CDC raises Hays and Travis Counties to Medium COVID-19 Transmission Rate

Masks are recommended when gathering indoors as active COVID-19 cases rise in Central Texas

Sierra Martin | Managing Editor

HAYS COUNTY — Active COVID-19 cases have been on an upward trend in the Central Texas area, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised the COVID-19 transmission rate in both Hays and Travis counties from Low Transmission to Medium Transmission.

New case totals reached the threshold necessary to trigger additional preventive measures. Upgraded Risk-Based Guidelines include masking in many circumstances. 

In the latest COVID-19 update from the Hays County Local Health Department, there were 509 active cases and one COVID-related fatality in the last seven days. Hays County has been identified as having a low transmission rate since March 7, 2022, when the local health department began reporting COVID-19 numbers under the CDC guidelines. 

“We’re seeing steady increases in case totals and hospitalizations which is incredibly concerning,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “We need everyone to do their part, especially those who are at higher risk. Wear a mask inside when gathering with others. We know that this will help protect loved ones at risk for poor outcomes and our hospital system.” 

A key determining metric for Community Levels, new cases per 100k population in the last 7 days, sits at 211.1. Hays County’s Community Level shifted from low to medium when that metric hit 200, per CDC guidelines. Travis County’s Community Level is currently at 202.99, causing the move to the medium transmission rate. 

“We all have mask fatigue, but wearing a mask is what’s necessary to keep COVID-19 in check,” said Austin Public Health Director Adrienne Sturrup. “Testing and getting vaccinated and boosted are also critical. Take a test and stay home even if you only feel slightly sick. Get up to date on your vaccines at your doctor’s office or at one of our clinics.” 

Risk-Based Guidelines 

Graphic attributed to the City of Austin.

 

Recommendations for people who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines:  

  • Low: Masking optional when gathering, dining and shopping.   

  • Medium: Masking optional when gathering, dining and shopping. Mask when social distancing is not possible.   

  • High: Indoor masking regardless of vaccination/risk status when gathering, dining and shopping. 

Recommendations for people who are at risk:

  • Get up to date with your vaccines as soon as possible. 

  • Low: Masking optional when gathering, dining and shopping.   

  • Medium: Indoor masking when gathering, dining and shopping.   

  • High: Indoor masking regardless of vaccination/risk status when gathering, dining and shopping.

At all risk levels, APH supports wearing a well-fitting mask and practicing social distancing as additional layers of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially as we see case reports and hospital admissions increase in the community.

Even at low levels, people can wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by their level of risk. People experiencing symptoms or those who’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask.

Corridor News has reached out to the Hays County Local Health Department for comment.

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