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[COVID-19: Press Q & A]

[00:00:07]

GOOD MORNING.

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

AND I AM THE MODERATOR FOR TODAY'S IMMEDIATE AVAILABILITY.

SPANISH INTERPRETATION OF THIS MEDIA AVAILABILITY IS ON ATX N THREE TO START AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ADRIAN STIRRUP WILL FIRST SAY A FEW WORDS FOLLOWED BY DR.

MARK S. SCOTT, INTERIM AUSTIN, TRAVIS COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY, THEN AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH'S CHIEF EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET PICHET.

AND THEN WE'LL OPEN IT UP TO THE POOL REPORTER WHO WILL ASK QUESTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE MEDIA, ADRIAN, OVER TO YOU.

GOOD MORNING.

IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE WITH EVERYONE TODAY.

I'M REPRESENTING, UH, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH AND OUR DIRECTOR, STEPHANIE HAYDEN, A FEW UPDATES FROM OUR STANDPOINT IS THAT WE WANT TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT WE'RE NOW OFFERING TESTING OUT OUR LITTLE ONE TAGLESS WEBSITE, WHICH DOES OUR FORMER MONTOPOLIS REC CENTER.

AND WE ARE ALSO SUPPORTING OUR COMMUNITY, BUT HOSTING A VARIETY OF A VARIETY OF COMMUNITY DISTRIBUTION EVENTS.

UM, THERE'S ONE GOING ON RIGHT NOW.

UM, BUT TOMORROW, IF YOU ARE OUT AND ABOUT, AND YOU NEED A FACE MASK OR SOME HAND SANITIZER, UM, YOU CAN SEE US AT THE MANOR CITY HALL FROM NINE TO 11.

AND THEN ON SATURDAY, WE WILL BE AT THE TRAVIS COUNTY COMMUNITY CENTER FROM NINE UNTIL 11, UH, PPE PACKETS CONSISTS OF FOUR MASKS WITH ONE TROUBLE HANSEN AT TIMES, AND A LARGER 32 OUNCE FAMILY SIZED BOTTLE.

THANK YOU.

THANKS ADRIAN.

I'M GOING TO SHARE SOME SLIDES TODAY.

IF YOU COULD JUST GIVE ME A MOMENT TO GET THOSE UP ON THE SCREEN.

I WANT TO FIRST TALK ABOUT, UH, OUR, OUR CASE NUMBERS AND THEN OUR HOSPITAL WAS THE NATIONS.

UH, SO TO CLARIFY THE, THE REMARKS THAT I MADE IN, IN COMMISSIONER'S COURT YESTERDAY, WHAT WE'RE SEEING RIGHT NOW IS A 50% INCREASE BETWEEN SEPTEMBER THE FIRST AND SEPTEMBER THE 21ST, UH, IN OUR MOVING AVERAGE, OUR NEW CASES, UH, YOU CAN SEE FROM THE GRAPH THAT THERE HAS BEEN A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN, IN THAT MAKES US CONCERNED RIGHT NOW OVER THE PAST WEEK OR SO, WE'VE SEEN SOME OSCILLATION UP AND DOWN, UH, IN THAT MOVING AVERAGE DAY TO DAY, BUT I'LL TALK A LITTLE BIT LATER ABOUT WHY THIS IS CONCERNING FOR US AT THIS STAGE IN THE PANDEMIC.

UH, THIS SLIDE IS SHOWING OUR NEW ADMISSIONS AND, UH, AGAIN, UH, OUR ADMISSIONS HAVE BEEN DECREASING THE DOWN ABOUT 20% AS COMPARED TO SEPTEMBER 1ST.

UH, SO THAT PLACES, IF IN A GOOD SITUATION, IN TERMS OF OUR STAGES OF RISK, WE'RE STILL AT STAGE THREE OF, OF RISK.

AND WE WANT TO GET BELOW A 10 ADMISSIONS ON THAT SEVEN DAY, MOVING AVERAGE TO MOVE TO STAGE TWO, IN TERMS OF OUR HOSPITAL BEDS UTILIZED ARE THE BLUE LINE IS SHOWING US THE SEVEN DAY MOVING AVERAGE OF HOSPITAL BEDS OCCUPIED.

THAT'S DECREASED BY 45% SINCE SEPTEMBER THE FIRST, THE ICU BEDS IN ORANGE HAVE DECREASED BY 45%.

AND THE VENTILATORS BEING USED HAVE DECREASED 56% SINCE THE BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER.

AGAIN, OUR HOSPITALS ARE IN VERY GOOD, UH, IN A VERY GOOD SITUATION RIGHT NOW.

THERE'S PLENTY OF ROOM FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE IN NEED OF HEALTHCARE.

AND, UH, YOU KNOW, WE WANT TO REMIND FOLKS IF THEY'VE BEEN PUTTING OFF CARE, PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS, ELECTIVE PROCEDURES, UH, OR IMMUNIZATIONS FOR CERTAIN THAT NOW'S THE TIME TO GO GET THOSE THINGS TAKEN CARE OF.

UH, WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT PEOPLE DELAYING TOO LONG IN TERMS OF THESE PREVENTATIVE, UH, MEASURES, UH, WHICH MAY HAVE A FURTHER HEALTH CONSEQUENCES DOWN THE ROAD.

SO, YOU KNOW, I'VE BEEN TALKING TO PEOPLE RECENTLY AND, YOU KNOW, MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY HAVE, YOU KNOW, HAVE EXPRESSED SOME CONCERN ABOUT, ABOUT OUR CASES.

THEY WERE ENGAGED IN THIS DISCUSSION ABOUT PREVENTING HOSPITALS BEING OVERFILLED AND NOT BEING ABLE TO PROVIDE CARE FOR FOLKS.

AND I FACED THE CREST QUESTION RECENTLY, WHY, WHY IS THIS A CONCERN RIGHT NOW? WHY DO I NEED TO BE ENGAGED RIGHT NOW? THE HOSPITALS ARE DOING WELL, THE CASE NUMBERS ARE DOING OKAY.

UH, AND I WANT TO SHARE THIS SCREEN WITH YOU TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF HOW QUICKLY THINGS CAN CHANGE.

UH, SO YESTERDAY OR ON THE 21ST, WE WERE AT ABOUT 117 CASES ON THAT SEVEN DAY, MOVING AVERAGE, TO GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT THIS LOOK LIKE BACK IN JUNE,

[00:05:01]

ON JUNE 14TH, WE HAD 121 CASES.

ONE WEEK LATER, IT HAD MORE THAN DOUBLED TO 250 CASES ON THAT SEVEN DAY, MOVING AVERAGE, A WEEK LATER, 394 CASES.

AND THEN FIVE DAYS AFTER THAT, UH, 558 CASES.

UH, SO THIS THING CAN CHANGE VERY QUICKLY AND THIS IS WHY WE HAVE TO CONTINUE THE CAUTION.

WE HAVE TO CONTINUE OUR CONCERN, PARTICULARLY WHEN WE SEE CHANGES IN THE, THE SLOPE OF THESE CURVES TO ENSURE THAT WE ARE DOING ENOUGH AND THAT, UH, THAT WE ARE STAYING SAFE TO AVOID THIS EXPONENTIAL GROWTH IN CASES THAT WE SAW BACK IN JUNE, THAT PUT US IN A CRITICAL SITUATION BY THE BEGINNING OF JULY.

ALSO WANT TO POINT OUT THIS SLIDE.

THIS IS A SLIDE OF OUR EPI CURVE, WHICH IS AVAILABLE ON OUR MAIN WEBSITE, AND THIS IS SHOWING US THE DISEASE ONSET BY DAY.

AND I WANT TO POINT OUT ONE THING HERE, AND THAT'S A ON SEPTEMBER OR CORRECTION ON JULY.

THE THIRD, THE GOVERNOR'S FACE MASKING MANDATE WENT INTO EFFECT.

WE CAN SEE THAT ALMOST EXACTLY TWO WEEKS LATER, THERE WAS A SUBSTANTIAL DROP IN THE NUMBER OF NEW CASES, UH, STARTING OUT HAVING SYMPTOMS THAT DAY, UH, THE CASES FELL OFF A CLIFF AFTER THIS MANDATE.

AND I'LL TELL YOU THAT, THAT, YOU KNOW, I, I KNOW THERE'S A LOT OF PARTISAN FIGHTING RIGHT NOW ABOUT MASKING AND THE MASKING MANDATE.

I WILL SAY THAT THIS POLICY CHANGED FROM THE GOVERNOR HAD THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL IMPACT OF ANY POLICY THAT WE'VE SEEN THROUGHOUT THIS PANDEMIC.

AND CERTAINLY I WANT TO RECOGNIZE OUR CITY COUNCIL OR MAYOR OR COUNTY JUDGE AND OUR COMMISSIONER'S COURT WHO ADVOCATED FOR THIS MANDATE.

UH, IT IS, IT WAS ESSENTIAL FOR US TO REALLY BEND THE CURVE AND FLATTEN THE CURVE AS EFFECTIVELY AND AS QUICKLY AS WE DID.

AND FINALLY, AGAIN, WE'RE IN STAGE THREE OF RISK, AND THAT MEANS PEOPLE NEED TO MAINTAIN THEIR CAUTION.

THEY NEED TO MAINTAIN THEIR MASKING.

THEY NEED TO MAINTAIN THEIR SOCIAL DISTANCING.

THEY NEED TO MAINTAIN THEIR HAND HYGIENE.

AND IN PARTICULAR, THEY NEED TO STAY HOME.

IF THEY'RE SICK AND GET TESTED FOR COVID-19, WE ARE ALLOWING MORE PEOPLE IN THE RESTAURANTS NOW THROUGH THE GOVERNOR'S ORDER, BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT RESTAURANTS OR ARE COMPLETELY SAFE.

PEOPLE HAVE TO USE THE SAME JUDGMENT.

IF THE RESTAURANTS ARE CROWDED, THEY NEED TO AVOID THEM.

IF RESTAURANTS ARE NOT ABIDING BY THE RESTRICTIONS, WHICH ARE STILL IN PLACE OF SIX FOOT OF DISTANCING BETWEEN TABLES, THEY NEED TO AVOID THOSE RESTAURANTS AND THEY NEED TO REPORT THOSE TO THREE, ONE ONE.

IF WE CONTINUE THIS EFFORT AT MITIGATING RISK, AS WE HAVE OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS, WE'RE GOING TO BE IN A GOOD SHAPE TO KEEP OUR SCHOOLS OPEN AND HOPEFULLY OPEN THEM FURTHER AS WE GET INTO STAGE TWO WITHOUT ALTERNATE, OVER TO JANET PUSHUP.

GOOD MORNING.

UH, I JUST WANTED TO ADD ON TO WHAT DR.

S SCOTT WAS SAYING, AND IN THAT, UM, IF WE NEED, WE MAINTAIN OUR, UH, PREVENTATIVE MEASURES TO, UH, WARING MASS SOCIAL DISTANCING, MAKING SURE YOU'RE WASHING YOUR HANDS AND AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE.

I THINK WE, UH, SET OURSELF UP TO BE IN A GOOD POSITION AS WE ENTER POLICE SEASON, UM, ALONG WITH COVID BEING THERE, UH, THIS YEAR.

SO THIS WILL BE A, UH, A FIRST FOR US WHERE WE HAVE, UH, TWO EPIDEMICS OCCURRING AT THE SAME TIME.

UM, SO HOPEFULLY ONE WILL, UH, PROTECT US FROM THE OTHER.

UM, WE ARE ABOUT ONE WEEK OUT FROM FLU SEASON, OFFICIALLY STARTING.

IT ACTUALLY STARTS ON OCTOBER 1ST, AND I WANT TO REMIND PEOPLE TO GET THEIR FLU SHOTS.

UH, YOU CAN REACH OUT TO YOUR PHYSICIAN, A LOCAL PHARMACY OR, UH, YOUR EMPLOYER TO DETERMINE IF THEY HAVE FLU VACCINE AVAILABLE.

NOW'S THE PERFECT TIME TO GET IT.

I, MYSELF WENT AND GOT MY FLU SHOT A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, AND, UM, I S I'M STAND READY FOR THE FLU SEASON.

OUR AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH STAFF HERE, UH, CONTINUE TO BE ON THE READY SO THAT WE CAN FACE WHAT MAY COME DOWN THE ROAD FOR US.

SO WHEN FLU SEASON BEGINS, UH, IN THE MIDST OF A COVID PANDEMIC.

SO WITH THAT, I'LL, I'LL TURN IT OVER TO THE MODERATOR.

UM, SO WE CAN BEGIN OUR PRESS CONFERENCE.

THANK YOU FOR THAT NOW TO OUR POOL REPORTER RYAN GOOD

[00:10:01]

MORNING.

THE FIRST QUESTION WILL BE FROM US AT THE AMERICAN STATES.

NEW STATE DATA SHOWS AN UPWARD TREND IN SCHOOL CORONAVIRUS CASES AMONG STUDENTS AND STAFF.

WHAT CHANGES DOES DR.

S SCOTT EXPECT TO SEE ONCE AUSTIN ISD REOPENS IN TWO WEEKS AND OTHER DISTRICTS ADD MORE STUDENTS TO THEIR ATTENDANCE ROLES? SECONDLY, WHAT IMPACT WILL THE REOPENING OF SCHOOLS HAVE ON CENTRAL TEXAS AS A WHOLE? THANK YOU FOR THE QUESTION.

UH, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT THAT IT'S EXPECTED THAT AS SCHOOLS OPEN CASES ARE GOING TO INCREASE, UM, YOU KNOW, THE SCHOOLS HAVE BEEN CLOSED FOR A LONG TIME, WHICH IS WHY WE HAVEN'T SEEN, UH, MANY CASES OF, OF SCHOOL RELATED, UH, COVID-19 OVER, OVER THE SUMMER MONTHS.

AND CERTAINLY, UH, UH, IN LATE SPRING, WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO SEE CASES, UH, AGAIN, AS, AS WHAT YOU SAID AS THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES, UH, REVIEW HAS SAID, AS THE CDC HAS SAID, WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO COMPLETELY AVOID CASES IN THE SCHOOL SETTING.

THE PRIORITY IS TO AVOID LARGE OUTBREAKS.

SO IF WE CAN LIMIT THESE TO SMALL CLUSTERS OF A FEW CASES, THEN I THINK THAT WILL BE A SUCCESS IN TERMS OF, UH, OF, OF OUR SCHOOL STRATEGIES.

I WANT TO REMIND EVERYBODY THAT, THAT THE CASES THAT WE'RE SEEING IN SCHOOLS RIGHT NOW HAVE ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY ARE PERHAPS EXCLUSIVELY BEEN IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES.

THEY'VE BEEN IN BAND, THEY'VE BEEN IN CHEERLEADING, THEY'VE BEEN IN FOOTBALL, THEY'VE BEEN IN SWIM TEAMS. THEY'VE BEEN IN A CONGREGATE SETTING, UH, IN THE COLLEGE STUDENTS.

WE'VE SEEN LOTS OF TRANSMISSION IN SETTINGS IN PARTIES AND OTHER GATHERINGS.

SO AS OUR, OUR SCHOOL CHILDREN CONTINUE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL, AS AISD OPENS THEIR DOORS FOR IN-PERSON EDUCATION, IT'S CRITICAL THAT THOSE STUDENTS ABIDE BY THOSE PROTECTIVE MEASURES THAT THEY'RE MASKING THEIR SOCIAL, DISTANCING, THEIR AVOID TOUCHING THEIR FACE AND WASHING THEIR HANDS OFTEN.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE WERE, UH, WE ARE CONTINUING TO WORK WITH OUR SUPERINTENDENTS ACROSS TRAVIS COUNTY TO ENSURE THAT WE HAVE, UH, ACCURATE INFORMATION THAT THEY ARE, UH, INVOLVED IN IDENTIFYING CLOSE CONTACT SO THAT WE CAN EXCLUDE THOSE FROM SCHOOLS SO THAT WE CAN LIMIT THE SPREAD OF DISEASE.

UH, AND WE WON'T HAVE A, A SUSTAINED OUTBREAK AND THEY USE, UH, IN THESE SCHOOLS, UH, IT'S, IT'S GOING TO BE A VERY CRITICAL TIME ALSO THAT THOSE STUDENTS, WHEN THEY'RE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM SETTING, DON'T ENGAGE IN RISKY BEHAVIOR.

UH, AND THAT INCLUDES SOCIAL GATHERINGS THAT INCLUDES EATING WITHOUT A MASK FACE TO FACE WITH PEOPLE OUTSIDE THEIR HOUSEHOLD.

AND I WOULD JUST LIKE TO ADD THAT HISTORICALLY, UH, WE WOULD ANTICIPATE AN UPTICK OCCURRING WHEN SCHOOL STARTED AND, UH, DURING, AND I MENTIONED THIS BEFORE IN 2009, UH, DURING H ONE N ONE, WE DID SEE AN UPTICK IN CASES WHEN SCHOOL REOPEN.

SO WHAT'S GOING TO BE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT IS WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOU GO BACK TO SCHOOL.

AS DOCTOR, AS SCOTT MENTIONED, YOU NEED TO BE MAKING SURE THAT YOU ARE PROTECTING YOURSELF AND PROTECTING YOUR FAMILY BY WEARING YOUR MATH, SOCIAL, DISTANCING, AND DOING THOSE ACTIVITIES THAT WILL PREVENT, UH, YOUR EXPOSURE RISKS.

UH, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, WE WANT TO GET TO, IF PEOPLE ARE TAKING THOSE MEASURES AND FOLLOWING THEM, UH, WE STAND A BETTER CHANCE OF COMING OUT OF, UH, THAT UPTICK, UM, AND HOPEFULLY, HOPEFULLY FLATTENING ANY CURVE THAT MIGHT, UH, TAKE PLACE AS A RESULT OF THAT.

THANK YOU FROM DR.

S SCOTT SAID YESTERDAY THAT MORE THAN HALF OF NEW CASES REPORTED LAST WEEK WERE IN THE 10 TO 29 AGE GROUP HAVE CONTACT TRACING EFFORTS FOR THOSE CASES BEEN SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE APH FEEL THAT THOSE CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS ARE ABLE TO MINIMIZE THEIR RISKS TO OTHERS WHO MAY BE AT HIGHER RISK.

UM, I WOULD SAY, YES, WE DO HAVE, AGAIN, AS I MENTIONED LAST WEEK, UH, SEVERAL DIFFERENT STRIKE TEAMS THAT ARE FOCUSED ON, UH, INVESTIGATING IN CERTAIN TYPES OF SETTING SCHOOLS ARE ONE OF THOSE SETTINGS.

SO WE HAVE A TEAM OF NURSES AND EPIDEMIOLOGISTS WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE

[00:15:01]

FOR WORKING WITH THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO, UH, ENSURE THAT, UH, THEY ARE CONTACT TRACING.

HOWEVER, CONTACT TRACING IS ONLY AS GOOD AS, UH, PEOPLE BEING RESPONSIVE AND, UM, YOU KNOW, WILLING TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO THE CASE INVESTIGATOR WHO'S FOLLOWING UP AGAIN, OUR PURPOSE FOR DOING CONTACT TRACING IS SO WE CAN IDENTIFY, UH, EXPOSURE, RISKS, AND TRY TO MINIMIZE THOSE EXPOSURE RISKS, UH, TO THE GENERAL POPULATION AND MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE ARE GETTING TESTED AND STAYING ISOLATED IF THEY ARE ILL.

HOWEVER, WE DO HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE RELUCTANT TO WORK OR FOLLOW UP.

WE, WE MAKE CALLS AND PEOPLE DON'T OFTEN, UM, ANSWER THE TELEPHONE.

AND SO WE'RE NOT ABLE TO, UH, COMPLETE A CASE INVESTIGATION AND A SUBSEQUENT CONTACT TRACING.

SO IT'S IMPORTANT FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS TO PARTICIPATE AND BE WILLING TO SUPPORT PUBLIC HEALTH EFFORTS TO REDUCE TRANSMISSION RISKS.

NEXT QUESTION IS FROM KENYA.

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THE FIELD HOSPITAL? WOULD YOU CONSIDER USING IT TO TREAT PEOPLE DEALING WITH THE FLU IF HOSPITALIZATIONS INCREASE IN THE COMING MONTHS? UH, OUR ALTERNATE CARE SIDE OF THE CONVENTION CENTER, UH, STANDS IN A COMMODE, WHICH IS READY TO TAKE PATIENTS.

IF WE GET INDICATIONS THAT WE NEED TO DO THAT, UH, IT WILL TAKE A WEEK OR SO FOR US TO GET PEOPLE IN THERE AND GET ADDITIONAL SUPPLIES.

UH, BUT IT IS, IT ISN'T A WARM STATE RIGHT NOW.

AND YOU KNOW, WHAT KIND OF PATIENTS WE TAKE IN THERE IS, IS REALLY DEPENDENT UPON OUR, OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS AND WHAT THEIR NEEDS ARE.

AGAIN, WE INTEND TO, UH, UTILIZE THAT FACILITY TO TAKE CARE OF A LOW ACUITY INDIVIDUALS.

SO INDIVIDUALS WHO NEED MINIMAL CARE, INCLUDING OXYGEN AND, AND SOME, SOME MEDICATIONS, UH, WHERE THE MORE CRITICALLY ILL PATIENTS, THOSE WHO NEED AN ICU LEVEL CARE OR A VENTILATOR WILL BE FOCUSED IN THE HOSPITALS.

NOW, WE CERTAINLY HAVE FLEXIBILITY TO TAKE CARE OF INFLUENCE OF PATIENTS AT THAT FACILITY, IF NEEDED FROM UNIVISION, THE NUMBER OF CASES SEEM TO BE IMPROVING IN OUR AREA, BUT THE HISPANIC AND AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES CONTINUE TO BE THE HARDEST HIT AS THE TASK FORCE CHANGE ITS TACTICS, TACTICS, CONSIDERING THE NUMBERS, WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN DOING DIFFERENTLY? SO LET ME, I JUST WANT TO CLARIFY SOMETHING QUICKLY.

THE CASES ARE INCREASING.

THEY'VE INCREASED BY 50% SINCE SEPTEMBER 1ST, BUT THE HOSPITALIZATIONS HAVE DROPPED.

UH, AND WE ARE CONCERNED THAT, THAT THIS DISEASE CONTINUES TO DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACT OUR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

NOW I'LL TURN IT OVER TO, UH, TO ADRIAN FOR, UH, SOME FURTHER DETAILS ON, ON HOW WE'RE MODIFYING STRATEGIES TO, UH, ADDRESS THIS ISSUE IN THOSE POPULATIONS.

THANK YOU, DR.

ASCOT, UM, AS WITH ANY PUBLIC HEALTH INTERVENTION, WE ARE DATA-DRIVEN.

SO WE ARE CLOSELY WATCHING THE NUMBERS, UM, THE POSITIVITY RATES, THE HOSPITALIZATIONS, WHAT WE ALSO KNOW AS A FIRM, UH, A GOOD PUBLIC HEALTH APPROACH IS THAT WE DON'T ASSUME TO BE ABLE TO DO THIS ALONE.

AND SO THAT WE HAVE BEEN WORKING VERY PROACTIVELY WITH COMMUNITY PARTNERS AND BOTH THE HISPANIC, LATIN X POPULATIONS, AS WELL AS THE AFRICAN AMERICAN POPULATIONS TO REALLY COME TO THE TABLE AND FIGURE OUT, YOU KNOW, WHAT'S WORKING, WHAT'S NOT, WE'RE REALLY HAVING OUR EAR TO THE GROUND TO LISTEN.

WE KNOW THAT THE ONLY MITIGATION STRATEGY THAT WE HAVE UNTIL A SAFE VACCINE IS WIDELY AVAILABLE IS STRESSING THE IMPORTANCE OF THOSE THREE BEHAVIORS.

AND SO WE'RE WORKING ON THAT MESSAGING, MAKING SURE THAT IT'S CULTURALLY RELEVANT AND COMPETENT.

UM, WE ARE HAVING THE DISTRIBUTION EVENTS SO THAT WE CAN PROVIDE PEOPLE WITH THE RESOURCES THAT THEY NEED TO PRACTICE THOSE BEHAVIORS VERY SAFELY.

AND, UH, YOU KNOW, IT'S JUST A MATTER OF THIS ENGAGEMENT.

WE, WE KNOW THAT THESE COMMUNITIES ARE ALREADY AT RISK BECAUSE OF THE UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS THAT, UM, ALSO AFFECT THEM TOO.

UM, IT HAS PROPORTIONATELY AND SO AWESOME.

PUBLIC HEALTH IS ALREADY SET UP IN A WAY THAT WE ARE PREPARED TO HAVE THAT COMMUNITY BASED RESPONSE.

AND WE'RE OVERLAYING THAT STRATEGY WITH RESPECT TO COVEN FROM COOPERATIVE, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE REPORTS THAT STATE PUBLIC HEALTH FUNDING HAS NOT KEPT PACE WITH THE STATE'S POPULATION YOU WROTE, HOW IS APH PREFERRED ESCALATE TO CONTINUE THE FIGHT AGAINST THE VIRUS,

[00:20:02]

THROUGH WHAT IS PROJECTED TO BE POTENTIALLY ANOTHER YEAR AND DELIVER THE VACCINE.

I'LL GO AHEAD AND MARK, LET ME START BY SAYING, AND WE'VE HAD THIS DISCUSSION FOR FOUR MONTHS NOW.

UH, PUBLIC HEALTH FUNDING IN THIS COUNTRY IS, IS SHAMEFUL.

UH, WE'VE DONE A POOR JOB AS A COUNTRY IN FOCUSING ON THE IMPORTANCE OF, OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND PREVENTION, AND ALSO BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE NECESSARY TO DEAL WITH SITUATIONS LIKE THIS.

THERE ARE MANY ASIAN COUNTRIES WHO, WHO ARE WELL IN ADVANCE OF US IN TERMS OF THEIR PREPAREDNESS FOR THESE EVENTS.

UM, YOU KNOW, TEXAS RANKS 40TH IN TERMS OF PUBLIC HEALTH FUNDING, WHICH IS NOT A RANK THAT WE'RE PROUD OF.

AND I THINK AS WE LOOK FORWARD, UH, IN THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION IN THE STATE, AND CERTAINLY TO OUR, OUR FEDERAL COUNTERPARTS, WE DO HAVE TO SORT OUT HOW WE CAN BETTER ADDRESS THE, THE CURRENT AND ONGOING FUNDING NEEDS, UH, TO MANAGE THIS RESPONSE AS WELL AS THE FUTURE NEEDS OF PUBLIC HEALTH.

AND I WOULD JUST ADD ON THAT, UM, YOU KNOW, THERE HAVE BEEN EFFORTS BY THE STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENT, UH, WE'VE RECEIVED FUNDING FOR PUBLIC HEALTH, UH, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS, AS WELL AS FOR COVID RESPONSE TO FOCUS SPECIFICALLY, UH, ON RESPONDING TO THIS EVENT, UH, THAT FUNDING HAS ALLOWED US TO, UM, HIRE SOME NEW, UM, EPIDEMIOLOGISTS AND, AND OTHER SUPPORT STAFF THAT HAVE BEEN KEY.

AND, AND THESE ARE THE INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE MAKING UP SOME OF THESE CLUSTER STRIKE TEAMS THAT ARE IN PLACE FOR NURSING HOMES, SCHOOLS, AND HIGHER EDUCATION.

UH, WE WERE VERY FORTUNATE THROUGH THIS BUDGET CYCLE AS WELL, TO RECEIVE FOUR ADDITIONAL EPIDEMIOLOGIST POSITIONS THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE TO US OCTOBER ONE AS, AND IT WILL REALLY BE INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING US, UH, UH, PROCEED THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, UM, WITH, UH, WITH COVID RESPONSE, SO THAT THAT'S CAN BE A VERY HELPFUL TO OUR STAFF AS WELL.

UH, AND THEN WE'VE ALSO BEEN USING SOME OF THE CARE'S FUNDING TO, UH, EITHER HIRE INDIVIDUALS TO DO DATA ENTRY AND, UH, EPIDEMIOLOGY RESPONSE, AS WELL AS THE POINT OF TESTING RESPONSE THAT'S TAKING PLACE.

UM, HOWEVER THAT FUNDING WILL END DECEMBER OF 2020, UH, SO IN A FEW MONTHS, AND, UH, WE WILL JUST NEED TO, UH, KIND OF REGROUP AT THAT POINT AND DETERMINE HOW WE MOVE FORWARD.

YOU CAN JUST, AND JUST TO ADD TO EVERYTHING THAT DR ESCHATON AND JANET HAVE ALREADY SAID, UM, I WANT TO SAY LOCALLY THAT THE CITY COUNCIL HAS BEEN VERY RESPONSIVE TO WHAT THE NEEDS ARE.

UM, THEY HAVE BEEN PROACTIVELY ASKING QUESTIONS OF STAFF, UM, TO KIND OF GET AN ASSESSMENT ON WHAT OUR NEEDS WILL BE.

AS THE PANDEMIC PROGRESSES, WE ENGAGED A NATIONAL CONSULTANT TO HELP THE DEPARTMENT, UH, CREATE A SUSTAINABILITY PLAN THAT NOT ONLY OUTLINES HOW WE WOULD MAINTAIN OPERATIONS, BUT WHAT ARE THE FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS WITH THAT? UM, SO THAT PLANNING IS ACTIVELY UNDERWAY FROM KX AM DR.

EXPRESSED A CONCERN THAT AS MANY AS 100 PEOPLE WOULD CONTRACT THE CORONAVIRUS AT UTS FIRST FOOTBALL GAME, 11 DAYS AFTER THE GAME, HOW MANY POSITIVE PACES HAVE YOU TRACED BACK TO IT? I'LL START THEN, UH, JAYDEN WILL PROBABLY WANT TO ANSWER AS WELL.

UH, THOSE, THOSE CASE INVESTIGATIONS AND CONTACT TRACING IS, IS STILL UNDER WAY, UH, AS SHE ALLUDED TO EARLIER, PART OF THAT PROCESS, LIKE A CRITICAL PART OF THAT PROCESS IS PEOPLE ANSWERING THE TELEPHONE AND BEING RESPONSIVE TO THE QUESTIONS BEING ASKED SUCH AS WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE PAST 14 DAYS, UH, WITHOUT THOSE TOOLS, IT'S GOING TO BE VERY CHALLENGING FOR US TO IDENTIFY AND TRACK GATE CASES BACK TO THE UT GAME OR ANY OTHER SOCIAL SITUATION.

UM, AND YOU KNOW, THAT THAT'S BEEN A STRUGGLE FOR US THROUGHOUT THIS PANDEMIC AND CONTINUES TO BE, UH, WE'RE, WE'RE CERTAINLY NOT LOOKING TO LAY BLAME ON INDIVIDUALS OR ENTITIES OR EVENTS, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO, TO MANAGE THE OUTBREAK AND TO CONTAIN IT, THAT FOLKS ANSWER THE PHONE

[00:25:01]

AND ARE RESPONSIVE TO THEIR QUESTIONS.

AND I WOULD AGREE.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, THE VERDICT IS STILL OUT AS FAR AS THE IMPACT OF THE UT GAME.

UM, AND AS DOCTOR S SCOTT MENTIONED, UH, YOU KNOW, WE REALLY NEED FOR PEOPLE WHO BECOME ILL, WHO MAY HAVE BEEN AT THE GAME TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CONTACT TRACING AND CASE INVESTIGATION, UH, TO HELP US IDENTIFY WHETHER THAT WAS A SOURCE OF EXPOSURE.

UM, I THINK ONE POSITIVE NOTE RELATED TO THE UT GAME IS THAT UT DID TAKE THE TIME TO, UH, TEST ALL THOSE, UH, STUDENTS THAT WERE ACTUALLY, UH, KIND OF CONSIDERED HIGH RISK, UH, GOING INTO THAT GAME BEFOREHAND.

SO HOPEFULLY THAT WILL ELIMINATE SOME OF THE TRANSMISSION RISKS THAT THAT MAY HAVE OCCURRED, UH, WITH, UH, PARTICIPANTS BEING IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH EACH OTHER AT THE GAME.

UM, SO, UH, THE VERDICT IS STILL OUT AS FAR AS, UH, WHAT THE RESULTS OF THAT WILL IDENTIFY FROM FACT SEVEN.

WHAT COULD A TWIN DEMEC AND AUSTIN LOOK LIKE, AND DO YOU FEAR THAT IS WHERE WE ARE HEADED? UH, THIS IS ANOTHER REWARD, WHICH IS UNIQUE TO THIS PANDEMIC.

AND, UH, WE'VE LEARNED LOTS OF NEW WORDS, UH, THIS YEAR, UNFORTUNATELY.

UH, SO THE TWIN DEMIC REFERS TO AN EPIDEMIC OF FLU IN THIS CIRCUMSTANCE.

AND COVID-19, UH, WE ARE VERY ABOUT THAT LAST YEAR WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR, OUR FLU SEASON AND THE IMPACT ON OUR HOSPITAL BEDS, UH, OUR ICU IS WE'RE AT ALMOST COMPLETE CAPACITY ACROSS THE FIVE COUNTY, UH, MSA.

AND OBVIOUSLY IF WE HAVE A REPEAT OF A BAD FLU SEASON THIS YEAR, THAT LEAVES LITTLE TO NO CAPACITY FOR COVID-19.

UH, THIS IS WHY IT'S CRITICALLY IMPORTANT FOR US TO MANAGE THE THING THAT WE CAN MANAGE VERY WELL BECAUSE WE HAVE A VACCINE AND THAT'S FLU.

UH, WE NEED PEOPLE TO GET THEIR FLU SHOT.

FLU SEASON STARTS IN A WEEK.

AND, UH, WE HAVE A FLU VACCINE, WHICH IS OUT THERE.

IT'S AVAILABLE AT PHARMACIES DOCTOR'S OFFICES, IT'S AVAILABLE BY SOME EMPLOYERS.

UH, FOLKS NEED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT.

UH, WE DO HAVE SOME INDICATIONS FROM THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE, INCLUDING AUSTRALIA, THAT, THAT THE MITIGATION EFFORTS MASKING SOCIAL DISTANCING AND, AND PERSONAL HYGIENE, PLUS THE FLU VACCINATION.

WASN'T VERY EFFECTIVE AT MITIGATING THAT RISK OF THAT SECOND PANDEMIC, UH, OF FLU.

WE NEED TO FOLLOW THE SAME STEPS.

WE NEED TO HAVE UNPRECEDENTED NUMBERS OF INDIVIDUALS VACCINATED FOR INFLUENZA, AND WE NEED THE MASK THING AND SOCIAL DISTANCING AND OTHER PROTECTIVE MEASURES TO CONTINUE.

OR STONEY ASKS HAS THE NUMBER OF LOANS, PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL CLUSTERS CHANGED AS OF LAST WEEK WHEN THERE WAS ONE SCHOOL WITH THREE CASES.

I'LL JUST MENTION THAT, UH, AGAIN, WE HAVE, UH, SCHOOLS REPORTING INFORMATION INTO BOTH THE STATE AND TO US ON A WEEKLY BASIS.

UH, IF THEY DO IDENTIFY CLUSTERS, THOSE ARE BEING INVESTIGATED, UH, AND WE'RE WORKING WITH THE SCHOOLS TO, UM, TO, UH, FOLLOW UP ON THOSE INVESTIGATIONS.

UM, BUT YOU KNOW, WE HEAR ANECDOTAL INFORMATION OR THINGS THAT ACTUALLY COME IN THROUGH OUR NURSES HOTLINE AND, AND WE FOLLOW UP, BUT, UH, TYPICALLY THEY REPORT OUT TO US ON FRIDAY, I BELIEVE.

SO.

UM, WE HAVEN'T MAYBE RECEIVED ALL OF THE INFORMATION FOR THE, THIS WEEK CURRENTLY.

I'LL ALSO ADD THE, UH, UH, THE LAST WEEK ON FRIDAY.

UH, I MENTIONED THAT WE HAD ABOUT FOUR DOZEN CASES RELATED TO, UH, PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SECONDARY SCHOOLS.

UH, AGAIN, WHEN WE LOOK AT OUR POSITIVITY RATE, UH, OUR RANK FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IS SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER THAN IT IS FOR THE REST OF THE POPULATION.

UH, AND AGAIN, THE CLUSTERS THAT WE'VE BEEN SEEING HAVE BEEN PRIMARILY ASSOCIATED WITH THOSE EXTRACURRICULAR OR SOCIAL EVENTS.

UH, WE DON'T HAVE ANY EVIDENCE NOW THAT THAT IN-PERSON CLASSROOMS ARE WHERE DISEASES SPREADING.

UH, IT'S WHEN PEOPLE ARE LETTING DOWN THEIR GUARD, IT'S WHEN THEY'RE IN SOCIAL ENVIRONMENTS, WHEN THEY'RE DINING OR HANGING OUT WITH FRIENDS, UH, IT'S WHEN THEY'RE INVOLVED IN EXTRACURRICULAR

[00:30:01]

ACTIVITIES WHERE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND MASKING IS NOT POSSIBLE, UH, WE'VE ENCOURAGED OUR SUPERINTENDENTS TO, UH, SHARE A MESSAGING WITH THOSE STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES THAT, UH, IF THEY'RE INVOLVED IN EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, SUCH AS BAND, CHEERLEADING, FOOTBALL, OR OTHER SPORTING EVENTS, WHERE MASKING IS NOT A PRACTICAL SOLUTION AND DISTANCING IS NOT A PRACTICAL SOLUTION, THAT THEY ENCOURAGE THEM TO GET TESTED, EVEN IF THEY'RE ASYMPTOMATIC, BECAUSE THEIR RISK IS HIGHER.

IF WE CAN DO THIS PRACTICE TESTING, UH, WE HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF IDENTIFYING THOSE CASES WHEN THEY'RE EARLY IN THEIR COURSE OF ILLNESS AND WE CAN STILL CONTAIN IT.

UH, SO IT DOESN'T SPREAD TO OTHER PEOPLE IN THAT AGE GROUP.

AND CERTAINLY PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE AGE GROUP, APH HAS ACCOMPLISHED MUCH IN THEIR FIGHT AGAINST THE PHYSICAL RAVAGES OF THE PANDEMIC.

WHAT DOES APH DO TO COMBAT THE REPORTED INCREASE IN MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES? WE'VE MADE IT TO THE DCS.

UH, SO, UH, AGAIN, W WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT ALL ASPECTS OF, OF THIS, UH, COVID-19 IMPACT.

UH, WE ARE CERTAINLY AWARE OF, OF THE MENTAL HEALTH IMPACT.

WE'RE AWARE OF THE IMPACT ON, ON JOBS.

WE'RE AWARE OF THE IMPACT ON OUR STUDENTS AND, UH, AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH IS WORKING WITH A NUMBER OF PARTNERS, UH, TO ADDRESS THOSE MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS THROUGH A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT INTERVENTIONS, UH, BOTH PREEXISTING, AS WELL AS, AS NEW INTERVENTIONS, WHICH ARE COORDINATED THROUGH OUR EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE, WE ARE ENCOURAGING FOLKS TO, TO REACH OUT TO THEIR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS IF THEY'RE FACING MENTAL HEALTH STRESS.

AND, UH, YOU KNOW, AGAIN, THIS IS, THIS IS ONE OF THOSE AREAS WHERE, UH, TEXAS AND, AND OUR COUNTRY HAVE NOT INVESTED ADEQUATE RESOURCES.

UM, YOU KNOW, WE KNOW THAT WE ARE CERTAINLY UNDERREPRESENTED IN OUR, OUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS IN TERMS OF COUNSELORS AVAILABLE PER STUDENT.

AND, UH, IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO LOOK FOR A POLICY CHANGE IN, IN THE COMING YEARS TO ENSURE THAT WE ARE BETTER PREPARED FOR THE FUTURE.

I WOULD ECHO ALL THAT DOCTOR AS SCOTT SAID, AND JUST, YOU KNOW, THIS IS WHERE THE STRENGTH OF OUR PARTNERSHIPS REALLY SHINES THROUGH, UM, WHETHER THROUGH A COLLABORATIVE AGREEMENT OR A CONTRACTED, UH, AGREEMENT US IN PUBLIC HEALTH ENGAGES NOT ONLY WITH INTEGRAL INTEGRAL CARE, BUT SEVERAL OTHER COMMUNITY PARTNERS TO PROTECT THE MENTAL HEALTH OF OUR RESIDENTS, UM, PARTICULARLY IN THOSE AGENTS OR THOSE AREAS RATHER ARE THOSE POPULATIONS WHERE WE'RE SEEING A HIGHER RISK OF COVID DUE TO OTHER, UM, SOCIAL DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH.

WE HAVE HEALTH EQUITY FUNDING SPECIFICALLY AIMED AT ADDRESSING THE MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS OF THOSE COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE RESPONSE.

WE WORK WITH THOSE AGENCIES TO REIMAGINE THE SCOPE OF WORK AND SERVICES PROVIDED TO ACCOUNT FOR, UM, THE IMPACTS OF, OF COVID AND QUARANTINING, UM, ON THOSE POPULATIONS, WHETHER IT BE SENIORS OR YOUNG PEOPLE.

UM, WE HAVE HAD OUR FINGER ON THE PULSE OF THAT FROM THE BEGINNING, UH, AS PART OF THE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS RESPONSE, THERE IS A SOCIAL SERVICE BRANCH, AND, UM, AS AN INTRO, UH, WE EVEN FACTOR IN ALL OF THE, OF THOSE HEALTH OUTCOMES THAT WE'RE TRYING TO IMPACT THAT WE KNOW, UH, PROMOTE COMMUNITY RESILIENCY AND WILL HELP US GET TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS RESPONSE.

AND IN A BETTER POSITION, MENTAL HEALTH IS ONE OF THOSE.

SO LIKE DR.

S SCOTT SAID, IT'S THE FULL CIRCLE OF, YOU KNOW, WHERE WE WORK LIVE IN PLAY, AND I'M PUTTING THAT, THAT COVID LENS ON IT, AND REALLY BEING FOCUSED ON HOW WE SHAPE AND, UM, MEET THE EMERGING NEEDS OF OUR, OUR CURRENT RESIDENTS OR FINAL QUESTION.

THIS ONE FROM KX, THEY ASK SIX MONTHS AFTER THE FIRST COVID-19 CASE IN AUSTIN.

WHAT LETTER GRADE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF IN TERMS OF APH OF RESPONSE TO THE PANDEMIC? WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME, IF YOU KNEW ANOTHER PANDEMIC WAS COMING? OH, I'LL START BY SAYING, UH, THE TEST IS STILL UNDERWAY.

SO I, I THINK IT'S A BIT PREMATURE TO GRADE OURSELVES, UH,

[00:35:01]

BUT WE ARE CONSTANTLY REFLECTING ON, ON OUR POLICY DECISIONS AND LOOKING FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO IMPROVE THEM AS, AS WE GO FORWARD.

UM, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S, IT'S BECOME CLEAR THAT OUR GRADE, AS A, AS A NATION, I THINK THE, THE GRADE FOR THE FEDERAL PREPAREDNESS IS NOT GOOD.

UH, AND I THINK WE'VE LEARNED A LOT.

I THINK WE'VE LEARNED THAT, THAT WE HAVE TO PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO PUBLIC HEALTH RESOURCES.

DIDN'T HAVING THAT PUBLIC HEALTH INFRASTRUCTURE.

WE'VE LEARNED VALUABLE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA IN HAVING A PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT RELY ON FAX MACHINES TO SHARE CRITICAL INFORMATION.

UM, SO IF W WE'VE GOT TO APPLY THOSE LESSONS AND WE'VE GOT TO LEARN THOSE LESSONS, AND WE'VE GOT TO, UH, ENSURE THAT WE ARE BETTER PREPARED FOR THE NEXT TEST.

UM, YOU KNOW, I, I THINK THE TIME FOR GRADING WILL BE 20, 21, 2022, AND I THINK THERE'LL BE A LOT OF GRADING HAPPENING.

UH, I THINK WE'LL LEARN A LOT ABOUT WHAT WE DID RIGHT.

AND WHAT WE DID WRONG.

UM, BUT, UH, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO KNOW THAT, THAT WE HAVE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE AT AUSTIN, PUBLIC HEALTH WHO ARE WORKING EVERY DAY, A LOT OF HOURS, A LOT OF WEEKENDS, A LOT OF HOLIDAYS TO DO THE BEST JOB THAT WE CAN.

UM, BECAUSE THIS IS, THIS IS PERSONAL FOR US, AND WE WANT TO HONOR AND SERVE THIS COMMUNITY.

THANK YOU, DR.

S GOD, I WOULD JUST ADD TO THAT.

UM, YOU KNOW, THAT IS A TOUGH QUESTION TO ANSWER THE TEST IS, IS CURRENTLY UNDERWAY, UM, IN YOU'RE, RIGHT.

IT DOES POINT OUT, UH, DEFICIENCIES AND FUNDING.

UM, AND IT ALSO IS A PAINFUL REMINDER OF THE HEALTH DISPARITIES IN THOSE POPULATIONS THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT HISPANIC AND LATIN X.

AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN, UM, WE'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE WITH MATERNAL HEALTH OUTCOMES WITH CHRONIC DISEASE DIABETES.

AND SO IT IS A REFLECTION OF A LOT THAT IS GOOD ABOUT OUR PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM, BUT A LOT THAT STILL NEEDS WORK.

UM, I ALSO ECHO YOU AND THE FACT THAT EVERY DAY, UM, IN AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTH, THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF EMPLOYEES THAT COME AND GIVE THEIR ALL, UM, BUT TRAVIS COUNTY, TRAVIS COUNTY, UM, AND OTHER DEPARTMENTS THROUGHOUT THE CITY, UH, WE ARE THE FACE OF THIS RESPONSE, BUT IT IS DEFINITELY A COLLECTIVE EFFORT OF FOLKS WHO ARE COMMITTED TO SHOWING UP EVERY DAY AND DOING THE BEST THAT THEY CAN WITH THE INFORMATION THAT KEEPS CHANGING AND THE RESOURCES THAT WE HAVE AVAILABLE TO DO THE BEST BY OUR RESIDENTS.

UM, AND IT IS, THEY MAKE ME WANT TO MATCH THEIR ENERGY AND BE A BETTER, UM, HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.

SO, YOU KNOW, TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK EVERYONE WHO HAS BEEN IN THIS FOR THE PAST SIX MONTHS WITH US.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR THOSE REMARKS.

AND AT THIS TIME, BEFORE WE CLOSE, WE WANT TO GIVE OUR PANEL MEMBERS A CHANCE FOR FINAL COMMENTS.

AND WE'RE GOING TO START WITH JANET PICHET.

THANKS.

UM, I JUST WANT TO, AGAIN, REEMPHASIZE AS WE A COLD AND FLU SEASON, WHICH STARTS OCTOBER ONE IN THE MIDDLE OF A COVID-19 PANDEMIC, IT WILL BE CRITICALLY IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO CONTINUE TO USE YOUR PREVENTATIVE MEASURES, SUCH AS MAT WEARING A MASK, SOCIAL DISTANCING, WASHING YOUR HANDS, UH, AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE AND STAY HOME IF YOU'RE SICK, UM, UH, AS WELL AS GETTING A FLU SHOT TO BETTER PROTECT YOU FROM OTHER THE DEVELOPMENT OF OTHER RESPIRATORY ILLNESSES OR THE FLU SPECIFICALLY.

AND I'LL JUST REITERATE, UH, OUR CASES ARE GOING UP.

IT'S NOT A HUGE INCREASE.

50% INCREASE SINCE SEPTEMBER.

THE FIRST ARE HOSPITALIZATIONS ARE HOSPITAL BEDS, ICU BEDS, VENTILATORS BEING USED ARE GOING DOWN.

THIS IS REFLECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT THE MAJORITY OF OUR NEW CASES ARE IN YOUNG PEOPLE.

WE NEED THOSE YOUNG PEOPLE TO STAY SAFE.

WE NEED THEM TO STAY HOME IF THEY'VE BEEN SICK AND WE NEED THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN CASE INVESTIGATION AND CONTACT TRACING IF PUBLIC HEALTH CALLS THEM TO ASK THOSE QUESTIONS.

AND FINALLY, I WANT TO SAY THAT THAT THE MASKING MANDATE FROM THE GOVERNOR WAS A POLICY DECISION, WHICH SUBSTANTIALLY CHANGED THE COURSE OF THIS

[00:40:01]

PANDEMIC IN AUSTIN.

UH, THAT WAS PRECEDED BY THE PUSH FROM OUR CITY COUNCIL, OUR, OUR COMMISSIONER'S COURT.

AND THAT IS THE DECISION THAT NEEDS TO STAY IN PLACE UNTIL WE HAVE A VACCINE, WHICH IS WIDELY AVAILABLE.

WE'VE GOT TO STAY THE COURSE.

I KNOW MASKING IS CHALLENGING, BUT IT'S WORKING AND WE NEED IT TO KEEP WORKING.

THANK YOU, DARKER ESCA.

MY GRANDMA USED TO SAY, IF SOMEBODY SAYS SOMETHING TO YOU, THREE TIMES, IT MUST BE TRUE OR GET INFORMATION.

AND SO I WILL REITERATE WHAT THE TWO OF YOU HAD TO HAVE JUST SAID, A MASKING IS OUR BEST, UM, DEFENSE UNTIL WE HAVE A SAFE VACCINE THAT'S READILY AVAILABLE.

AND SO I ENCOURAGE OUR COMMUNITY TO MASK UP, UM, AND WE ARE PREPARED TO HELP YOU DO THAT AGAIN ON THURSDAY, WE'LL BE AT MANOR CITY HALL FROM NINE UNTIL 11, WHERE YOU CAN PICK UP A KIT FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

AND IF YOU MISS US ON THAT DAY, DAY ON SATURDAY FROM NINE TO 11, WE'LL BE AT THE TRAVIS COUNTY COMMUNITY CENTER.

AND WE WILL HAVE EVENTS THROUGH THE END OF OCTOBER.

SO COME CHECK US OUT AT AUSTIN, TEXAS, THAT GOV FORWARD SLASH PPE, AND YOU CAN CHECK OUT THE CALENDAR AND SEE WHERE A DISTRIBUTION EVENT IS HAPPENING NEAR YOU.

THAT CONCLUDES OUR MEDIA AVAILABILITY FOR TODAY.

THANK YOU.

APH ASSISTANT DIRECTOR AGENCY, MARK S. SCOTT, AN EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JANET KESHET'S AND OUR POOL REPORTER.

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