, YOUR HOLIDAY PLANS ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU AND YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE ME.

MOM, WE'LL GET A COVID TEST.

YOU CAN COME TO ANY OF OUR APH LOCATIONS.

YOU CAN GO TO YOUR LOCAL CLINIC OR PHARMACY.

YOU CAN GO TO HEB OR WALMART AND PICK ONE UP AND DO IT AT HOME.

DR.

WACHS GAVE A WONDERFUL DINNER ON THE STRENGTHS OF THE OTHER DAY ON THE NEW EVIDENCE.

UM, I DIDN'T KNOW IF I HAD CEDAR FEVER OR COVID I WENT AND PICKED UP ONE AND I, I DID A DOUBLE DOSE.

I WANTED TO BE SURE.

SO THERE'S TWO TESTS IN THE PACK.

WE HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE AND THAT MEANS THAT WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS FOR OURSELVES AND OUR COMMUNITY.

AND THEN THE MESSAGE OF THE HOSPITAL SYSTEM IS NOT RINGING OR RESONATING WITH YOU, THEN DO IT FOR YOURSELF AND THE ONES THAT YOU LOVE.

BECAUSE ONE THING THAT WE KNOW THAT COVID DOES HAVE THE POWER TO TAKE LIVES, BUT WE HAVE THE POWER TO PROTECT THEM.

SO VACCINATE WEAR YOUR MASK SOCIALLY DISTANCE AND TEST.

AND WITH THAT, I PASS IT OVER TO JEN PUSH-IN, UH, GOOD MORNING, AUSTIN AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

UH, YOU NOW, AS WE BEGIN TO PREPARE FOR THE HOLIDAYS, UH, WE ARE SEEING A JUMP IN THE DEMAND FOR OUR TESTING, UH, AT AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH.

AND I'M SURE THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY, UH, PLEASE BE SURE THAT, UH, IF YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TEST, UM, THE TESTING IS NOT ONLY GOING TO BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO FOR, FOR YOURSELF TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE SAFE, BUT IT'S AN ADDED MEASURE TO PROTECT THOSE LOVED ONES THAT ARE AROUND YOU SO THAT YOU'RE NOT TRANSMITTING DISEASE TO SOMEBODY WHO MAY BE VULNERABLE OR AT RISK JUST YESTERDAY AT THE EXP 10 TRAVIS COUNTY EXPOSITION CENTER, UH, WE SAW ROUGHLY 425 PEOPLE THAT TESTED IN ANTICIPATION OF THE HOLIDAYS.

THAT'S A 134% INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF TESTING THAT WE HAD, UH, IN THE PRIOR WEEK, SINCE, SINCE THE PREVIOUS WEEK.

SO WE'RE, WE'RE SEEING TESTING DEMAND, INCREASING WE'RE SEEING TEST KITS, UH, BEING, UH, HARD TO COME BY IN THE COMMERCIAL PHARMACY SPACE.

SO IF YOU, IF YOU DO, YOU NEED TO GET A TEST, UH, THERE ARE A LOT OF, UH, PLACES TO GET TESTED AS WELL.

I, INCLUDING, UH, YOU KNOW, MINUTE CLINICS OR, UH, RETAIL PHARMACIES.

UM, YOU CAN PICK KIDS UP, UH, IF YOU SEE WHEN YOU MIGHT WANT TO PICK ONE UP, UH, AND, AND GO AHEAD AND TAKE THAT ADDED MEASURE SO THAT YOU CAN ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS WITH YOUR FAMILY WHEN KEY THING, IF YOU DO TEST BEFORE AND AFTER HE TRAVEL, MAKE SURE THAT IF YOU HAVE, AFTER YOU TRAVEL OR BEFORE YOU TRAVEL, MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE, UH, MONITORING YOUR SYMPTOMOLOGY.

UH, WE KNOW WITH OMICRON, THE SYMPTOMOLOGY IS SIMILAR.

YOU KNOW, IT'S LIKE ALL COVID RELATED TYPE ILLNESSES, BUT THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS, UH, THAT PEOPLE ARE EXPERIENCING SLIGHT FLYER SYMPTOMS. SO THEY ARE FEELING EXHAUSTED.

THEY ARE FEELING CON SEEING CONGESTION AND RUNNY NOSE AND SORE THROAT.

SO THOSE TEND TO BE SOME PREDOMINANT SYMPTOMS THAT ARE HAPPENING AND THEY TEND TO BE MUCH MILDER THAN, UH, THEN, UM, OTHER SEVERE SYMPTOMS OF COVID LIKE FEVER AND THINGS LIKE THAT, BUT JUST MAKING SURE YOU'RE MONITORING YOUR SYMPTOMOLOGY BEFORE AND AFTER YOU RETURNED FROM TRAVEL, UH, JUST TO KIND OF GIVE YOU AN UPDATE ON OMICRON, WE CONTINUE TO MONITOR FOR OWN OMICRON IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UH, WE HAVE, UH, VARIANT SEQUENCING OUT, UH, AND WE ARE WAITING FOR THOSE RESULTS TO COME BACK.

THE THREE CASES FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS THAT WERE REPORTED, UH, AS POSSIBLE CASES, UH, A WEEK OR SO AGO HAVE NOW BEEN CONFIRMED.

AND SO, UH, WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS THOSE INDIVIDUALS DID NOT HAVE ANY KIND OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL HISTORY.

AND SO THEY HAD EXPOSURE AND DISEASE TRANSMISSION HERE IN THE AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY AREA.

WHAT THAT TELLS ME IS WE HAVE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION OF OMA CROWN RIGHT NOW, AND IT IS QUICKLY TAKING OVER DELTA CASES IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND SO THIS IS ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT REASON WHY WE NEED TO BE EXTRA CAREFUL DURING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.

[00:10:01]

AND YOU HEARD DR.

WACHS SAY, WE ARE IN, YOU KNOW, WE ARE IN STAGE THREE, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THERE ARE SOME THINGS THAT WE'RE SAYING, YOU KNOW, IF YOU'RE GOING OUT SHOPPING, MAKE SURE YOU'RE MASKING UP AND MAKING, MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE TAKING THOSE ADDED PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND THE, YOUR LOVED ONES, BECAUSE, UH, IT WOULD BE TERRIBLE TO HAVE, UH, UH, DISEASE TRANSMISSION OR A SUPER SPREADER EVENT, UH, AS A RESULT.

SO, UM, YOU KNOW, JUST A REMINDER OF HOW THE VARIANT SURVEILLANCE WORKS.

WE DO GET POSITIVE TESTS AND IT DOES TAKE SOME TIME THAT THE VARIANT SEQUENCING HAS TO GO FOR THOSE SAMPLES.

IF THEY'RE STILL VIABLE, GO TO A LAB AND THEY'RE THEN SEQUENCED AND THOSE TAKE DO TAKE SOME TIME.

SO AS WE CONTINUE TO MONITOR THIS, WE'LL BE REPORTING INFORMATION AS WE HAVE IT AVAILABLE TO US.

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

AND GOOD MORNING.

I JUST WANT TO REVISIT THE SAME THINGS THAT OUR PANELISTS HAVE ALREADY TALKED ABOUT.

UM, WE KNOW THAT, UM, A CRON IS NOW OBVIOUSLY PREVALENT IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND I KNOW WHEN INITIAL DATA CAME OUT FROM SOUTH AFRICA, THERE WAS SOME HOPE THAT ALL MACRON WAS NOT GOING TO BE AS DANGEROUS AS DELTA.

WASN'T GOING TO CAUSE SEVERE ILLNESS THAT, UM, AND WE POTENTIALLY WOULD HAVE A LESSER VARIANT TO DEAL WITH, BUT WE JUST DON'T KNOW YET.

UM, WE ARE HEARING FROM, UH, INITIAL SOME DATA ANALYSIS COMING OUT OF THE, UH, THE UK.

THAT THERE'S VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE IN THE TYPES OF EFFECTS THAT ALMA CRON IS HAVING IN COMPARISON TO DELTA.

AND AS IT MOVES ACROSS THE WORLD, UM, AFFECTS POPULATIONS DIFFERENTLY.

RIGHT NOW, WE'RE STARTING TO SEE THAT THERE'S SPREAD OF ALL MACRON IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND IT'S IN TIME FOR US TO THINK ABOUT WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE SURE WE PROTECT OURSELVES FROM A POTENTIAL SURGE THAT ON A CRIME CAN CAUSE, UM, WE HAVE THE TOOLS, UH, THAT WE KNOW WILL WORK TO HELP PROTECT US.

WE KNOW THAT VACCINATION WILL GIVE US A LAYER OF PROTECTION THAT WILL PROTECT US FROM SEVERE DISEASE AND HOSPITALIZATION.

WE KNOW THAT BOOSTERS ARE NOW A IMPORTANT TOOL TO HELP, UM, BOOST OUR IMMUNITY, UH, BECAUSE MOST OF US RECEIVED OUR VACCINE, UH, BETWEEN JANUARY TO JULY OF THIS YEAR.

AND SO IT'S TIME IF YOU'VE NOT BEEN BOOSTED, IT'S TIME TO GET THAT BOOSTER DOSE.

AND WE KNOW THAT IF WE MASK AND WE SOCIAL DISTANCE AND WE STAY HOME, IF WE'RE SICK, WE CAN PROTECT EACH OTHER.

AND THOSE ARE SOME THINGS WE KNOW THAT, UM, HAVE BEEN KEY TO US PROTECTING EACH OTHER AND PROTECTING OUR LOVED ONES THIS ENTIRE YEAR AND THIS ENTIRE, UM, PANDEMIC, AS WE LOOK TO THE NEXT FEW DAYS, MANY OF US ARE PLANNING TO VISIT FOLKS WE HAVEN'T SEEN IN A VERY LONG TIME.

AND WE KNOW THAT THIS NEWS DOESN'T SIT WELL BECAUSE WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO ENJOY TIME WITH OUR FAMILY.

BUT IF WE DO THOSE THINGS, IF WE HAVE VACCINE, IF WE HAVE BOOSTERS, THOSE THINGS CAN REALLY GIVE US SOME ASSURANCE THAT WE CAN SAFELY CONNECT, BUT WE ALSO NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE ARE WEARING MASKS, THAT WE'RE BEING PROTECTED.

IF WE'RE INSIDE THAT WE'RE, WE'RE PRACTICING SOCIAL DISTANCING.

AND IF YOU ARE ILL, IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT YOU STAY HOME.

IT'S, IT'S NOT SOMETHING WE WANT TO DO FOR GO THIS HOLIDAY SEASON IN ANY WAY, BUT IF YOU DON'T FEEL WELL, IT'S IMPORTANT TO STAY HOME BECAUSE IT WILL PROTECT THOSE AROUND YOU.

AND PERHAPS YOU CAN RECONNECT A FEW WEEKS LATER, UM, AND ENJOY, ENJOY THIS TIME.

DON'T LET THIS, THIS DISEASE BE THE GRINCH TO YOUR CHRISTMAS AND YOUR HOLIDAYS.

YOU CAN, WE CAN ALL AFFECT THIS.

WE CAN ALL HELP EACH OTHER AND PROTECT EACH OTHER.

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

OKAY.

YEAH.

OUR POODLE QUARTER TODAY IS CORNER FROM KATIE.

AND SHE'S GOING TO ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF NEWS OUTLETS, CONNOR.

GOOD MORNING.

OUR FIRST QUESTION IS GOING TO BE FROM CAPE.

IT IS WHY IS THIS CHANGE BEING MADE NOW? AND WAS THIS A CONSIDERATION AROUND DELTA AS WELL? WE ARE GUIDED BY THE SCIENCE AND THE PROJECTIONS THAT WE RECEIVED FROM THE UT MODELING GRIP SHOW THAT, UM, THIS VARIANT, BECAUSE IT'S MORE EASILY SPREAD, IT'S MORE TRANSMISSIBLE, UM, IN OUR COMMUNITY HAS, UH, A MUCH MORE, A MUCH GREATER IMPACT ON OUR HOSPITAL CAPACITY.

SO WE ARE, UM, TRYING TO AVERT, UM, OVERSHOOTING OR TAXING THAT CAPACITY BY ASKING OUR COMMUNITY TO, UH, FOLLOW THE GUIDANCE, UM,

[00:15:01]

AND ADJUST THE THRESHOLDS, UM, SO THAT WE CAN INCREASE, UM, OUR MITIGATION STRATEGIES AS WE NEED TO AND TAKE THOSE STEPS THAT WE NEED TO, AS CASE NUMBERS INCREASE TO TRY AND DRIVE THOSE NUMBERS DOWN AND, AND FLATTEN THE CURVE, WHICH IS WHAT WE STARTED WITH AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF THIS PANDEMIC.

OKAY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CVS AUSTIN, AND IT'S, WHAT'S THE CONCERN LEVEL OF HOSPITALS BEING AT CAPACITY AFTER THE HOLIDAYS, IN THAT CASE, ARE YOU PREPARING TO STAND UP THE CONVENTION CENTER AS OVERFLOW FOR HOSPITALS? AGAIN, WE HAVE OUR RESOURCE PLANNING AND PREPARATION IN PLACE TO ADDRESS ANY CONCERNS OR EVENTUALITIES REGARDING HOSPITAL CAPACITY OR SHORTAGES OF OUR RESOURCES.

AND, UM, WE'RE READY TO, UM, DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO TAKE CARE OF PATIENTS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UH, YES.

AND I'LL JUST ADD TO THAT.

UH, WE DO HAVE RESOURCES AVAILABLE.

WE'VE BEEN PLANNING FOR QUITE SOME TIME WITH OUR HEALTHCARE PARTNERS AND OUR OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT FOR BOTH THE COUNTY AND THE CITY, UH, TO STAND UP RESOURCES THAT WILL SUPPORT, UH, ANY KIND OF, UH, STRESS TO THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

AND I'LL JUST ADD THAT IT REALLY IS UP TO THE COMMUNITY.

UM, IF WE START DOING WHAT WE NEED TO AND FOLLOWING GUIDANCE OF STAGE THREE MASKING IN INDOORS, PUBLIC SETTINGS TESTING, AND, UM, GETTING OUR VACCINES AND BOOSTERS, WE CAN MAKE THIS A GOOD CHRISTMAS WHERE WE'RE NOT TAXING OUR RESOURCES.

OKAY.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM UNIVISION, WHAT IS AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH DOING TO HELP THE LATINO COMMUNITY WITH THE LANGUAGE BARRIER? THE COMMUNICATE, THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING THE BOOSTER SHOTS SINCE ALMA CRON IS QUICKLY SPREADING WITHIN THE COUNTRY.

AND, UM, OUR, OUR JOINT INFORMATION SYSTEM HAS WORKED TIRELESSLY, UM, THROUGHOUT THE CITY AND WITH OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE MESSAGING AVAILABLE IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES.

UM, WE'VE HAD A STRONG PRESENCE IN THE SPANISH SPEAKING NEWS MEDIA TO MAKE SURE THAT THE INFORMATION IS BEING COMMUNICATED IN A TIMELY FASHION.

UM, AND I CAN'T FORGET THE FOLKS WHO ARE DOING THE BOOTS ON THE GROUND WORK.

UM, WE HAVE COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS, UM, BY AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH THAT ARE BILINGUAL.

WE HAVE PARTNERSHIPS WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS, UM, AND NOT ONLY THE SPANISH SPEAKING COMMUNITY, BUT IN THE AGE OF, FOR COMMUNITIES WITH ASIAN LANGUAGES, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE USING ALL OF OUR RESOURCES AND PARTNERS THAT ARE AVAILABLE TO MAKE SURE THAT MESSAGING, UM, IS, UH, IS READILY AVAILABLE.

I MISS BEING COMMUNICATED IN ON A VARIETY OF FRONTS.

UM, AND THEN ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THIS PARTNERSHIP IS THAT, UM, THE CITY AND THE COUNTY GAVE THE AUSTIN LATINO COALITION, 28,000 TEST KITS TO DISTRIBUTE IN COMMUNITY.

AND SO, AS I'VE ALWAYS SAID, YOU KNOW, WE KNOW THAT WE'RE NOT THE ONLY PEOPLE DOING THIS GOOD WORK, AND HOWEVER WE CAN SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS AND PROVIDING RESOURCES AND INFORMATION AND PLACES AND SPACES WHERE WE MIGHT NOT HAVE, UM, THE STREET CRED.

WE DEFINITELY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES.

SO IT'S OUR CONTINUED PRESENCE IN THE SPANISH SPEAKING MEDIA, AS WELL AS OUR PARTNERSHIPS WITH COMMUNITY-BASED ORGANIZATIONS AND THE STAFF WE'RE DOING THE BOOTS ON THE GROUND WORK TO COMMUNICATE WITH, UM, OUR RESIDENTS.

OKAY.

AND THIS NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COOPERATING GEO AND PREVENTING INFECTION AND TRANSMISSION OF OMICRON VARIANT.

IS IT HELPFUL FOR MEDINA VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS TO GET A PFIZER BOOSTER OR VICE VERSA, SHOULD VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS GET BOOSTED WITH THE SAME VACCINE AS THEIR INITIAL SHOTS? AND DOES IT MATTER WHICH NEWSCRED J AND J VACCINATED PEOPLE GET? SO I'LL START.

UM, WHAT WE KNOW THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM CDC IS, IS TO, UM, FOLLOW YOUR VACCINE, UH, YOUR INITIAL VACCINE PROGRESSION.

SO IF YOU RECEIVE PFIZER, THE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE TO GET A PFIZER BOOSTER.

IF YOU RECEIVED MADONNA, THE RECOMMENDATION IS TO GET A MATERNAL BOOSTER.

HOWEVER, UH, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL DID ALLOW IN THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS THAT IF AN INDIVIDUAL WANTS TO CHOOSE TO SWITCH A VACCINE AND MIX AND MATCH, THAT'S A DECISION THAT INDIVIDUAL CAN MAKE.

AND THAT'S AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION FOR INDIVIDUALS TO HAVE WITH THEIR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER TO

[00:20:01]

ASSESS WHAT IS THEIR CURRENT HEALTH RISK AND WHAT IS THE BEST VACCINE TO PROTECT THEM.

YOU ALSO KNOW WITH THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE, IF YOU'RE TRYING TO DECIDE WHICH VACCINE THAT YOU NEED, UM, THERE IS A RECOMMENDATION TO, UH, CHOOSE AN MRN, A VACCINE OVER THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE.

IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO GET YOUR INITIAL DOSES, HOWEVER, IF YOU HAVE ANY REACTION TO MRNS OR MRNS ARE NOT BEST SUITED FOR YOU, THE JOHNSON AND JOHNSON VACCINE IS AN EFFECTIVE VACCINE AND IT'S AVAILABLE.

THAT GIVES US MORE TOOLS TO BE ABLE TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AGAINST THIS DISEASE.

BUT THOSE ARE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS THAT YOU SHOULD BE TALKING OVER WITH YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER AND YOUR FAMILY TO DECIDE WHAT IS THE BEST DECISION WITH THESE DIFFERENT VACCINES FOR YOU, UH, TO BEST PROTECT YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, AND WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR INDIVIDUAL HEALTHCARE NEEDS.

OKAY.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT WITH THE CDC SAYING MORE THAN 70% OF RECENT CASES IN THE U S ARE THE OMICRON VARIANT, IS THAT NUMBER LIKELY SIMILAR HERE IN THE AUSTIN AREA? I'LL GO AHEAD AND START, UH, WITH THAT QUESTION.

SO ODDS ARE, IT IS VERY LIKELY THAT IT IS AS HIGH HERE IN THE AUSTIN AREA.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE'RE BEGINNING TO SEE CASES IN OUR SURROUNDING COUNTIES IN WILLIAMSON COUNTY REPORTED THEIR FIRST POSITIVE CASE.

UH, I'D HEARD IN THE HOUSTON AREA, UH, THEY HAVE HIGH PERCENTAGE OF MACRON, UH, IN THE SEQUENCING RESULTS THAT THEY'RE SEEING IN SOME OF THEIR HOSPITAL PATIENTS.

UH, SO, YOU KNOW, LIKE I SAID EARLIER, BECAUSE WE HAVE OUR THREE POSITIVE CASES THAT HAD LITTLE TO, NO, THEY HAD NO INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL WHATSOEVER.

THEY HAD NO TRAVEL HISTORY.

UH, WE CAN PRETTY MUCH, UH, SURMISE FROM THAT, THAT THERE'S COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION HERE IN THE AUSTIN AREA.

AND WE AS A COMMUNITY NEEDS TO BE, WE KNOW WHAT TO DO TO PROTECT OURSELVES IN THOSE SITUATIONS, IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES AND HAS TO MAKING SURE WE'RE WEARING OUR MASK, MAKING SURE WE'RE GETTING VACCINATED AND GETTING BOOSTED, UH, YOU KNOW, AND MAKING SURE THAT WE'RE SOCIALLY DISTANCING FROM PEOPLE IF YOU'RE IN A PUBLIC SPACE, UH, AND EVEN IF YOU'RE IN AN INDOOR, PRIVATE GATHERING, AND IF YOU'RE SICK, STAY HOME.

THE OTHER THING I'D LIKE TO MENTION TO YOU IS IF YOU GET TESTED AND YOU DO A RAPID TEST, AND EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY FEEL FINE, AND THAT TEST SHOWS THAT YOU'RE POSITIVE, YOU NEED TO STAY HOME AND ISOLATE FOR 10 DAYS.

UH, EVEN IF YOUR SYMPTOMOLOGY IS, IS MILD, YOU STILL ARE VERY INFECTIOUS.

AND IT'S, IT'S THAT KIND OF BEHAVIOR WHERE PEOPLE ARE TESTING, THEY'RE SHOPPING FOR THE RIGHT TEST.

UM, YOU KNOW, IF YOU TEST POSITIVE, UH, EVEN IF YOU MAY NOT BELIEVE THE RESULTS, YOU SHOULD CONSIDER YOURSELF POSITIVE AND STAY HOME AND ISOLATE SO THAT YOU DO NOT SPREAD IT TO SOMEBODY AND, AND, YOU KNOW, UNKNOWINGLY, UH, AND PLACED THEM AT, AT GREATER RISK.

OKAY.

AND I JUST LIKE TO ADD, UM, TO JANET'S COMMENTS ABOUT STAYING HOME, UM, EARLY ON, IN LATE NOVEMBER, WHEN WE FIRST HEARD ABOUT ON THE CRON, THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THIS BEING A MILDER ILLNESS, BUT THE UK PUBLISHED DATA THAT SHOWS THAT THEY ARE NOT SEEING A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SEVERITY OF DELTA AND NON MACRON IN SOUTH AFRICAN DATA.

WE'RE LOOKING AT A MUCH YOUNGER POPULATION.

SO WE DO NOT KNOW HOW THIS, UM, ALMOND, CRANBERRY ANT IS GOING TO AFFECT OUR AT RISK MEDICALLY AT RISK POPULATIONS AND OUR SENIOR CITIZENS.

AND LET'S BE CLEAR.

WE HAVE ALWAYS SAID, WE'RE GOING TO PROTECT THE MOST VULNERABLE, THE UN-VACCINATED THE MEDICALLY AT RISK.

SO NOW IS THE TIME TO STAY HOME IF YOU'RE SICK AND STAYING HOME, IF YOU'RE SICK AND YOUR TEST IS POSITIVE.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX A N WITH THE METRICS FOR THE RISK BASED GUIDELINES, CHANGING AGAIN, HAVE YOU ALL CONSIDERED SIMPLY ASKING PEOPLE TO WEAR MASKS IN ALL PUBLIC SETTINGS, REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS UNTIL YOU THINK IT'S SAFE NOT TO.

ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT PEOPLE GETTING KIND OF FUSED WITH THE CURRENT SYSTEM? WE'RE BEING VERY CLEAR ABOUT THIS.

WE ARE ASKING PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS TO WEAR A MASK IN INDOOR PUBLIC SETTINGS.

AND THAT INCLUDES INDOOR DINING, INDOOR SHOPPING INDOORS IN PUBLIC WITH PEOPLE THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW, AND YOU DO NOT KNOW THEIR VACCINATION STATUS.

UM,

[00:25:01]

THIS IS THE TAKE HOME MESSAGE THAT WE ARE SAYING, AND IT IS ALSO THE MESSAGE THAT OUR, UM, FEDERAL, UM, CDC, UM, PARTNERS ARE SAYING AND, AND GUIDING THE REST OF THE NATION WITH.

SO IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE UNDERSTAND THAT A GOOD FITTING MASK EQUALS FILTRATION AND PROTECTION FROM, UM, THE VIRAL PARTICLES THAT SOMEBODY MAY COUGH OR SNEEZE, OR IN THAT WHILE THEY'RE TALKING.

SO MASS ARE SO IMPORTANT AND WE CAN'T STRESS ENOUGH THAT ESPECIALLY NOW WHERE OUR MOBILITY IS SO HIGH, WE MUST MASK.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE DURING PRIOR SEARCHES AND AN INCREASE IN AUSTIN'S COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE PROCEEDED AN INCREASE IN COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS WITH AUSTIN CTR.

NOW, HI, DOES APH EXPECT TO STUDENTS SEE A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN HOSPITALIZATIONS? WE'RE ANTICIPATING THAT THAT WILL BE THE CASE.

UM, THERE'S A LAG IN THE HOSPITALIZATION OF PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO BE, UM, AT, AT RISK OR ARE AT RISK FOR SEVERE DISEASE.

AND SO THERE MAY BE A SEVEN TO 10 DAY LAG BEFORE THEY ACTUALLY DEVELOP SYMPTOMS THAT ARE SEVERE ENOUGH THAT CAUSED THEM TO LOOK, UH, OR SEEK MEDICAL CARE.

SO IT'S, IT'S IMPORTANT.

UM, AND WE KNEW IT WAS IMPORTANT SEVERAL WEEKS AGO WHEN WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATES AND ASKING PEOPLE TO DO THE THINGS THAT WE KNEW WOULD HELP STOP THE SPREAD OF THEN DELTA.

AND NOW OMNICON.

UM, SO AGAIN, IT'S IMPORTANT TO WEAR A MASK AND GET YOUR VACCINE OR YOUR BOOSTERS.

AND I'LL JUST, RE-EMPHASIZE WHAT DR.

WACHS IS SAYING.

WE KNOW WHAT THINGS WORK TO STOP DISEASE, TRANSMISSION, AND THAT IS WEARING YOUR MASK.

I MEAN, IF THERE'S ONE THING YOU CAN DO, YOU NEED TO WEAR YOUR MASK WHEN YOU GO OUT IN PUBLIC, ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW WITH HOLIDAY SHOPPING, GOING ON AND FESTIVITIES AND HOLLERING HOLIDAY GATHERINGS, UH, DON'T LET THAT EVENT SPOIL THE REST OF YOUR HOLIDAYS OR SPOILING YOUR NEXT YEAR.

UM, YOU KNOW, GET, GET YOUR VACCINATION, GET BOOSTED.

WE KNOW THESE WORK, WE KNOW THE BOOSTERS AT PROVIDE AN ADDED LEVEL OF PROTECTION TO THOSE, UH, WHO HAVE SOME WANING IMMUNITY AND PREVENT SEVERE HOSPITALIZATION AND DEATH.

SO, UH, IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO HAVE THAT.

AND, AND FINALLY, IF YOU'RE HOME, IF YOU'RE SICK, IF YOU HAVE SNIFFLES, EVEN IF THEY'RE MINOR, YOU NEED TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE STAYING HOME.

IF YOU'RE SICK AND YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM PEOPLE WHO, WHO MAY, YOU MAY COME ACROSS, UH, THE SAME WITH WHEN YOU'RE OUT AND ABOUT THE REASON WE'RE ASKING YOU TO WEAR A MASK IS BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW WHO YOU'RE ENCOUNTERING OUT IN THE COMMUNITY, AND IT'S A VERY POSSIBLE THEY COULD HAVE THOSE SNIFFLES, OR THEY THINK THEY HAVE, UH, ALLERGIES OR SOMETHING.

UH, AND, AND, AND, YOU KNOW, I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY TIMES IT, BASED ON CASE INVESTIGATION WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE SICK, THEY'RE LIKE, I THOUGHT I HAD ALLERGIES AND IT ENDED UP BEING COVID.

SO WE WANT EVERYONE WE'RE ASKING.

WE'RE IMPLORING EVERYONE TO BE VERY CAREFUL OVER THE HOLIDAYS, BECAUSE WE WANT TO CONTINUE TO ENJOY HOLIDAY GATHERINGS WITH OUR FAMILIES.

AND WE WANT TO ENJOY A NEW HAPPY NEW EUROPE, UH, WITHOUT COVID THAT'S WHAT MY HOPE IS AT LEAST.

OKAY.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, HOW SOON CAN, AUSTINITES EXPECT TO ENTER STAGE FOUR PANDEMIC GUIDELINES BY CHRISTMAS, OR BY NEW YEARS, I'LL ADD THAT IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU DO RIGHT NOW, WHATEVER YOU DO RIGHT NOW, IF YOU'RE GOING TO WEAR YOUR MASK AND GO OUT AND GO SHOPPING AND MAKE SURE YOU'RE BEING CAUTIOUS, HOPEFULLY WE'LL NEVER GET TO STAGE FOUR, BUT YOU KNOW, THE POTENTIAL IS VERY GREAT BASED ON WHAT THE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION RATE IS BASED ON WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT OMAR, CROHN'S TRANS AND DISABILITY IN OUR COMMUNITY.

IT'S GREAT CASES ARE RAPIDLY INCREASING.

UH, SO THE THINGS THAT WE DO NOW WILL SET THE PATH FOR A FUTURE.

AND I THINK WE NEED TO BE MINDFUL OF THAT.

I KNOW, I KNOW I'M EXHAUSTED.

CAN YOU TELL BY MY VOICE, UH,

[00:30:01]

WE'RE ALL TIRED AND IT'S BEEN, IT'S BEEN TOO LONG YEARS AND WE WANT THIS OVER WITH.

AND, UH, I THINK IF THE COMMUNITY DOES THE RIGHT THING, WHEN THEY'RE OUT AND ABOUT THAT WILL HELP YOU'RE RIGHT, JENNA.

AND IF WE DON'T ACT NOW, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A VERY HARD NEW YEAR.

UM, IT'S THIS, THIS VIRUS, THIS VARIANT OF THIS VIRUS IS, IS NOT JOKING.

IT IS IT'S MOVING FAST AND FURIOUSLY, AND WE, WE CAN STOP IT IN ITS TRACKS.

WE JUST HAVE TO WEAR A MASK AND GET VACCINATED.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KATIE, DOES APH HAVE PLANS TO BEEF UP TESTING SITES AND OPERATIONS IN THE WEEKS AHEAD? HOW'S THE APH SUPPLY OF AT-HOME TESTING.

SO I KNOW, UH, THE, YOU KNOW, AUSTIN, WE'VE PUT, WE PUT IN RESOURCE REQUEST TO OUR OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND TRAVIS COUNTY OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT TO, UH, PURCHASE SOME ADDITIONAL, UH, TESTING KITS.

I KNOW, UH, THE PRESIDENT HAS MENTIONED THAT TESTS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO EVERY US CITIZEN.

HE REQUESTS IT, AND WE'RE WAITING TO SEE HOW THAT WILL ROLL OUT.

AS FAR AS OUR PCR TESTING THAT WE'RE DOING JUST DURING THIS PRESS CONFERENCE ALONE.

UM, I HAD SOMEBODY ASKING ME THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE EXTENDING HOURS TO TRY TO MEET THE DEMAND, UH, THAT WE'RE SUCCEEDING AT OUR TESTING SITES CURRENTLY.

SO YES, WE ARE FLEXIBLE AND TRYING TO ADAPT TO THE INCREASING DEMAND ON TESTING.

AND, UH, WE'LL BE, UH, WORKING WITH OUR TESTING OPERATIONS TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE, UH, AVAILABILITY OUT TO THE COMMUNITY.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM FOX SEVEN, IF THE OMA CROWN VARIANT IS A LESS SEVERE ILLNESS, HOW AND WHY WOULD HOSPITALS BE OVERWHELMED? WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WE DON'T KNOW THAT THIS WILL CAUSE A LESS SEVERE ILLNESS YET.

THE REPORTS, UH, FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM, UH, AS OF LAST WEEK, SHOW THAT THERE'S NO DIFFERENCE IN THE SEVERITY OF THE ILLNESS.

NOW, HAVING SAID THAT, UM, SOUTH AFRICA SAID THEY HAD MILDER ILLNESS POPULATION IN SOUTH, AFRICA'S YOUNGER.

UM, THERE'S A MORE HETEROGENEOUS POPULATION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, A LOT MORE SENIOR CITIZENS, AND PEOPLE WOULD MEET AT RISK FOR HIGHER OR MORE SEVERE DISEASE.

SO WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE IMPACT IS GOING TO BE, BUT JUST TAKING THAT OUT OF THE EQUATION AND LOOKING AT HOW FAST THIS THING SPREADS, UM, WE COULD HAVE SO MANY CASES OCCUR IN SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME.

AND SO MANY PEOPLE HAVING MILD ILLNESS AND JUST ENOUGH PEOPLE WHO ARE AT RISK FOR SEVERE ILLNESS, GETTING SICK ALL AT ONCE THAT WE WILL OVERWHELM OUR HOSPITALS.

AND THAT IS WHAT WE WANT TO STOP.

AND THAT IS WHY WE HAVE TO WEAR A MASK.

AND THAT IS WHY YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR VACCINATIONS AND YOUR BOOSTERS NOW.

OKAY.

NOW WE'RE STARTING THE SECOND ROUND OF QUESTIONS FROM KBU.

WHY IS THE CITY STILL HOSTING A NEW YEAR'S EVE FIREWORKS CELEBRATION? IF THEY'RE CHANGING THIS METRIC AND LOWERING THE THRESHOLD FOR STAGE FOUR, THE FIREWORKS SHOW ONLY FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE DOWNTOWN YEAH, SO THE FIREWORKS DISPLAY THAT'S BEING PLANNED IS ONE THAT IS TO BE VIEWED FROM AFAR.

THERE ARE NO PLANS FOR GATHERING.

THERE ARE NO VENDORS, NO BANDS, IT'S SIMPLY A FIREWORKS DISPLAY.

AND SO WE'RE EXPECTING PEOPLE TO VIEW IT FROM, UM, THEIR VEHICLES OR IN, IN THE DOWNTOWN AREA.

PEOPLE MAY BE ABLE TO LOOK AT IT FROM THERE WHEN, THROUGH THEIR WINDOWS, BUT WE'RE NOT PLANNING FOR THAT TO BE A LARGE SOCIAL GATHERING.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CVS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GET MORE PEOPLE AND EVEN VACCINE SKEPTICS TO GET BOTH VACCINE DOSES PLUS A BOOSTER SINCE THE OMICRON VARIANT IS AFFECTING, EVEN THOSE HAVE GOTTEN TWO DOSES, I'LL START, UM, WE CONTINUE TO MESSAGE AND CONTINUE TO FOCUS MESSAGE TO ADDRESS THOSE.

UM, SOME OF THOSE DISEASE MYTHS ABOUT THAT THE VACCINES MAY NOT BE EFFECTIVE OR THAT, UH, UH, ALMA CRON IS NOT AS DANGEROUS.

[00:35:01]

WE CONTINUE TO DEVELOP THE MESSAGE AND THEN HAVE THOSE, UM, ON THE GROUND.

ADRIAN MENTIONED THIS BEFORE BOOTS ON THE GROUND CONVERSATIONS, UH, THAT OUTREACH IS VERY FOCUSED AND IT IS TRYING TO TAP INTO, UM, WHAT ARE SOME INDIVIDUAL BELIEFS, UM, VALUES AROUND VACCINATING TO REALLY HELP, UM, FOCUS IN ON, UH, WHY IS THERE HESITANCY AND TO TRY TO ADDRESS THOSE, BECAUSE IT IS A VERY INDIVIDUAL DECISION, UM, AND WE WANT TO MAKE SURE FOLKS HAVE THEIR ANSWERS, UH, THEIR QUESTIONS ANSWERED APPROPRIATELY, AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE IN THE SPACE THAT THEY'RE RECEIVING THE VACCINE.

WE DEFINITELY NEED TO CONTINUE TO DOUBLE DOWN THOSE EFFORTS.

THERE ARE ABOUT 20% OF OUR POPULATION THAT STILL HAS NOT RECEIVED THEIR, UH, THEIR VACCINES.

AND SO WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE FOLKS, UH, REALIZE THE RISK AND ARE, ARE ENGAGED SO THAT THEY, UM, HAVE ALL THE TOOLS TO MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION AND HOPEFULLY ENCOURAGE THEM TO GO AHEAD AND GET THAT VACCINE BOOSTERS.

WE ARE SEEING A LOT OF BOOSTER DEMAND, WHICH IS FANTASTIC.

AND, UM, THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE WHO HAVE MADE THAT PERSONAL CHOICE TO GET BOOSTED, UM, AND ALL THOSE WHO ARE MAKING THOSE CHOICES FOR THEIR CHILDREN TO GET THE VACCINE.

UM, BUT WE STILL HAVE QUITE A FEW PEOPLE WHO NEED TO, TO, TO COME IN AND GET THOSE, THOSE ADDITIONAL DOSES.

SO WE JUST WANNA ENCOURAGE FOLKS TO THINK ABOUT THE RISK, THE HEALTH RISK TO THEMSELVES, TO THEIR FAMILY, UM, FOR IF THEY CHOOSE NOT TO GET THE VACCINE AND, UH, AND THE POTENTIAL THAT, UM, DANGER THAT, THAT POSES.

AND THEN ALSO, UM, GIVE THEM ALL THE INFORMATION THAT THEY NEED, UM, ABOUT THE DIFFERENT VACCINES ARE AVAILABLE AND HOW THEY DO PROVIDE REALLY GOOD PROTECTION AGAINST SEVERE DISEASE AND HOSPITALIZATION.

NO ONE WANTS TO LOSE ANYONE DURING THIS TIME.

NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THEIR LOVED ONES SUFFER FROM THIS ILLNESS AND WE KNOW VACCINES HAVE THAT GOOD PROTECTION.

SO WE REALLY WANT TO LET FOLKS KNOW THAT THAT THAT'S THE MESSAGE THEY SHOULD BE CONSIDERING AS THEY ARE CONSIDERING GETTING VACCINATED.

I JUST LIKE TO ADD ON THAT IN SOUTH AFRICA, THERE IS NOT A LOT OF VACCINE UPTAKEN THAT COUNTRY, AND MANY OF THOSE PEOPLE, UM, WERE THOUGHT TO HAVE NATURAL IMMUNITY BECAUSE THEY'D ALREADY HAD COVID ONCE OR TWICE, BUT DATA SHOWING THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE PROTECTION AGAINST ALMA CRIME AND THEY GOT ON THE CON.

AND THAT SAME THING IS TRUE.

UM, IN THE UK, THOSE PEOPLE THAT HAVE HAD THE ILLNESS OF COVID-19 FROM PREVIOUS, UH, VARIANTS ARE GETTING REINFECTED BY OMNICON AND IN THE UK.

UM, THE DISEASE HAS NOT BEEN SHOWN, SHOWN TO BE ANY MILDER.

SO THOSE OF YOU OUT THERE WHO ARE NOT GETTING VACCINATED, BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU HAVE NATURAL PROTECTION NEED TO REALLY CONSIDER GETTING VACCINATED THAT THIRD, UM, LAYER OF PROTECTION IN YOUR CASE WILL BE GETTING A VACCINATION.

NOW'S THE TIME WE DON'T WANT ANYBODY TO SUFFER SEVERE ILLNESS.

WE DON'T WANT YOU TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL.

WE'D WANT YOU TO HAVE A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS, PLEASE GO AND GET BACK.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM UNIVISION AND THE LAST PRESS CONFERENCE, IT WAS MENTIONED THAT MOST OF THE CASES OF COVID-19 ARE COMING FROM PEOPLE THAT ARE VISITING AND TRAVELING FROM OTHER CITIES.

WOULD THERE BE ANY REGULATIONS THAT CAN PREVENT OR CONTROL MORE CASES IN THE CITY? UH, COULD YOU REPEAT THAT QUESTION AGAIN? OKAY.

YES.

IN THE LAST PRESS CONFERENCE, IT WAS MENTIONED THAT MOST OF THE CASES OF COVID ARE COMING FROM PEOPLE THAT ARE VISITING AND TRAVELING FROM OTHER CITIES.

WOULD THERE BE ANY REGULATIONS THAT CAN PREVENT OR CONTROL MORE CASES? AND, UM, NO, I THINK, UH, YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK OF ANY REGULATIONS FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE.

YOU KNOW, I THINK THERE ARE FEDERAL REGULATIONS ABOUT ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES, UH, AND YOU KNOW, OTHER COUNTRIES, IF THERE'S INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL, DEFINITELY DEFINITE REGULATIONS RELATED TO THAT.

UH, YOU KNOW, WE RECOMMEND TO INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE TRAVELING EITHER TO, OR FROM AUSTIN, UM, THAT THEY GET TESTED PRIOR TO COMING OR WHEN THEY RETURN AND, UM, MAKE SURE THAT THEY HAVEN'T PICKED UP ILLNESS ALONG THE WAY.

UH, YOU KNOW, JUST TO BE SAFE.

YOU KNOW, I HAVE MY SON, HE IS GOING TO BE COMING IN FROM

[00:40:01]

CALIFORNIA OVER THE HOLIDAYS, AND I HAVE A TEST WAITING FOR HIM, UH, SO THAT I CAN MAKE SURE, AND HE'S, HE'S COMPLETELY VACCINATED AND BOOSTED.

AND SO I'M STILL PLANNING ON MAKING SURE THAT HE IS TESTED TO BE SURE THAT MY 90 YEAR OLD MOTHER, HIS GRANDMOTHER IS SAFE AND THAT WE CAN ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS TOGETHER.

BUT AGAIN, OUR RECOMMENDATIONS ARE RECOMMENDATIONS AND GUIDANCE THAT WE PROVIDE BASED ON THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND BASED ON OUR HEALTH AUTHORITY.

AND THOSE ARE TO CONTINUE TO MASK UP, GET TESTED, UH, BEFORE YOU ENCOUNTER OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS OR FRIENDS IN YOUR HOLIDAY GATHERINGS, IF YOU'RE OUT AND ABOUT SHOPPING, MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE PROTECTING YOURSELF SO THAT YOU DON'T BRING DISEASE HOME.

I JUST LIKE TO ADD THAT AT THIS POINT, WE HAVE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION OF THIS DISEASE.

IT IS SPREADING IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UM, AND IT'S, IT'S NOT, WE'RE SEEING CASES IN PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO HISTORY OF TRAVEL.

SO IT IS IMPORTANT TO WEAR A MASK AND INDOOR PUBLIC SETTINGS WHERE YOU'RE SHOPPING, DINING, INDOORS, GROCERY SHOPPING, INDOORS, UM, VISITING PEOPLE IN INDOOR GATHERINGS WHERE YOU'RE NOT AWARE OF WHAT THEIR, UM, VACCINATION STATUS IS.

UM, AND IT'S IMPORTANT THAT EVERYONE, BEFORE THEY LEAVE THEIR HOME TO GO AND VISIT PEOPLE THAT THEY DON'T NORMALLY LIVE WITH TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE NOT SICK.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM CO-OP RADIO, GIVEN THAT TRAVIS COUNTY'S HIGHER VACCINATION HAS HIGHER VACCINATION RATES IN COMPARISON TO SURROUNDING COUNTIES, WHAT IS APH DOING TO SUPPORT NEIGHBORING COUNTY RESIDENTS WILL LIKELY EXPERIENCE WORSE EFFECTS OF OMICRON SPREAD WITH FEWER VACCINATED RESIDENTS AND WHAT COLLABORATION IS HAPPENING BETWEEN APH NEIGHBORING PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT.

WE DEFINITELY SEE THAT THIS DISEASE DOESN'T RECOGNIZE, UM, COUNTY BOUNDARIES YET.

UH, WE'LL UH, GO TO, UM, WHEREVER THERE ARE PEOPLE.

UM, AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT OUR COUNTY, UM, CONNECTIONS TO OUR REGION ARE IT'S VERY FLUID.

UM, MANY PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE SURROUNDING COUNTIES ALSO WORK IN TRAVIS COUNTY.

UM, WE KNOW PEOPLE COME INTO AUSTIN AND, AND VICE VERSA FOLKS FROM AUSTIN GO OUT INTO THE, UH, SURROUNDING COUNTIES.

SO IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE THINK ABOUT PROTECTING, UM, ALL OF US FROM A REGIONAL LENS.

UM, WITH THAT THERE'S A LOT OF WORK THAT'S DONE TO, UM, SHARE, UH, COMMUNICATION MESSAGING, TO MAKE SURE THAT THE COUNTIES HAVE THE SAME INSIGHT AND INFORMATION AND THAT THE MESSAGES ARE AVAILABLE, UH, FOR, FOR ALL OF THEM.

WE KNOW THAT, UM, WITHIN TRAVIS COUNTY, THE, UH, MEDIA OUTLETS THAT ARE HERE AFFECT AND INFLUENCE THOSE OTHER COUNTIES, BECAUSE THIS IS THEIR, UH, THEIR MEDIA COMES FROM OUT OF, OUT OF AUSTIN.

AND SO THAT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT, UH, COMPONENT TO LET THEM KNOW THESE ARE THE WAYS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.

THE WAYS YOU PROTECT YOURSELF IN TRAVIS COUNTY IS THE SAME THAT YOU PROTECT YOURSELF IN THE REGION.

UH, NOTING THAT VACCINE, UH, NEEDS TO BE SOMETHING THAT'S AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

WE KNOW THAT VACCINE, EVEN IN OUR RURAL COUNTIES IS WIDELY AVAILABLE.

AND SO FOR THOSE WHO ARE LIVING OUT IN THE REGION, UH, THERE'S VACCINE RARELY AVAILABLE IN ALL COMMUNITIES.

BUT IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO TRY TO GET VACCINE AND YOU'RE HAVING DIFFICULTY, AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH IS ACCEPTING.

ANYONE WHO COMES FROM ANYWHERE CAN GET A VACCINE FROM OUR CLINICS.

AND SO, UH, THOSE RESOURCES ARE NOT LIMITED JUST TO TRAVIS COUNTY, THEY'RE AVAILABLE TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE, UH, THROUGHOUT THE, UM, THROUGHOUT TEXAS.

UM, SO ANYONE WHO'S WHO'S LOOKING FOR VACCINE CAN GET THEIR VACCINE FROM US.

AND SO IT'S AN ONGOING COLLABORATIVE CONVERSATION, COLLABORATIVE MESSAGING, COLLABORATIVE RESOURCES.

WE WORK WITH OUR, UM, OTHER, UM, HEALTHCARE, UM, HEALTHCARE DISTRICTS AND HEALTH AUTHORITIES ACROSS THE REGION TO CONNECT.

WE ALSO WORK WITH THE STATE DEPARTMENT STATE HEALTH SERVICES TO MAKE SURE THAT VACCINE, UM, ALLOCATIONS ARE BEING, UH, NEEDS, ARE BEING MET.

AND, UH, WE'LL CONTINUE TO DO THAT, UH, THROUGHOUT THIS, THIS PROCESS.

AND I WILL ADD TO, TO WHAT CASSIE'S SAYING IS, UH, REGARDING, UH, THE WHOLE EPIDEMIOLOGIC RESPONSE CASE INVESTIGATION.

WE HAVE ALWAYS WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH OUR NEIGHBORING COUNTIES AND, UH, REGIONAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS, STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENTS TO INTERVENE WHEN WE HAVE TRAVELERS THAT ARE, UH, INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS THAT ARE INBOUND TO THE AUSTIN AREA THAT WE NEED TO FOLLOW UP ON OR, UH, ASSIST, BECAUSE THERE ARE AREAS OF AUSTIN THAT BLEED INTO WILLIAMSON COUNTY AND

[00:45:01]

TO OTHER COMMUNITY AND HAYES COUNTY, EVEN.

SO, UH, THERE ARE TIMES AS TO WORK VERY CLOSELY WITH THEM, UH, ESPECIALLY WHEN WE'RE DOING CLUSTER AND OUTBREAK INVESTIGATIONS.

UH, THE SAME AS WITH VACCINE TESTING OPERATIONS, THEY HAVE PEOPLE PRESENT, UH, AND THEY RESIDE IN A NEIGHBORING COUNTY OR ELSEWHERE.

UH, WE PROVIDE, WE STILL PROVIDE THAT TEST TO THEM, UH, IF THEY SIGN UP.

SO, UM, THOSE SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE, UH, FROM A TESTING PERSPECTIVE AS WELL.

OKAY.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT, THE COVID-19 MODELING CONSORTIUM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN STUDY SEEM TO INDICATE A WIDE RANGE OF OUTCOMES FOR THE OVAL CON VARIANCE IMPACT AND DECIDING TO ADJUST THE COMMUNITY'S STAGING THRESHOLD, WHERE YOU LOOKING AT THE MORE PESSIMISTIC SCENARIOS WE BASE THE DECISION ON THE MODELING CONSORTIUM'S DATA THAT SHOWED THAT WE CURRENTLY ARE, UM, PERFORMING AT A STAGE TWO LEVEL WITH REGARDS TO BEHAVIORS THAT WOULD STOP THE SPREAD OF OMNICON.

UM, THE CROHN'S MUCH MORE EASILY SPREAD THAN DELTA.

UM, IT'S UH, NOW, UM, IT'S GONE FROM A 12%, UH, LEVEL OF, UM, WHAT IS IN OUR COMMUNITY, ACCORDING TO CDC STATS TO A 92%, UM, PRESENCE IN THIS REGION, ACCORDING TO THE CDC.

UM, SO BASED ON THAT INFORMATION AND THE DATA THAT WE KNOW REGARDING THIS, HOW EASILY THIS SPREADS, UM, THE MODELING, SHOWING THAT DECREASING OUR, UH, THRESHOLD TO 25 SO THAT WE CAN INFORM THE PUBLIC ABOUT WHAT THEY CAN DO TO KEEP THE DISEASE FROM SPREADING AND WHAT THEY CAN DO TO PROTECT OUR HOSPITALS SO THAT WE ALL HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE.

UM, THAT'S WHAT WE USE TO MAKE THIS DECISION.

AND IT'S, WHAT'S GUIDED US IN THE PAST AND IT'S BEEN SUCCESSFUL AT KEEPING AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY, TRAVIS COUNTY, I'M WAY AHEAD OF OTHER PLACES IN TEXAS AND DECREASING THE NUMBERS OF DEATHS AND NUMBERS OF CASES AND PRESERVING OUR HOSPITALS SYSTEMS. AND I'LL ADD, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE, WE'RE ALWAYS IN THE POSITION OF PREPARING AND PLANNING FOR THE WORST, USING THOSE WORST CASE ESTIMATES AND HOPING FOR THE BEST AND OUR HOPE FOR THE BEST IS THAT OUR COMMUNITY RALLIES AND DOES THE RIGHT THING IN PROTECTING EACH OTHER.

UM, WE'VE DONE SO IN THE PAST, AND I HOPE WE CONTINUE TO DO THAT IN THE FUTURE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX A N HAVE YOU DONE ANY PUBLIC INPUT SESSIONS OR STUDIES TO SEE IF THE PUBLIC IS FOLLOWING THE RISK-BASED GUIDELINES? ARE WE SEEING CHANGES TO THE GUIDELINE FOR REFLECTED IN THE CASE NUMBERS AND HOSPITALIZED PATIENTS? WE LOOK, CAN YOU REREAD THE LAST PART OF THAT QUESTION, PLEASE? I WANT TO MAKE SURE I HEARD YOU CORRECTLY.

YES, I CAN.

UM, YOU KNOW, THE FIRST PART WAS IF YOU'VE DONE PUBLIC INPUT SESSIONS ABOUT THE GUIDELINES AND PEOPLE FOLLOWING THEM, THE SECOND PART IS, ARE WE SEEING CHANGES TO THE GUIDELINES REFLECTED IN CASE NUMBERS AND HOSPITALIZATIONS? I MEAN, I WOULD SAY IN GENERAL AND I'LL ADDRESS THE LATTER PART OF THAT QUESTION.

UM, WELL MAYBE I'LL ADDRESS THE WHOLE QUESTION.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE, MY GROUP HAS NOT DONE ANY PUBLIC INFORMATION SURVEYS OR SURVEYS ABOUT THE RISK-BASED GUIDELINES, BUT THAT MAY BE SOMETHING WE DO DOWN THE ROAD.

UH, BUT YOU KNOW, JUST FROM PERSONAL OBSERVATION, WHEN I HAVE HAD TO GO OUT TO THE GROCERY STORE, OR IF I'M OUT TRYING TO DO MY HOLIDAY SHOPPING IN THIS MADNESS, UM, PEOPLE I HAVE NOTICED THAT PEOPLE ARE WEARING MASKS.

UH, I DO FEEL LIKE THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO STILL ARE NOT WEARING MASKS WHILE THEY'RE OUT SHOPPING.

UM, AND EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE RECOMMENDED IT, I KNOW OF EXAMPLES FROM MY HEARING, MY CASE, INVESTIGATORS WHO INTERVIEWED PEOPLE WHO ARE POSITIVE CASES, WHO ARE POSITIVE AND CONTINUE TO GO OUT AND ABOUT.

SO I KNOW THAT IS HAPPENING IT'S THAT, THAT I DON'T

[00:50:01]

KNOW THAT HOW WIDESPREAD THOSE TYPES OF THINGS ARE HAPPENING.

HOPEFULLY PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN THEY'RE SICK, THEY NEED TO STAY HOME, BUT WE DO HEAR THOSE STORIES AND THAT'S JUST ANECDOTAL INFORMATION.

UM, YOU KNOW, AS FAR AS THE LATTER PART, I W I FEEL LIKE WE KNOW WHAT WORKS MASKING WORKS.

UM, WE'VE SEEN IT WORK IN OUR OTHER SURGES AND WE'VE SEEN IT.

WE SEEN WORK IN OUR OTHER SURGEONS.

I MEAN, I WOULD SAY, I THOUGHT WE WERE DONE WITH IT IN MAY BECAUSE VACCINATION VACCINATION HAD SUCH A POSITIVE IMPACT ON, ON OUR NUMBER, THE NUMBER OF CASES THAT WE HAD.

HOWEVER, WE ARE SEEING UPTICKS IN CASES JUST LAST WEEK, WE HAD A 34% INCREASE IN CASES FROM THE PREVIOUS WEEK.

THIS WEEK IS NOT GOING TO LOOK MUCH BETTER.

UH, IT MAY LOOK WORSE IN FACT, AND, UH, IT MAY NOT BE APPARENT WHEN YOU LOOK AT OUR DASHBOARDS BECAUSE WE WILL NOT BE OPERATING THE DASHBOARDS ON, UH, FRIDAY AND SATURDAY OR, YOU KNOW, THURSDAY AND FRIDAY.

UM, SO OUR NUMBERS MAY BE A LITTLE OFF AT WHAT'S COMING IN FOR, UM, CASE COUNTS EARLY ON IN THIS WEEK ARE PRETTY HIGH.

AS YOU CAN SEE ON THE DASHBOARDS, THINGS ARE STARTING TO PICK UP.

WE WANT TO MAKE SURE IT DOESN'T PICK UP AT A MUCH HIGHER RATE.

AND SO I WILL SAY, YOU KNOW, UH, THOSE GUIDELINES, DO YOU HELP ADDRESS, YOU KNOW, PREVENTING ILLNESS AND PREVENTING DISEASE TRANSMISSION, ANYTHING THAT IS DONE TO STOP DISEASE, TRANSMISSION RISK IS A POSITIVE, UH, HAS A POSITIVE IMPACT ON CASES.

I'D JUST LIKE TO ADD THAT THE UT MODELING GROUP IS DOING THE, UM, CALCULATIONS AND, AND, AND FACTORS IN, UM, COMMUNITY BEHAVIORS REGARDING, UM, SOCIAL DISTANCING MOBILITY, MASS SQUARING.

AND WE HONOR DASHBOARD HAVE A TAB THAT SHOWS, UM, WHERE THERE ARE, UM, GROUPS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING MONITORED FOR MASKING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND OTHER BEHAVIORS WITH REGARDS TO, UM, THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UM, AND THERE'S SEVERAL GROUPS, UM, THROUGHOUT OUR NATION WHO ARE PARTICIPATING IN THOSE TYPES OF SURVEYS.

AND WE ARE KEEPING TABS ON THAT AS WE MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT MITIGATION STRATEGIES AND OUR RISK BASED GUIDANCE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE, WILL APH TESTING SITES AND VACCINE CLINICS BE OPEN CHRISTMAS EVE OR CHRISTMAS DAY? UM, NO, THEY WON'T BE.

AND I JUST WANT TO LAYER IN, WE ARE HAVING EXTENDED CLINICS ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT FOR VACCINE, UH, THIS WEEK, IF, UM, YOU CAN DEFINITELY GO TO OUR SIMS LOCATION AND, UM, VACCINES AVAILABLE THERE.

UM, ALSO FLU SHOTS ARE AVAILABLE THERE.

AND ALSO IN PFLUGERVILLE, WE HAVE THAT BIG OF A LIBRARY EXTENDED HOURS INTO, UM, SEVEN O'CLOCK.

SO IF YOU ARE STILL SEEKING THE VACCINE, UH, A BOOSTER, UM, YOUR SECOND DOSE, EVEN YOUR FIRST DOSE, AND YOU'RE LOOKING FOR FLU SHOTS, YOU CAN GET THEM FROM THOSE LOCATIONS.

UM, DURING THAT TIME, I DO WANT TO MENTION THAT IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO GET TESTED, UH, TO, UH, CONGREGATE TESTING ON, UH, ON CHRISTMAS DAY ON CHRISTMAS EVE, UH, IS LIKELY FROM ONE OF OUR LOCATIONS, IT'S A PCR TEST.

SO YOU WOULD NOT HAVE THE RAPID RESPONSE THAT YOU WOULD NEED.

SO IT'S IMPORTANT TO TEST, UH, PRIOR TO, UM, AND THEN REALLY THINK ABOUT AFTER YOU, IF YOU HAVE VISITED FOLKS OVER THE HOLIDAYS, UH, WE WILL BE RESUMING OPERATIONS ON THE 27TH.

UH, WE DO ENCOURAGE FOLKS TO GET OUT AND TEST, UH, ALSO VACCINE OPERATIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE.

SO, UM, YOU CAN DEFINITELY GET IN THERE AND, UM, GET TESTED TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE SAFE FROM, UM, IN CASE YOU HAD AN EXPOSURE AND ALSO YOU CAN GET YOUR VACCINE.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION, OH, I CAN ADD, AS FAR AS, UH, JUST ADDING ON A TESTING OPERATIONS, WE'LL ALSO BE RESUMING NEXT WEEK AS WELL.

PERFECT.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN, WHAT MORE CAN AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH DO TO HELP AVOID ENTERING ANOTHER SURGE? LIKE UT IS PREDICTING AS A RESULT OF OMICRON, BUT ANOTHER STAY AT HOME ORDER OR MASK MANDATE, BE AN OPTION.

REALLY.

THE QUESTION THAT WE ARE ASKING OUR COMMUNITY RIGHT NOW IS CAN YOU HELP US

[00:55:01]

KEEP FROM GOING INTO A SITUATION WHERE WE HAVE FURTHER SPREAD OF THIS DISEASE IN OUR COMMUNITY, MORE PEOPLE GETTING SEVERE ILLNESS, MORE PEOPLE NEEDING HOSPITALIZATION, UM, CAN YOU HELP US? CAN YOU HELP YOURSELVES? CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELVES OR YOUR FAMILY BY WEARING A MASK, GETTING VACCINATED AND STAYING AT HOME.

IF YOU'RE SICK, THIS IS A DISEASE THAT HAS SPREAD FROM PERSON TO PERSON, AND WE NEED EACH AND EVERY PERSON IN OUR COMMUNITY TO WORK TOGETHER, TO STOP HIM.

I JUST WANT TO ADD ONE THING TO THAT.

DOCTOR WALKS AND INSTEAD OF KEN WILLIAMS, BECAUSE I KNOW YOU'RE ABLE BOSTON IN TRAVIS COUNTY, WE'VE DONE IT.

WE'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE WE'VE DONE THIS.

AND EVEN THOUGH THE, THE, THE DATA, LIKE I SAID, IT WAS ALARMING.

WHAT IS ALSO COMFORTING IN AS BAD AS WE'VE NOTED DURING THIS TIME, WE ARE FAIRING LIFE'S BETTER THAN OUR SURROUNDING COUNTIES BECAUSE WE KNOW THE RIGHT THINGS TO DO.

WE HAVE, AND WE CONTINUE TO DO THEM.

AND SO, YOU KNOW, WE CAN NOT BE FINISHED WITH A VIRUS THAT IS NOT FINISHED WITH US.

SO THE ON THE TABLE IS, WELL, YOU CONTINUE TO DO THE THINGS THAT, YOU KNOW, KEEP US SAFE.

AND THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KUT, ARE THERE THINGS APH WOULD RESTRICT NOW, BUT WORRY, THE GOVERNOR WILL ALLOW THIS TIME AROUND ANY ADVICE FOR BUSINESSES.

SHOULD THEY CLOSE WHERE IT SAYS OUR, OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY HAS BEEN EXCEPTIONAL AT, UM, DOING THEIR PART TO HELP PROTECT THIS COMMUNITY AND OUR RISK-BASED GUIDELINES RIGHT NOW, AS YOU GO UP AND STAGES, UM, ALLOW FOR CURBSIDE DELIVERY, UM, YOU KNOW, ASKING PEOPLE TO WEAR A MASK INDOORS IN PUBLIC PLACES, UM, INCREASINGLY OUTDOOR SPACES THAT ARE AVAILABLE FOR CONGREGATING IN BUSINESS ENVIRONMENTS.

WE'VE WORKED TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY TO REMAIN OPEN.

OUR SCHOOLS HAVE WORKED SO DILIGENTLY TO KEEP CHILDREN IN SCHOOL FOR IN-PERSON LEARNING.

WE, AS DIRECTORS SERVED JUST SAID, HAVE DONE THE WORK TOGETHER THUS FAR, AND WE CAN, AND WE'LL DO THIS AGAIN.

GOING FORWARD TODAY IS A TIME FOR US TO TALK ABOUT IT OUT LOUD IN PUBLIC WITH FULL TRANSPARENCY.

OUR NUMBERS ARE GOING UP, AND IT IS TIME BECAUSE WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE IN SCHOOL AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE, UM, ALL OF US OPEN FOR BUSINESS ON CERTAIN DAYS DURING THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS, BUT WE WILL BE GATHERING.

AND IT IS SO, SO IMPORTANT THAT WE TEST BEFORE WE GET TOGETHER, THAT WE STAY HOME WITH.

WE'RE SICK, THAT WE WEAR THAT MASK.

WHEN YOU GO TO GET THE CRANBERRY SAUCE, WE HAVE TO DO THIS.

THAT'S WHAT IT'S GOING TO MAKE THE DIFFERENCE ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NEW YEAR.

AND THE LAST QUESTION IS FROM FOX SEVEN, AND THEY ASKED ANY CONSIDERATION FOR RECOMMENDING ANY LOCKDOWN MEASURES FOR AUSTIN.

THERE'S NO DISCUSSION ABOUT HAVING A LOCKDOWN AT THIS POINT IN TIME.

UM, WE ARE ASKING OUR COMMUNITY TO STAND UP AND FIGHT WITH US.

WE'RE ASKING YOU TO WEAR A MASK.

WE'RE ASKING YOU TO GET VACCINATED.

WE'RE ASKING YOU TO GET TESTED, NOT AS ALL THE QUESTIONS, AND WE DO WANT TO THANK DR.

WACHS APH, INTERIM DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP, CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET PICHET, CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND HEALTH PROMOTION, CASANDRA DE LEON, AND TO OUR POOL REPORTER TODAY, CONNOR BOARD FROM KV.

WE'D APPRECIATE YOU ALL JOINING US.

WE HOPE EVERYONE HAS A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A SAFE HOLIDAY SEASON.