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[COVID-19 Virtual News Conference on Revised City & County Orders]

[00:00:13]

GOOD AFTERNOON.

I'M MELISSA ARMSTRONG AND I WILL BE YOUR MODERATOR FOR THIS AFTERNOON'S PRESS CONFERENCE FIRST, DR.

MARK S. SCOTT INTERIM AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY WILL SAY A FEW WORDS AND HE WILL BE FOLLOWED BY SARAH ECKHART, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO TRAVIS COUNTY.

JUDGE SAM BISCO AND MAYOR STEVE ADLER.

AT THIS TIME, I WILL OPEN IT UP TO OUR SPEAKERS FOR ANY UPDATES.

THANK YOU.

UH, LAST WEEK, THE THREE OF US TALKED PUBLICLY ABOUT A CONCERN THAT WE WERE SITTING, AND THAT WAS IN RELATION TO BOTH THE SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN NEW CASES, AS WELL AS AN INCREASE IN HOSPITALIZATIONS.

AND LAST WEEK WE HAD ANOTHER DISCUSSION ABOUT OUR CONCERNS THAT OUR PRIMARY INDICATOR FOR A STAGING, THE NEW HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS WAS HEADING TOWARDS THAT NUMBER OF 20.

AND, UH, WE WERE CONCERNED ABOUT IT CROSSING OVER INTO 20.

THAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT.

AND, UH, YOU KNOW, HAVING LOOKED AT THAT AS WELL AS A NUMBER OF SUPPORTING INDICATORS, WE'VE MADE THE DECISION TO TRANSITION TO A STAGE FOUR, UH, IN TERMS OF, OF RISK IN THE AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY AREA.

UH, I'M GOING TO SHARE SOME SLIDES WITH YOU NOW TO, TO SHOW YOU WHERE WE ARE AND TO GIVE YOU A, A BETTER IDEA OF WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE GRAPHICALLY.

SO RIGHT NOW I'M SHOWING YOU OUR NEW CONFIRMED CASES IN AUSTIN AND TRAVIS COUNTY.

YOU CAN SEE THIS HOCKEY STICK APPEARANCE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR SCREEN.

LAST WEEK, WE HAD 799 NEW CASES DIAGNOSED.

AND THE SUNDAY TO SATURDAY PERIOD, THIS REPRESENTS A 90% INCREASE AS COMPARED TO THE WEEK PRIOR.

IN ADDITION TO THAT, OUR DOUBLING TIME.

SO THE TIME IT'S ESTIMATED TO TAKE FOR CASES TO DOUBLE IN TRAVIS COUNTY TRANSITIONED A WEEK AGO FROM 44 DAYS TO 25.5 DAYS YESTERDAY, AS INDICATED BY THIS REVERSE HOCKEY STICK THAT YOU SEE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THIS GRAPH.

WELL, WE TALK ABOUT THAT PRIMARY INDICATOR, THAT NEW ADMISSIONS, SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE, YOU CAN ALSO SEE THAT IN THE YELLOW LINE HERE.

AND AGAIN, WE SEE THAT HOCKEY STICK APPEARANCE HAPPENING OVER THE LAST SEVEN DAYS.

THE NEW ADMISSIONS FOR LAST WEEK WAS 144 NEW ADMISSIONS DURING THAT ONE WEEK PERIOD, WHICH WAS A 58% INCREASE AS COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS WEEK.

AGAIN, ILLUSTRATING SUBSTANTIAL CONCERN THAT WE ARE HAVING A CHANGE AND A SURGE IN OUR ACTIVITY IN TRAVIS COUNTY.

AND FINALLY, I WANT TO SHARE THIS GRAPH WITH YOU.

WE'RE LOOKING AT THREE DIFFERENT THINGS HERE.

THE BLUE LINE IS THE HOSPITALIZATIONS.

THE CURRENT HOSPITALIZATIONS, THE ORANGE LINE IS THE CURRENT PATIENTS IN THE ICU.

AND THE GRAY LINE IS THE CURRENT PATIENTS WHO REQUIRE A VENTILATOR OR BREATHING MACHINE.

AGAIN, WE CAN SEE IN THE PAST WEEK, A SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN EACH OF THESE THREE MEASURES WITH HOSPITALIZED PATIENTS BEING 129 YESTERDAY, WHICH IS A 50% INCREASE AS COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS WEEK.

THOSE IN THE ICU 52 ADMISSIONS, WHICH REPRESENTS A 30% INCREASE AS COMPARED TO A WEEK AGO.

AND THOSE ON A VENTILATOR 29, REPRESENTING A 16% INCREASE AS COMPARED TO LAST WEEK.

NOW I WANT TO BE VERY CLEAR ABOUT SOMETHING AND THAT IS OUR HOSPITALS ARE IN GOOD SHAPE RIGHT NOW.

WE'RE NOT TALKING TO YOU TODAY BECAUSE WE'RE CONCERNED THAT THERE'S AN IMPENDING THREAT IN THE NEXT WEEK OR TWO WEEKS THAT THE HOSPITALS ARE GOING TO BE OVERRUN.

WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT FOLKS, IF THEY NEED HEALTHCARE AND THEY GO SEEK HEALTHCARE, IF THEY HAVE A CONDITION THAT REQUIRES AN EMERGENCY ROOM OR HOSPITALIZATIONS, THEY SHOULD NOT DELAY THAT BECAUSE OF THE COVEN CONCERNS.

IF THERE ARE WAITING IMMUNIZATIONS OR PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS OR OTHER PREVENTATIVE CARE, THEY SHOULD ALSO NOT WAIT.

NOW IS THE TIME TO GO DO THOSE THINGS.

NOW IS THE TIME THAT WE HAVE PLENTY OF HOSPITAL CAPACITY, BUT THE CONVERSATION TODAY IS ABOUT A CONCERN OR WHAT IS THREE OR FOUR OR FIVE WEEKS IN THE FUTURE.

AS WE'VE SEEN IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS WHO FACED SIMILAR EXPONENTIAL INCREASES IN CASES, IT CAN BE A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME BETWEEN WHEN THE SITUATION IS OKAY,

[00:05:01]

AND WHEN THE HOSPITAL'S BECOME OVERWHELMED.

SO THE CONVERSATION TODAY IS ABOUT BEHAVIOR CHANGE.

IT'S ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO AS A COMMUNITY TO FLATTEN THIS CURVE.

AGAIN, WE DID A GREAT JOB IN MARCH AND APRIL AND MAY TO GET THIS FLAT, TO REALLY DRIVE DOWN THE NUMBER OF NEW CASES, THE NUMBER OF HOSPITALIZATIONS IN VENTILATOR, ICU USAGE.

AND WE NEED TO DO THAT AGAIN.

AND SO WHAT THAT, THAT STAGE FOUR MEANS FOR US IS WE NEED TO BE A BIT MORE CAUTIOUS.

IT MEANS THAT THOSE WHO ARE OVER THE AGE OF 65, THOSE WHO HAVE SIGNIFICANT UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS THAT ARE KNOWN TO CAUSE COMPLICATIONS FROM COVID-19, INCLUDING DIABETES, HEART DISEASE, LUNG DISEASE, KIDNEY DISEASE, AND A NUMBER OF OTHER ITEMS, WHICH HAS ON OUR CDC OR AUSTIN, TEXAS.GOV FORWARD SLASH COVID-19 WEBSITE.

UH, THOSE FOLKS NEED TO STAY HOME.

THEY ONLY NEED TO GO OUT IF IT'S ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT THEY GO OUT.

AND IF THEY DO HAVE TO GO OUT THAT THEY WEAR A MASK 100% OF THE TIME THAT THEY SOCIAL DISTANCE 100% OF THE TIME, AND THAT THEY PAY ATTENTION TO THE PERSONAL HYGIENE MESSAGES, THE WASHING, THE HANDS, THEY'RE NOT TOUCHING THE FACE, UH, AND THE ASSOCIATED MESSAGES.

UH, IN ADDITION TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE AT RISK THEMSELVES, WE OFFER THE SAME ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO LIVE IN HOUSEHOLDS WITH THOSE INDIVIDUALS.

UH, IT IS REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE PROTECT THOSE WHO ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

AND IF WE DO THAT, WE CAN TOLERATE INCREASES IN CASES WITHOUT THE SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN HOSPITALIZATIONS AND DEATHS.

UM, WE ARE RECOMMENDING THAT FOLKS WHO ARE IN THAT HIGH RISK CATEGORY NOT PARTICIPATE IN SOCIAL GATHERINGS LARGER THAN TWO, PARTICULARLY IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THOSE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND MASKING IS NOT TAKING PLACE FOR THE REST OF THE COMMUNITY.

WE'RE RECOMMENDING THAT THAT THRESHOLD BE AT 10, UNLESS THOSE SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES AND THE MASKING, UH, ARE ABLE TO TAKE PLACE IN THOSE SETTINGS.

UH, AGAIN, IT IS CRITICAL FOR US TO TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTIONS NOW AS A COMMUNITY TO PROTECT OURSELVES, TO PROTECT OUR HOUSEHOLD AND TO PROTECT ONE ANOTHER.

AND, YOU KNOW, WE, WE'VE SEEN QUITE A BIT OF, UH, INTEREST IN AND FOCUS AND REALLY, UM, CELEBRATION OF, OF WORKING TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY, UH, WHEN WE'VE SEEN THE, THE ISSUES FACING OUR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

AND, YOU KNOW, THE, THE CONCERN FOR US RIGHT NOW IN PARTICULAR FOR COVID-19 IS THE DISPROPORTIONATE IMPACT THAT IS HAVING ON OUR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

IF WE WANT TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH OUR LATIN X COMMUNITY, WITH OUR AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY, THEN TOGETHER, WE WILL TAKE THE STEPS NECESSARY TO PROTECT ALL OF US.

AND WITH THAT, I'LL PASS IT TO SARAH ECKHARDT.

I'M GOING TO BE COMPLETELY STRAIGHT WITH YOU ALL.

UM, THE MAYOR AND I, AND JUDGE BISCO, UH, COMPLETELY RECOGNIZED THAT THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF TEXAS HAS, UH, TAKEN AWAY FROM US ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY, UH, TO PUT INTO PLACE ADAPTIVE MEASURES THAT HAVE PROVEN TO BE EFFECTIVE IN COVID-19.

AND, UH, THE GOVERNOR HAS ALSO, UH, SHOWN EVERY INTENTION OF GETTING BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL, UH, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE FACTS THAT YOU'VE JUST HEARD FROM DR.

ESCOFFIER, BUT WE KNOW OUR COMMUNITY, AND WE KNOW THAT WE IN AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY, AND ALL THE MUNICIPALITIES INSIDE TRAVIS COUNTY, AS WELL AS OUR NEIGHBORS AROUND TRAVIS COUNTY ARE READY, WILLING, AND ABLE TO MAKE THE ADAPTATIONS NECESSARY, TO KEEP OUR COWORKERS SAFE, TO KEEP OUR NEIGHBORS AND TO KEEP OUR FAMILIES HEALTHY AND THAT WE WILL DO WHAT'S NECESSARY IN ORDER TO SAFEGUARD OUR COMMUNITY.

AND SO I'M ASKING FOR EVERYONE TO RECOMMIT TODAY TO THE SIX FOOT DISTANCING, TO WEARING THOSE FACE MASKS, AND ALSO TO NOT GO OUT TO PLACES OR GO OUT WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT EQUALLY AS COMMITTED TO THAT SIX FOOT DISTANCING AND THAT FACE MASKING SO THAT WE CAN KEEP OUR WHOLE COMMUNITY SAFE.

SO I DO WANT TO SAY, THAT'S BASICALLY, YOU'RE SEEING, COMING OUT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AND IT HAS BEEN VERY ACCURATE

[00:10:01]

UP TO THIS POINT THAT BY MAINTAINING OUR SIX FOOT SOCIAL DISTANCING BY WEARING OUR MASKS, UH, AND ALSO BY NOT GOING TO PLACES OR GOING WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT EQUALLY COMMITTED, WE HAVE A HIGH PROBABILITY OF BEING ABLE TO CUT THE NUMBERS OF DEATHS IN HALF.

THAT IS AN AWESOME POWER THAT WE HAVE.

AND I'M ASKING YOU TO TAKE HOLD OF THAT POWER AND USE IT FOR GOOD.

BUT WITH EACH DAY THAT WE DELAY IN A RECOMMITMENT TO SIX FOOT DISTANCING, UH, AS WELL AS MASKING AND TO STAYING AWAY FROM, UH, PLACES AND PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT DOING THE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND THE MASKING, UM, EVERY DAY WE DELAY OUR PROBABILITIES OF SAVING LIVES IS GOING DOWN.

SO, UH, AGAIN, I'M, I'M, I'M GOING TO BE COMPLETELY STRAIGHT WITH YOU.

UH, PLEASE, PLEASE BELIEVE US AND PLEASE EVERYONE WHO CAN STAY COVERED SO THAT WE CAN STAY OPEN.

AND WITH THAT MAYOR.

YEAH.

THANK YOU.

SO WE KNOW WE, WE, WE TALKED LAST WEEK, UH, ABOUT GETTING TO 20 NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS ON THE SEVEN DAY ROLLING AVERAGE.

UH, AND HONESTLY, FRANKLY, WE HAVE GOTTEN TO THIS PLACE SOONER THAN I THOUGHT THAT WE WOULD, UH, WHEN THIS VIRUS COMES, IT'S GOING TO COME FAST, IT'S GOING TO COME FASTER THAN, AND THEN ANY OF US CAN IMAGINE, AND WITH PASSING 20 YESTERDAY, UH, WE'RE GETTING THAT FIRST EARLY WARNING SIGN THAT THIS VIRUS IS STILL HERE, THAT IS COMING AT US.

AND THAT HAS KIND OF COME MORE QUICKLY THAN WE CAN IMAGINE.

NOW, OUR NUMBERS IN AUSTIN HAVE BEGUN TO METRICALLY INCREASE ON OUR CURRENT PATH, WHERE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GET SICK AND ARE GOING TO DIE.

AND WHAT HAPPENED IF WE DON'T WEAR FACE COVERINGS AND WE DON'T MAINTAIN SIX FOOT DISTANCING, WE EACH HAD TO LOOK INTO OURSELVES RIGHT NOW TO MAKE THE INDIVIDUAL CHOICES THAT WILL INDICATE TO OURSELVES AND TO OTHERS.

WHAT WE PERSONALLY VALUE.

WE HAVE A VIRUS THAT IS DISPROPORTIONATELY GOING AFTER PEOPLE WHO ARE OVER 65 IS PROPORTIONATELY GOING AFTER PEOPLE WHO HAVE A PREEXISTING CONDITION ANSWER, UH, DIABETES, UH, OBESITY, OTHER THINGS.

IT IS DISPROPORTIONATELY GOING AFTER OUR COMMUNITY OF COLOR, BY THE INDIVIDUAL CHOICES THAT WE MAKE AND WHAT WE CAN DO OVER THE COMING FEW WEEKS, WE GET TO DECIDE FOR OURSELVES HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR US TO PROTECT THOSE PEOPLE, OUR NEIGHBORS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THIS COMMUNITY RIGHT NOW SAYING BLACK LIVES MATTER BECAUSE THEY DO, YOU HAVE TO DECIDE NOW BY YOUR ACTIONS, WHETHER YOU MEET THAT OTHER, THAT IN FACT IS SOMETHING THAT IS MORE THAN A SLOGAN.

THAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU'RE ACTUALLY WILLING TO PUT INTO PRACTICE.

SO THERE'S A GREAT DEBATE IN AUSTIN RIGHT NOW ABOUT, YOU KNOW, DO WE WANT TO OPEN UP THE ECONOMY ON THE ONE HAND, OR DO WE WANT TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT THE VIRUS ON THE OTHER? AND THAT'S A FALSE CHOICE BECAUSE WE WANT TO TRY TO OPEN UP THE ECONOMY.

WE WANT PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO GO OUT.

WE WANT PEOPLE TO BE AUTO SHOP AND TO GO INTO RESTAURANTS.

WE WANT PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO GO TO CONCERTS.

WE, WE, WE WANT THESE THINGS TO HAPPEN.

I WOULD SUGGEST THAT WE CAN DO THOSE THINGS.

IF THAT'S THE CHOICE, YOU MAY AND STILL WEAR A MASK AND STILL MAINTAIN SIX FOOT.

THE WAY THAT WE DO BOTH.

AND WE OPEN UP THE ECONOMY AND WE PROTECT AGAINST PEOPLE BEHIND YOU.

GETTING SICK THAT DON'T HAVE TO IS MAKING THE REALLY SIMPLE CHOICE TO MAINTAIN SIX FOOT DISTANCING AND TO WEAR MASKS.

WE HAVE TO BE PARTICULARLY CAREFUL OF MY COCOONING,

[00:15:01]

THOSE POPULATIONS THAT ARE MOST AT RISK PEOPLE IN OUR NURSING HOMES, COLOR PEOPLE WITH PREEXISTING, IT WAS OVER 65.

THE SCIENTISTS TELL US THAT WITH THIS GEOMETRIC RISE THAT WE'RE GOING TO RUN INTO MORE AND MORE PEOPLE, MORE AND MORE PEOPLE THAT HAVE THE VIRUS MAYBE DON'T KNOW THEY HAVE THE VIRUS THAT CAN INFECT US.

THEY INFECT US, AND WE DON'T KNOW WHERE INFECTED.

WE CAN PASS IT ON TO OTHERS.

THOSE THAT WE LOVE ARE THOSE THAT SOMEBODY ELSE LOVES.

IT IS NO LONGER, REALLY SAFE FOR PEOPLE OVER 65 TO BE GOING OUT.

AND THAT'S MY DOCTOR HAS SCOTT ARTHROPATHY, THE PRIEST OR FOLKS OVER 65, NOT TO BE IN LARGE GROUPS, EVEN GROUPS, OVER A COUPLE OF PEOPLE.

AND TODAY WE ARE EXTENDING OUR ORDER AND PUTTING IN THAT PROVISION OR PEOPLE OVER 65 PEOPLE THAT ARE SUSCEPTIBLE, WE ARE MAKING A CHANGE IN OUR ORDER.

UH, THE ORDER SECTION FOUR, I THINK WE HAVE SOME LANGUAGE THAT'S GOING TO BE POSTED HERE, UH, SHORTLY.

UH, BUT IT TALKS ABOUT REOPENED BUSINESS.

AND THE NEW SECTION FOR THE ORDER SAYS THAT WHILE THE CITY BOSTON DECLARED TO BE IN STAGE FOUR ALERT OR HIGHER, ALL BUSINESSES AND OPERATIONS REOPENED BY THE GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE ORDER ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED.

SINCE WE CAN'T MANDATE IT.

I WAS STRONGLY ENCOURAGED, OPERATED AT A MINIMAL INDOOR CAPACITY.

IF YOU'RE GETTING TO 25% OR BELOW PROVIDE SERVICES REMOTELY, OR IN A MATTER OF MAXIMIZING SOCIAL DISTANCING, CURBSIDE PICKUP DELIVERY, AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

WE WANT EVERYONE TO PUT THE GREATEST EFFORT IN MINIMIZING GROUPS AS MUCH AS WE POSSIBLY CAN.

AND THEN PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE LAST SECTION SENTENCE OF THAT SECTION SAYS THAT DESPITE THE ISSUANCE OF THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER, LOCAL CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO EXHIBIT AN ALARMING UPWARD TREND OF THE VIRUSES YOU SEEN IN THE NUMBERS.

THEREFORE, AWESOME BUSINESSES ARE ENCOURAGED TO DO EVERYTHING THAT THEY CAN COURAGE BECAUSE WE, WE WERE NOT MAKING IT MANDATORY.

THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER, EVERYTHING THAT THEY CAN RISK BUSINESSES BEYOND THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER TO REQUIRE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND REQUIRE FACE MASKING.

WHAT THAT MEANS FOR EACH OF US IS WE GET TO DECIDE.

YOU GET TO DECIDE THOUGH INTO A CONCERT WHERE PEOPLE ARE NOT WEARING MASKS.

YOU GET TO DECIDE, GO INTO A STORE WHERE PEOPLE ARE NOT WEARING MASKS.

REMEMBER THAT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU THAT ARE NOT WEARING MASKS ARE PUTTING YOU AT RISK OR NOT WEARING MASK OR PUTTING AT RISK PEOPLE AROUND THEM.

AND IF YOU DON'T WEAR A MASK, THEN YOU'RE PUTTING THEM IN AND YOU GET TO MAKE THE CHOICE.

THIS COMMUNITY GETS TO MAKE THIS CHOICE.

WE GET TO DECIDE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS THAT WE TRY TO PROTECT THOSE AROUND US.

HOW IMPORTANT IS IT THAT WE, AND WE WANT THOSE AROUND US TO TRY TO PROTECT US.

I'M GOING TO REPEAT SOMETHING THAT A DOCTOR HAS GOT SAVED BECAUSE IT'S IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW.

THERE'S A LOT OF CAPACITY IN OUR HOSPITALS.

WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, UH, SEVERAL WEEKS DOWN THE ROAD, OR RIGHT NOW THERE'S, THERE'S, THERE'S PASADENA AND THEY'RE VERY SAFE.

SO IT'S A GOOD TIME TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES.

AND THOSE WE LOVE IF YOU'VE BEEN CONSIDERING GETTING A PHYSICAL OR HAVING A PROCEDURE DONE OR GOING TO THE HOSPITAL OR HAVING SOMETHING CHECKED, THAT WOULD BE A GOOD TIME TO DO THAT BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF SPACE.

EVERYTHING IS REALLY SAFE.

THIS VIRUS HAS GOTTA BE WITH US FOR AWHILE.

OUR ABILITY TO BE ABLE TO LIVE LIVES AS NORMALLY AS WE CAN AND PROTECT AGAINST THE VIRUS COMES DOWN TO, TO DO THESE SIMPLE THINGS, JUST HOW INCONVENIENT IT WAS REALLY TO PUT ON A FACE COVERING JUST HOW HARD IS IT REALLY TO TRY TO MAINTAIN SIX MONTHS.

YOU GET TO DECIDE.

NOW, I HOPE THAT EVERYBODY'S GOING TO PUT FORTH THE EFFORT.

I HOPE EVERYBODY WILL WORK TO PROTECT.

AND WITHOUT I THINK THAT WE'RE ALL AVAILABLE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION.

YES.

AT THIS TIME, WE'LL GO AHEAD AND OPEN IT UP TO OUR POOR PORTER TO BEGIN THE QUESTION AND ANSWER SEGMENT OF THIS PRESS CONFERENCE.

GOOD AFTERNOON, EVERYONE.

[00:20:01]

MY NAME'S BETTY CROSS I'M WITH CBS AUSTIN.

AND THE FIRST QUESTION IS FROM CBS, AUSTIN, HAVE YOU TRACED ANY OF THE GROWING NUMBER OF NEW CASES TO COMMON ORIGIN POINTS? WHAT LOCATIONS DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON? AND ARE YOU SEEING ANY OF THESE MORE RECENT CASES TRACE BACK TO PROTEST OR TRACE BACK TO EVEN RESTAURANTS? WHAT I'M ASKING THIS IS REALLY TO TRY TO GIVE OUR VIEWERS SOME WAY OF KNOWING WHAT THEY CAN AND CAN'T DO IS THEY TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO NAVIGATE WHERE THEY GO FROM HERE.

UH, OUR, OUR CASE INVESTIGATORS ARE WORKING HARD TO CONTRACT DOWN CASES, BUT THE CHALLENGE THAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW IS PEOPLE HAVE, YOU KNOW, THE POSITIVE CASES THAT WE'RE INVESTIGATING RIGHT NOW HAVE BEEN TO SO MANY DIFFERENT LOCATIONS, UH, WORK SITES, GROCERY STORES, RESTAURANTS, BARS, THAT IT IS VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TO PIN IT DOWN TO ONE PARTICULAR LOCATION.

UH, AND I DON'T WANT TO STAY QUITE CLEARLY.

WE HAVE WIDESPREAD COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION IN AUSTIN, IN TRAVIS COUNTY, ACROSS TEXAS AND ACROSS THE UNITED STATES.

SO THE RISK OF TRANSMISSION IS EVERYWHERE.

AND I DON'T MEAN THAT TO FRIGHTEN PEOPLE.

I MEAN THAT, SO THEY UNDERSTAND THE FACTS AND THE FACTS ARE IT'S EVERYWHERE.

AND WE'RE SEEING THAT IN, UM, DEMONSTRATING IN THE NEW CASES THAT WE'RE EXPERIENCING AND THE RAPID GROWTH OF THOSE NEW CASES.

UH, SO IF THE QUESTION REALLY IS WHERE DO I NEED TO BE CAREFUL? IT IS EVERY TIME YOU GO OUTSIDE THE HOUSE, THAT'S WHERE PEOPLE NEED TO BE CAREFUL.

WE ARE ALSO WORKING HARD TO IDENTIFY, UH, ADDITIONAL STRATEGIES TO PROTECT PEOPLE WITHIN HOUSEHOLDS, BECAUSE WE ARE SEEING A NUMBER OF CLUSTERS IN HOUSEHOLDS WHERE WE HAVE FIVE OR SIX INDIVIDUALS IN A SINGLE HOUSEHOLD THAT ARE ALL POSITIVE.

UH, AND AGAIN, OUR CONCERN IS, IS PARTICULARLY IN THOSE LARGER HOUSEHOLDS THAT TEND TO BE IN SMALLER DWELLING SIZES, THOSE MULTIGENERATIONAL HOUSEHOLDS, WHERE FOLKS REALLY DO HAVE A HARD TIME, A SOCIAL DISTANCING AND PROTECTING THEMSELVES FROM ONE ANOTHER.

UH, SO WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO WHEN IT COMES TO, UH, THOSE CASE INVESTIGATIONS IN THE, IN THE, UH, DISRUPTING THAT HOUSEHOLD TRANSMISSION.

BUT OUR TEAMS ARE WORKING HARD NOT, BUT THE QUESTION WAS, THE QUESTION WAS, WHAT DO PEOPLE DO IS THEY'RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO NAVIGATE THIS.

IT'S REALLY PRETTY SIMPLE, WEAR A MASK WHEN YOU GO OUTSIDE AND DON'T GO PLACES WHERE PEOPLE AREN'T WEARING MASKS.

AND I GUESS PART OF MY QUESTION, NOT, NOT TO TAKE TOO MUCH TIME WITH THIS IS WE'VE OPENED UP RESTAURANTS.

YOU CAN'T WEAR A MASK WHEN YOU'RE AT A RESTAURANT.

YES, YOU HAVE SOME IDEA OF SOCIAL DISTANCE, BUT NOT WITH EVERYONE.

SO I'M TRYING TO GIVE PEOPLE IF WE CAN, IN ANY WAY, HELP THEM THROUGH TRACING, TO FIGURE OUT WHERE ARE SOME POINTS WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE SEEM TO BE VULNERABLE.

HAVE WE FIGURED THAT OUT AT ALL? I THINK THAT, I THINK WHAT YOU'RE HEARING FROM DR.

SCOTT AND FROM THE MAYOR IS THE ANSWER.

ALTHOUGH IT'S NOT THE ANSWER WE WANT TO HEAR, THE ANSWER IS COVID-19 IS TRANSMITTED PERSON TO PERSON.

UH, YOU, YOU CAN'T AVOID IT BY AVOIDING CERTAIN PLACES.

YOU CAN ONLY AVOID IT BY ADAPTING YOUR OWN PERSONAL BEHAVIORS.

SO WE, UM, THE GOVERNOR IS NOT GOING TO ALLOW US TO, UH, TO SLOW DOWN, UH, OR EVEN REVERSE A, TO BUSINESS AS USUAL.

SO OUR BEST RESPONSE AS A COMMUNITY TO COVID-19 IS TO ADAPT OUR BEHAVIORS BECAUSE WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO AVOID IT BY AVOIDING CERTAIN PLACES.

WE WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO SLOW THE SPREAD OF THIS VIRUS BY ADAPTING OUR OWN BEHAVIOR.

AND WITH RESPECT TO RESTAURANTS, I THINK MAKE SURE THAT YOU DON'T GO TO A RESTAURANT WHERE PEOPLE ARE NOT SEPARATELY AND MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE, YOU'RE JUST SEE IT SITTING WITH YOUR, WITH YOUR CORE GROUP, MAKE SURE YOU'RE WEARING YOUR MASK TO AND FROM THE RESTAURANT, MAKE SURE THAT EVERYBODY IN THE RESTAURANT SERVERS IN THE LIGHT ARE WEARING OR WEARING THEIR MASKS.

THANK YOU.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM ASTONIA.

WHAT IS THE CURRENT HOSPITAL CAPACITY IN THE FIVE COUNTY AUSTIN REGION? IS IT STILL HOVERING AROUND 50%? I THINK THAT'S FOR YOU, DR.

SCOTT.

SO OUR, OUR CAPACITY, UH, RIGHT NOW OCCUPANCY IS ABOUT 70%.

UH, AGAIN, A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THAT IS, IS RIGHT NOW, UH, OCCUPIED BY COVID-19 PATIENTS.

SO WHEN WE, WHEN WE LOOKED AT THE MODELS AND THE, THE THRESHOLDS FOR TRANSITION FROM STAGE

[00:25:01]

THREE TO STAGE FOUR, THE ESTIMATION IS THAT WE WOULD HAVE 1100 BEDS TO DEDICATE TO COVID-19 PATIENTS.

UH, AS WE'VE DONE ALL ALONG, WE'RE CONTINUALLY REEVALUATING OUR METRICS AND OUR DATA BECAUSE THE DATA THAT WE HAVE MAY CHANGE THOSE TRANSITION POINTS IN THE FUTURE AND HOW OUR HOSPITALS ARE, ARE REEVALUATING THAT TO DETERMINE IF, IF THAT NUMBER CAN BE RAISED.

SIMILARLY, OUR, UH, OUR DATA STREAMS THAT ARE COMING IN HELP US INFORM US ABOUT THE RATES OF HOSPITALIZATION, ABOUT THE LENGTH OF STAY OF HOSPITALIZATION, AND ALL THOSE FACTORS GO INTO THE MODEL TO DETERMINE WHEN THOSE APPROPRIATE TRIGGER POINTS, UH, SHOULD, SHOULD BE AND WHAT THEY SHOULD BE.

AND I BRING THAT UP BECAUSE WHEN THEY FIND THAT A WEEK OR TWO WEEKS, WE TWEAK THOSE TRIGGER POINTS BASED ON THAT NEW INFORMATION, UH, YOU KNOW, THE EARLY DATA THAT WE HAVE RIGHT NOW BASED ON OUR HOSPITALIZATIONS NOW THAT WE'VE SEEN SO FAR SUGGEST TO US THAT, UH, MOST HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE RELATIVELY BRIEF.

UH, WE'VE GOT ABOUT 50% OF OUR HOSPITALIZATIONS, WHICH ARE, UH, FOUR DAYS OR LESS.

AND, UH, YOU KNOW, ABOUT 75% OF THOSE ARE NINE DAYS OR LESS, BUT WE STILL HAVE SOME WHICH ARE PROLONGED FOR 30, 60 DAYS SOMETIMES LONGER.

UH, SO ALL THAT INFORMATION WILL BE FED INTO THE MODELS TO BETTER INFORM OUR PREDICTIONS FOR THE FUTURE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KUT, WHAT EXACTLY DOES STAGE FOUR RESTRICTIONS RESTRICTIONS MEAN FOR THE PUBLIC AND FOR THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM? SO TH TH THE STAGE FOUR, REALLY, UH, AND THIS IS, UH, ALL OUR, OUR WEBSITE, UH, WITH OUR STAGING, UH, MATRIX, UH, REALLY THEY, THE, THE CRITICAL CHANGES ARE THE ADVICE IN RELATION TO, UH, GATHERING SIZES.

UH, IF YOU'RE A MEMBER, ALL THE STAGES, UH, INVOLVE THE MASKING AND THEY SOCIAL DISTANCING AND THE PERSONAL HYGIENE, UH, AND THERE'S GOING TO BE VARIATION BASED UPON WHETHER OR NOT AN INDIVIDUAL, UH, THEMSELVES OR THEIR HOUSEHOLD, UH, IS AT HIGHER RISK FOR COMPLICATIONS.

UH, FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS, THEY NEED TO BE MORE PROTECTIVE.

UH, THEY NEED TO TAKE LESS RISK.

AND THAT'S THE, THE THINGS THAT I SPOKE ABOUT EARLIER THAT IS LIMITING GATHERINGS TO TWO, TWO OR LESS, UH, AND THAT'S ELIMINATING SOCIAL GATHERINGS THAT AREN'T ESSENTIAL, PARTICULARLY THOSE, UH, AS, AS A, AS SARAH ECKHART SAID EARLIER, THAT DON'T INVOLVE, UH, PROTECTIVE BEHAVIORS, THE MASKING AND THE SOCIAL DISTANCING FOR THOSE WHO ARE AT LOWER RISK.

UH, YOU KNOW, THAT THRESHOLD'S A LITTLE HIGHER, THAT'S, THAT'S 10 INDIVIDUALS, UH, IN A GATHERING SPACE.

UM, YOU KNOW, THIS IS AGAIN, NOT ABOUT SHOCKING PEOPLE.

WE DON'T WANT PEOPLE TO LIVE IN FEAR.

UH, WE WANT THEM TO BE SMART.

WE WANT THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE EVIDENCE AND BE INFORMED WHEN THE SITUATION CHANGES IN QUITE CLEARLY, THE SITUATION HAS CHANGED IN TRAVIS COUNTY IN THE LAST WEEK.

NOW WE'VE SEEN AN INCREASE IN HOSPITALIZATIONS.

WE SEEN AN INCREASE IN CASES, WE'VE SEEN AN INCREASE IN THE ICU AND THE, THE VENTILATOR USE AND A SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE IN OUR DOUBLING TIME.

THESE ARE ALL WARNING SIGNS, AND WE ARE EMPOWERED TO, TO MAKE THE CHANGE.

WE ARE POWERED TO FLATTEN THE CURVE AGAIN.

AND IF WE FOLLOW THOSE GUIDELINES IN THE STAGING CRITERIA, IN THE CATEGORY FOUR STAGE FOUR, THE ORANGE STAGE, THEN WE HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF FLATTENING THAT CURVE.

AGAIN, THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COOPERATIVE.

WHAT GUIDANCE, IF ANY, HAVE YOU RECEIVED FROM THE STATE AND OR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND RESPONSE TO THE DRAMATIC UPTICK OF HOSPITALIZATIONS ACROSS THE STATE? UH, I WILL TELL YOU THAT, UH, JUDGE WOLF IN BEAR COUNTY, UH, SENT A LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, UH, LATE LAST WEEK, REQUESTING AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE MASKING, UH, SINCE FACE MASKING DOES APPEAR TO BE VERY LOW HANGING FRUIT THAT EVERYONE AGREES WITH, INCLUDING THE GOVERNOR.

AND SO, UH, JUDGE WOLF DID RECEIVE A RESPONSE FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, UH, THAT THE GOVERNOR WOULD NOT, UH, PROVIDE LOCAL AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE FACE MASKING, ALTHOUGH HE TOO AGREED THAT IT WAS A GOOD ADAPTATION.

SO, UH, THAT WAS DISHEARTENING.

I'LL ALSO ADD TO THAT.

UM, YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK THAT ANYBODY WANTS, UH, MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF HOSPITALIZATIONS AND DEATHS, BUT THE SIMPLE FACT IS RIGHT NOW THAT WE ARE NOT THE ONLY ONES FACING SURGE.

NOW, WE'RE NOT THE ONLY ONES WITH THAT HOCKEY STICK APPEARANCE,

[00:30:01]

UH, THAT I JUST SHOWED YOU THERE COUNTIES IN THE, IN A SIMILAR SITUATION COUNTY COUNTIES IN A SIMILAR SITUATION, DALLAS COUNTY, UH, HAS, UH, CASES PER CAPITA RIGHT NOW, NEW CASES THAT ARE 50% HIGHER THAN OURS.

UH, WE'RE SEEING THIS ACROSS THE, THE, UH, METROPOLITAN COUNTIES IN TEXAS, AND CERTAINLY WE'VE SEEN IT IN OTHER STATES LIKE FLORIDA.

UM, THE REALITY IS THAT THAT WHAT'S CHANGED IS, IS THE MESSAGING WHAT'S CHANGED IS, IS THAT DESIRE TO, TO REALLY, UH, YOU KNOW, PUSH FORWARD WITH THE ECONOMY WHILE SACRIFICING THE PUBLIC HEALTH PIECE.

AND AGAIN, AS A, AS MAYOR ADLER SAID, IT THAT'S A FALSE CHOICE.

WE DON'T HAVE TO CHOOSE ONE OR THE OTHER.

WE HAVE TO CHOOSE BOTH.

AND THOSE SIMPLE THINGS, THE MASKING, THE SOCIAL DISTANCING, THE PERSONAL HYGIENE IS HOW WE ACHIEVE BOTH.

SO I REALLY DO NOT UNDERSTAND AS A PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIAL AS A PHYSICIAN, WHY WE CANNOT ALL GET BEHIND THOSE SIMPLE THINGS SO THAT WE CAN DO BOTH EFFECTIVELY.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE, DOES THE CITY HAVE ENOUGH CONTACT TRACERS HIRED AND TRAINED TO RESPOND TO THE SURGE? WE MAY NOW ANTICIPATE.

SO AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH IS IN THE PROCESS OF EVERY WEEK.

WE'RE ONBOARDING MORE PEOPLE, UH, IT'S, YOU KNOW, AROUND 10 PEOPLE A WEEK THAT ARE COMING ON BOARD, THAT WE'RE TRAINING THAT ARE, UH, THAT ARE TAKING ON NEW CASES.

AND WE ALSO HAVE A PARTNERSHIP WITH, WITH, UH, THE DELL MEDICAL SCHOOL WITH COMMUNITY CARE.

AND WE'RE LOOKING FOR, FOR ADDITIONAL PARTNERSHIPS TO HELP CARRY THAT LOAD.

I WILL SAY THAT IT'S, IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT THE CONTACT TRACING.

AND LET ME EXPLAIN THAT A LITTLE BIT.

ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WE'VE HAD OVER THE PAST WEEK OR SO HAS BEEN A DELAY IN, IN THE RESULTS DUE TO A SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN THE TESTING DONE ACROSS OUR JURISDICTION AND ACROSS THE STATE.

UM, IT'S NOT UNCOMMON FOR US RIGHT NOW TO BE NOTIFIED OF A NEW CASE CONFIRMED CASE THAT WAS TESTED A WEEK AGO THAT HAD ONSET OF SYMPTOMS THREE OR FOUR OR FIVE DAYS BEFORE THAT.

SO THE CHALLENGE IS RIGHT NOW, WE'RE WHEN AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH IS RECEIVING A CASE THAT INDIVIDUAL MAY NOT BE INFECTIOUS ANY LONGER IN SOME CIRCUMSTANCES THE SAME DAY THAT WE REPORT A NEW CASE, WE REPORT THAT SAME CASE AS RECOVERED BECAUSE IT'S BEEN MORE THAN 14 DAYS.

SO THIS IS WHY IT'S CRITICAL THAT WE ALL ENGAGE IN THOSE PROTECTIVE BEHAVIORS THAT MASKING THAT SOCIAL DISTANCING.

UM, BECAUSE WE, WE CANNOT CAPTURE EVERYBODY WITH, WITH CONTACT TRACER.

WE CANNOT PROTECT EVERYBODY WITH CONTACT TRACING.

UH, WE HAVE TO PROTECT EACH OTHER.

WE HAVE TO PROTECT OURSELVES AND OUR HOUSEHOLDS AND OUR COMMUNITY BY, UH, BY DOING THOSE THINGS, WHICH WE KNOW ARE GONNA WORK.

OUR NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KX A USING CONTACT TRACING, HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFULLY TRACKED AND QUARANTINED? HOW MANY PEOPLE NOT LIVING WITH A KNOWN CASE HAVE CONTACT TRACERS, BEEN ABLE TO CONTACT AND TELL THEM THAT THEY NEED TO QUARANTINE.

I DON'T HAVE A NUMBER FOR THAT.

I CAN TRY TO GET THAT NUMBER.

UH, IT'S, IT'S, IT'S GOTTA BE THOUSANDS.

UH, WE REMEMBER WE'VE HAD SOME CASES THAT HAVE HAD HUNDREDS OF CONTACTS THAT HAD TO BE CONTACTED AND ADVISED TO, UH, TO QUARANTINE, UH, AND, AND BE TESTED.

UM, SO IT'S GOING TO, IT'S GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE A PROCESS.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE ARE, WE ARE ADVISING PEOPLE AS SOON AS THE CASE IS DIAGNOSED.

IN ADDITION TO THE INSTRUCTIONS THAT WE PROVIDE, ONCE WE RECEIVE CONFIRMATION OF THE CASE, UH, WE HAVE A TESTING COLLABORATIVE.

SO, UH, THE INDIVIDUALS AT THE TIME THAT THEY'RE TESTED ARE ALSO NOTIFIED, UH, PARTICULARLY IF THEY'RE SYMPTOMATIC AT THE TIME OF TESTING, OR IF THEY'VE HAD A POSITIVE EXPOSURE AT THE TIME OF TESTING, THAT THEY SHOULD BE SELF ISOLATING, UH, FROM THAT POINT IN TIME ONWARDS UNTIL THEY RECEIVE A NEGATIVE RESULT.

UH, SO WHEN WE ARE TRYING TO PUSH THAT CONTACT TRACING, OR AT LEAST THEY THE INFORMATION, UH, REGARDING THE, THE NEED TO ISOLATE AND PROTECT OTHERS, WAY BACK TO THE POINT OF, OF TESTING SO THAT WE DON'T MISS OUT ON OPPORTUNITIES TO, UH, TO ISOLATE PEOPLE.

THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN TO CITY OR COUNTY LEADERS HAVE ANY PLANS TO CONTACT

[00:35:01]

GOVERNOR ABBOTT ABOUT STATEWIDE RULES THAT RENDER THESE LOCAL ORDERS UNENFORCEABLE.

DO YOU EXPECT AT ANY POINT TO ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO HAVE AN IMPACT THROUGH THESE LOCAL ORDERS CONSIDERING WHAT IS TAKING PLACE STATEWIDE? YES, AND WE HOPE SO I'M IN CONTACT WITH THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AS WE TALK THROUGH THESE ISSUES.

I THINK THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE IS IN CONTACT WITH CITIES AND ARE DRIVEN CON COUNTIES AROUND THE STATE, ALSO VISITING WITH, UH, MAYORS AND SOME OF THE ARCH, UH, UH, CITIES, UH, THAT ARE, ARE LOOKING AT, UH, INCREASES THE, THE SAME AS OURS.

UH, I THINK THAT, UH, YOU KNOW, AS CITIES, WE MAY, UH, YOU KNOW, FORMALLY REQUEST, UH, OF THE, OF THE GOVERNOR THAT, UH, HE GIVE THE LOCAL, UH, UH, AGENCIES, CITIES HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO, TO ENFORCE MASKS.

UH, YOU KNOW, IT JUST SEEMS LIKE SUCH A, AN IMPORTANT THING TO DO THAT IS SO CONSISTENT WITH, AND DOESN'T INTERFERE WITH THE OPENING UP OF, UH, OPENING UP OF THE ECONOMY.

UH, BUT ULTIMATELY, YOU KNOW, THE GOVERNOR WILL DECIDE WHAT THE GOVERNOR DOES, BUT AS A COMMUNITY, UH, WE GET TO DECIDE WHAT WE DO.

EVERYONE GETS TO DECIDE ON THEIR OWN IF THEY WEAR A MASK AND EVERYONE GETS TO THE SIDE, IF THEY GO INTO AN ESTABLISHMENT, UH, WHERE, WHERE PEOPLE ARE NOT WEARING MASKS AS MUCH AS THEY CAN, UH, WE GET TO DECIDE AS A BUSINESS OWNER, WHETHER WE TELL PEOPLE THEY SHOULD WEAR MASKS.

WHEN THEY, WHEN THEY COME INTO OUR BUSINESS, WE GET TO DECIDE, AND OUR INDIVIDUAL CHOICES WILL ADD UP TO WHATEVER IT IS THAT OUR COMMUNITY, THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KVU.

AND I KNOW YOU ALL HAVE TOUCHED ON THIS A LITTLE BIT TODAY, BUT I THINK SHE'S SPECIFICALLY ASKING WHAT PARTICULAR MEASURES BEYOND JUST ASKING PEOPLE TO WEAR MASKS AND TO CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN SIX FEET OF SOCIAL DISTANCING.

WHAT MEASURES CAN CITY OR COUNTY LEADERS PLAN TO USE SINCE THESE ORDERS ARE BASICALLY UNENFORCEABLE.

THAT IS A, THAT IS A VERY, VERY PAINFUL QUESTION.

UH, WITHOUT ENFORCEMENT CAPABILITIES, WE ARE RELIANT AND, UH, ON OUR COMMUNITY CHOICES, UH, BUT WE KNOW THIS COMMUNITY, UM, THE, THE BEST, UH, THAT WE CAN PROVIDE AS, AS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IS THE BEST INFORMATION TO ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY, SO THAT WE CAN ALL MAKE THE BEST INDIVIDUAL CHOICES.

UH, THE GOVERNOR HAS VERY PLAINLY SPOKEN IN HIS RESPONSE, UH, UM, TO JUDGE WOLF THAT HE BELIEVES, UH, THAT PERSONAL CHOICE WILL CARRY US THROUGH THIS A BETTER THAN A REGULATION WOULD.

UM, I DISAGREE, UH, I THINK THE MAYOR DISAGREES AS WELL.

UM, BUT, UH, THE MESSAGE HAS BEEN VERY, VERY CLEAR FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, THAT WE ARE RELIANT ON INDIVIDUAL CHOICE.

AND SO THE BEST WE CAN DO IS TO PROVIDE YOU THE MOST ACCURATE AND TIMELY INFORMATION SO THAT YOU CAN MAKE DIFFERENCE WITH YOURSELF.

UM, AND, AND WE HAVE BEFORE, AND WE HAVE, WE WILL, AGAIN, SO AGAIN, UH, I KNOW IT, IT, IT FEELS UNSATISFACTORY.

UM, BUT THE BEST INFORMATION WE CAN PROVIDE IS MAINTAIN YOUR SIX FOOT SOCIAL DISTANCING, RECOMMIT TO THE MASKING, AND DON'T GO TO PLACES OR WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT SIMILARLY COMMITTED.

LET ME, I JUST WANT TO ADD ON THAT.

SOME BUSINESSES ARE DOING A GREAT JOB AT REALLY HELPING US PROTECT THEIR EMPLOYEES AND PROTECT THE COMMUNITY.

UH, YOU KNOW, I WENT TO COSTCO THIS WEEKEND WITH MY WIFE FOR THE FIRST TIME, IN A LONG TIME, THEY HAD A BIG SIGN AT THE DOOR.

YOU MUST WEAR A MASK TO COME IN.

AND 100% OF THE STAFF WERE WEARING MASKS.

100% OF THE PEOPLE SHOPPING WERE WEARING MASKS, AND WE NEED MORE OF THAT.

WE NEED MORE BUSINESSES MAKING THE DECISION TO SAY, IT'S OKAY TO WANT TO PROTECT MY EMPLOYEES, TO WANT TO PROTECT THE COMMUNITY.

AND I THINK WE REALLY DO NEED TO APPLAUD THOSE BUSINESSES THAT ARE DOING WELL, DOING THEIR PART, NOT ONLY TO PROTECT PEOPLE WHILE THEY'RE IN, IN THEIR, IN THEIR BUSINESS, BUT ALSO TO REMIND FOLKS THAT IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

IT'S WHAT WE HAVE TO DO AS A COMMUNITY TO GET THROUGH THIS.

AND, UH, YOU KNOW, MY, MY HOPE IS THAT MORE BUSINESSES WILL, UH, REQUEST THAT,

[00:40:01]

THAT PEOPLE WEAR A MASK TO COME INSIDE.

AND THAT, UH, THAT, THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO FLATTEN THIS CURVE AGAIN.

UH, IT REALLY IS, UH, TO SAVE LIVES AND TO SAVE THOSE THAT ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

UH, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT SAYS A LOT ABOUT A COMMUNITY WHEN WE SEE WHAT LENGTHS PEOPLE WILL GO TO TO PROTECT THOSE WHO ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE.

AND I'M VERY HOPEFUL FOR THIS, UH, FOR THIS COMMUNITY, MAKE A GOOD POINT.

DR.

S SCOTT, UH, YOU KNOW, I WOULD REALLY LIKE BUSINESSES THAT ARE DOING THIS TO, TO REACH OUT TO ME AND MY OFFICE SO THAT WE CAN, UM, UH, LET THE COMMUNITY KNOW, UH, WHO IT IS THAT, THAT ARE, THAT ARE REALLY STEPPING FORWARD TO TRY TO PROTECT, REALLY PROTECT THEIR EMPLOYEES.

AND THE REST OF THE, I KNOW THAT HEB IS DOING THAT AS WELL.

UH, SO IF YOU'RE AN EMPLOYER AND YOU'RE DOING THIS, PLEASE REACH OUT TO MY OFFICE SO THAT I CAN ELEVATE, UH, YOUR BUSINESS AS WELL.

WE HAVE A QUESTION NOW FROM COMMUNITY IMPACT, UM, YOU COMMITTED LOCAL RESIDENTS FOR FLATTENING THE CURVE EARLY THIS SPRING.

WHY HAVE CIRCUMSTANCES CHANGED? IS IT REOPENING WARMER WEATHER AT GENERAL, FATIGUE WAS STAYING IN DOORS.

WHY ARE WE AS A COMMUNITY NOT TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY ENOUGH? I THINK WE ALL WANT TO GO AFT WE EVOLVE IT INSIDE FOR SO LONG.

ARE WE, WE MISS PEOPLE, WE MISS ACTIVITIES.

UH, AND THEN WE ALSO, BUSINESSES ARE MISSING THE, THE INCOME, UH, YOU KNOW, RESTRICTING THE ECONOMY IS INCREDIBLY HARD, UH, NOT ONLY SOCIALLY, BUT, BUT, BUT ECONOMICALLY IMPACT ON, UH, FOR, FOR ALL OF THOSE REASONS.

UM, BUT THAT DOESN'T, BUT THAT DOESN'T MAKE IT SOMETHING THAT WE CAN SUSTAIN.

WE CANNOT SUSTAIN EITHER LOCKING DOWN AND NOT HAVING ANY INTERACTION, NOR CAN WE SUSTAIN, UH, EVERYONE THAT WEARING MASKS AND EVERYONE NOT SOCIAL DISTANCING, BECAUSE IT WILL BE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THAT ULTIMATELY DIE.

WE CAN'T SUSTAIN EITHER OF THOSE TWO THINGS.

UM, I THINK THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT MEETING IN THE MIDDLE.

NOW, THOSE THAT ARE NOT IN TERMS OF DOING THE OPEN ACTIVITIES, BUT WEARING THE MASKS AND DOING THE SOCIAL DISTANCING, I THINK THAT'S NOT HAPPENING BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE GETTING CONFLICTING MESSAGES.

THEY DON'T THINK THAT IT'S, THEY'RE WATCHING THE MESSAGES COMING FROM THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT THAT ARE WATCHING WHAT HAS BECOME ALL TOO POLITICIZED DISCUSSION ABOUT THE VIRUS.

AND IT'S HARD TO PUSH ALL OF THAT POLITICS AWAY AND OSI ACTUALLY PRETTY SIMPLE, WHOEVER A FACE COVERING IT INCREASES THE CHANCES YOU WON'T GIVE THE VIRUS TO SOMEONE ELSE THAT PEOPLE WERE FACE COVERINGS AROUND.

YOU RESIST THE CHANCE.

I'LL GIVE IT TO YOU.

YOU CAN STILL DO THE REOPENING, JUST WEAR THE FACE.

IT'S PRETTY SIMPLE.

AND, AND, AND I THINK AREN'T DOING IT BECAUSE, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT CONVINCED THAT IT'S NECESSARY, BUT IT IS FUCK SEVEN ASKS.

ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO PLACE HOSPITAL TENTS IN PARTS OF THE COUNTY IF EVER NEEDED? WE DO HAVE A MEDICAL SURGE PLAN, UH, THAT WE HAVE, UH, AND THIS IS SOMETHING I'M SO GRATEFUL TO THIS COMMUNITY FOR BY FLATTENING THE CURVE EARLY ON IN THE PROGRESS OF COVID-19.

IT GAVE US THE TIME NECESSARY TO PUT TOGETHER, UH, THE MEDICAL SURGE PLAN AND TO IDENTIFY ALL THE RESOURCES, THE LOCATIONS AND THE PERSONNEL NECESSARY.

SO YES, WE DO HAVE PLANS IN PLACE, AND WE CONTINUE TO WORK IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR MAJOR HOSPITALS, UH, AND, UH, ALL OF OUR, UH, PROVIDER NETWORK TO ENSURE THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO SURGE BEYOND THE HOSPITAL, THE HOSPITAL'S REGULAR CAPACITY WHEN THAT TIME COMES, UH, GIVEN THE TRAJECTORY THAT WE'RE CURRENTLY ON.

UH, WE, WE DO, I, I WILL, I WILL JUST SPEAK FOR MYSELF AND WE'LL, YOU'LL HEAR FROM THE DOCTOR, BUT I THINK THE PROBABILITY IS THAT WE DO, UH, UH, WE WILL NEED CAPACITY BEYOND OUR REGULAR HOSPITAL CAPACITY AT SOME POINT, UH, PROBABLY, UM, THIS SUMMER.

YEAH, R W AGAIN, AS, AS, UH, UH, SARAH JUST SAID, WE'VE GOT PLANS, UH, WE'VE GOT PLANS TO SURGE WITHIN THE WALLS OF THE HOSPITALS.

SO DOUBLING UP ON, ON, UH, ON BEDS, IF IT'S A SINGLE OCCUPANCY ROOM, MAKING IT DOUBLE OCCUPANCY, UH, EXTENT, UH, EXPANDING TO NONCLINICAL AREAS WITHIN THE HOSPITALS, AND THEN EXPANDING OUTSIDE THE WALLS OF THE HOSPITALS TO OTHER LOCATIONS.

UM,

[00:45:02]

IT'S A PLAN.

WE HAVE A PLAN, UH, YOU KNOW, WE'VE, WE'VE PREPARED TO EXERCISE THOSE PLANS AND IMPLEMENT THOSE PLANS.

UH, BUT THOSE ARE NOT PLANS THAT WE EVER WANT TO, TO IMPLEMENT, UH, BECAUSE YOU CAN IMAGINE YOU CAN'T CARE FOR SOMEBODY AS WELL IN THE CAFETERIA OF THE HOSPITAL, AS YOU CAN IN AN ACTUAL HOSPITAL BED, IN A HOSPITAL ROOM WITH AUCTION SUPPLIES AND NURSING STAFF AND SO FORTH.

UM, YOU KNOW, THE, THE, THE STATE'S PLAN IS, IS A REASONABLE PLAN.

UM, IT CALLS FOR THE SIMILAR STEPS THAT WE'VE BEEN PREPARING FOR FOR QUITE SOME TIME.

BUT THE CHALLENGE IS THAT SEARCH PLANS TEND TO WORK.

IF ONE JURISDICTION IS EXPERIENCING SURGE, BUT THEY TEND TO FAIL.

IF AUSTIN IS SURGING AND DALLAS IS SURGING IN SAN ANTONIO'S AND SURGING, AND HOUSTON IS SURGING ALL AT THE SAME TIME, UH, BECAUSE THERE SIMPLY ARE NOT ENOUGH RESOURCES AND THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE TO STAFF THOSE BEDS.

AND THIS IS WHY WE NEED PEOPLE TO, TO REALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

WE NEED THEM TO ACT, WE NEED THEM TO MODIFY THEIR BEHAVIOR AGAIN, UH, SO THAT WE CAN PREVENT THAT FROM HAPPENING.

UH, WE WILL HANDLE IT AND WE WILL TAKE CARE OF IT.

WE WILL, WE WILL LOOK AFTER PEOPLE.

WE WILL CARE FOR PEOPLE, UH, BUT WE WANT THAT TO BE IN THE IDEAL SITUATION WHERE WE HAVE ENOUGH RESOURCES FOR THEM, ENOUGH PERSONNEL TO TAKE GOOD CARE OF THEM.

AND, UH, WE'RE HOPEFUL THAT THE COMMUNITY WILL BE ENGAGED IN THIS MISSION WITH US TOGETHER TO FLATTEN THE CURVE.

AGAIN, LIKE WE DID SELL WELL IN MARCH AND APRIL UNIVISION IS ASKING, WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE FORUM THIS PAST WEEKEND GEARED TOWARDS THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY? HOW WILL THE CITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS BETTER ASSIST AND OUTREACH TO THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY? PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED? I THINK WE LEARNED A LOT THIS WEEKEND.

UM, UM, NOT ONLY FROM, FROM, FROM THAT FORUM, BUT FROM ALL THE CONVERSATIONS THAT ARE HAPPENING.

UH, WE KNOW THAT THE LATIN X POPULATION IS ONE THAT WE NEED TO FOCUS.

WE KNOW THAT, UH, THE, THE WAYS THAT WE'VE BEEN COMMUNICATING TO THAT COMMUNITY, I HAVE NOT GOTTEN TO EVERYONE.

WE KNOW THAT WE NEED ADDITIONAL TOOLS.

WE, UH, ADDITIONAL WAYS FOR, FOR PEOPLE TO BE ABLE TO ISOLATE, UH, PERHAPS IN FACILITIES, IF THEY CAN'T ISOLATE IT, WE, WE NEED, NO, WE NEED TO DO A BETTER JOB OF GETTING PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT, UH, INTO THOSE HOMES, UH, TO, TO HELP PEOPLE, UH, BETTER, BETTER ISOLATE, UH, FROM, FROM FAMILIES.

UH, IF THEY'RE NOT ABLE TO ISOLATE OTHERWISE, WE KNOW WE HAVE TO DO A BETTER JOB OF GETTING THE MESSAGE TO, WE KNOW WE HAVE TO DO A BETTER JOB OF GETTING A TRUSTED MESSAGE, UH, TO THE COMMUNITY WHERE THE COMMUNITY, HEARING IT MEMBERS HEARING IT, UH, DON'T FEEL LIKE THEY'RE AT RISK, UH, THIS COMMUNITY BECAUSE OF A SUSCEPTIBILITY BECAUSE OF THE NUMBERS IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST PRIORITIES IN THE CITY RIGHT NOW.

AND THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS THAT WE'RE DOING NOW AND FOLLOW UP TO THAT, UH, ASSOCIATED WITH AN OVERALL STRATEGY, UH, FOR, FOR, FOR TACKLING THIS OUTBREAK IN PARTICULAR, THE NEXT QUOTE, THE NEXT QUESTION IS FROM COOPERATIVE, WHAT INSIGHTS ON INFECTED INDIVIDUALS BEHAVIORS ARE YOU GAINING THROUGH HOSPITAL ADMISSION INTERVIEWS? HOW ARE THOSE INSIGHTS INFORMING RISK-BASED GUIDANCE TO RESIDENTS, EMPLOYERS, AND BUSINESSES? UH, SO AGAIN, OUR, OUR, OUR TEAMS ARE WORKING ON THE CONTACT TRACING IN THE CLUSTER INVESTIGATIONS PIECE.

UH, YOU KNOW, I THINK RIGHT NOW WE'RE, WE ARE SAFE STILL SAYING FOLKS THAT THAT MAY NOT HAVE BEEN AWARE OF ALL THE SYMPTOMS OF, OF COVID-19 AND, AND THEREFORE, UH, MAY HAVE GONE TO WORK OR, UH, TO OTHER SOCIAL GATHERINGS DESPITE HAVING SYMPTOMS. AND SO IT'S, IT'S IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW THAT FOLKS REMEMBER THAT, THAT IT'S NOT JUST FEVER AND COUGH.

LIKE WE TALKED ABOUT BACK IN FEBRUARY AND MARCH, IT'S ALL SORTS OF OTHER SYMPTOMS AS WELL.

IT'S NAUSEA, IT'S VOMITING, IT'S CHILLS, IT'S MUSCLE ACHES, IT'S CHANGE IN SMELL AND TASTE.

IT'S IT'S DIARRHEA.

THERE ARE MANY, MANY SYMPTOMS NOW, AND THAT'S WHY ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL FACTORS IN THAT, IN THAT PERSONAL HYGIENE

[00:50:01]

GUIDANCE THAT WE PROVIDE IS TO STAY HOME.

IF YOU'RE SICK, IF YOU HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS THAT COULD BE ASSOCIATED WITH COVID-19 STAY HOME, GO TO OUR WEBSITE AND SCHEDULE A TEST.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE ARE ALSO SAYING SOME INCREASED CONCERNS FROM, FROM THOSE WHO WERE CONTACTING, UH, WHO ARE HESITANT TO SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT WHERE THEY WORK OR WHERE BEEN, UH, I THINK TO SOME EXTENT, THERE, THERE MAY BE SOME SHAME THAT'S INVOLVED.

UH, I THINK PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED THAT THEY MAY HAVE, UH, EXPOSED OTHERS.

AND I WANT TO BE VERY CLEAR THAT THAT WILL LINK TO THOSE CASE INVESTIGATIONS.

IF WE LEARN OR GET A LIST OF AN INDIVIDUAL OF, OF FOLKS THAT THEY'VE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH, WE NEVER EVER SAY THAT PERSON'S NAME.

WE SIMPLY SAY YOU WERE EXPOSED TO COVID-19 AND YOU NEED TO GET TESTED, AND YOU NEED TO ISOLATE YOURSELF.

UH, IT'S ANONYMOUS INFORMATION, JUST LIKE WITH OUR HIV INVESTIGATIONS ARE SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES, INVESTIGATIONS, AND EVERY OTHER PUBLIC HEALTH INVESTIGATION, PEOPLE SHOULD FEEL VERY SAFE THAT THE INFORMATION IS SECURE, THAT IT STAYS WITHIN PUBLIC HEALTH AND IS NOT SHARED WITH ANYBODY ELSE.

OH, GO AHEAD.

I'M SORRY.

WERE YOU ABOUT TO SAY THAT WAS OUR LAST QUESTION.

OKAY.

THAT IS OUR LAST QUESTION.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ANSWERING ALL OF THESE QUESTIONS.

I KNOW WE HAVE A MILLION MORE, BUT WE'LL HAVE TO BE ON ANOTHER DAY.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU, EVERYONE.

BE SAFE.

STAY COVERED TO STAY OPEN.

WELL TO REHAB THIS HOME, WE CAN BOUNCE OFF THE TWO STEPS.

.

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