Austin Public Health

People wear face masks on the UT Austin campus in October.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Public Health officials are encouraging residents to understand that if the president and first lady of the United States can contract COVID-19, anyone can.

A sign requiring face coverings at Mission Funeral Home in Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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Hospitals in the Austin area are in “a very good situation,” the city’s top doctor said Wednesday, adding that now is the time for residents to take care of elective surgeries and immunizations, like getting flu shots.

A bed in a field hospital set up at the convention center
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Coronavirus cases in Austin and Travis County have been inching up since Sept. 1, though hospitalizations have dropped by 20%, Austin's top doctor said Tuesday.

UT Austin students wait in line to be tested for COVID-19 at DKR Stadium before the Sept. 12 football game against UT-El Paso.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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Austin Public Health’s interim health authority says he would’ve rather waited a few more weeks before easing capacity restrictions for businesses in the area.

A floor marker at UT Austin's Student Union reminds students to stay 6 feet apart.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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High school and college-aged students are testing positive for COVID-19 at a much higher rate than the area's overall population, Austin's top public health expert says.

UT Austin's DKR Memorial Stadium.
Michael Minasi / KUT

When the Longhorns play their football season opener Saturday, UT Austin will be tested on the field by UT-El Paso — and off the field by whether or not its COVID-19 protocols are enough to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Chairs are stacked at an empty day care center.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Austin and Travis County residents are doing a “great job” preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the area, Austin Public Health’s interim health authority said during a news conference Wednesday. 

COVID-19 safety guidelines posted on the UT Austin campus on Aug. 21.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Local health officials are urging people to avoid gathering with others from outside their households during the holiday weekend. As case numbers trend downward, they say they're concerned people may think the threat of COVID-19 is diminished.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Tens of thousands of face masks and bottles of hand sanitizer will be distributed for free in coronavirus hot spots in the Austin area, public health officials announced Wednesday.

Michael Minasi / KUT

As he has done time and again over the past six months, Austin Public Health interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said Tuesday that residents need to stay vigilant about wearing masks and social distancing. Otherwise, in weeks’ time, he says we could return to where we were at the end of June, when public health officials feared coronavirus cases could overwhelm our hospitals.

A member of the media has his temperature checked before entering the Alternate Care Site at the Austin Convention Center on July 24.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Public Health officials want people to continue social distancing, wearing masks and practicing good hygiene even though the health authority has loosened guidelines due to a recent plateau in COVID-19 cases.  

A sign in the lobby of UT Austin's Belo Center for New Media tells students and others not to rearrange chairs.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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The Austin area is loosening COVID-19 guidelines as new cases level off.

Dr. Mark Escott, the interim medical authority for Austin Public Health, told the Austin City Council on Tuesday that cases have plateaued in the last few weeks and that he's "confident" in suggesting a transition from stage 4 of the health authority's risk-based guidelines to stage 3.

Sisters Danielle and Kimberly Medina pack a U-Haul to move to a new apartment on West Campus before the start of UT's fall semester.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The top doctor at Austin Public Health says Austin and Travis County are doing a good job preventing the spread of coronavirus. But, Dr. Mark Escott says, residents will need to do a better job to lower the number of daily new cases to single digits. 

At least two people in Travis County likely have been infected by West Nile Virus this summer.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

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Austin has found 14 pools of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in Travis County and two probable cases of the disease among residents this summer, the city’s public health department said Tuesday.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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The top doctor at Austin Public Health says he’s concerned there could be a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

During a media briefing Wednesday, Dr. Mark Escott stressed the importance of wearing masks and social distancing in all situations, not just public outings. He and APH Director Stephanie Hayden said they’ve seen an increase in cases among gatherings of family and friends. 

A field hospital is set up at the Austin Convention Center to handle coronavirus patients if hospitals in the area get overwhelmed.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Public Health officials say Austin and Travis County residents have done a great job to help lower COVID-19 numbers over the last few weeks, but caution there is still a lot to be done – especially with colleges and schools reopening in the coming weeks.

People gather in front of the Austin Police Department on May 30 to protest racism and police brutality.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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As COVID-19 hospitalizes Latino and Black people in Austin at disproportionate rates, the Austin City Council on Wednesday deemed racism a public health crisis.

Austin Public Health says a pool of mosquitoes in Central Austin has tested postive for West Nile Virus.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

A pool of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus has been detected in Central Austin, health officials announced Thursday. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Hospitalizations for the coronavirus in Austin-Travis County are plateauing, local public health officials said Wednesday.

At a news briefing, Dr. Jason Pickett, the city’s alternate health authority, described the leveling off as a “glimmer of hope,” but said it’s too early to tell if that trend will continue.

People cross the Lady Bird Lake pedestrian bridge under MoPac Expressway on July 1.
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With average daily hospitalizations in the Austin metro area ticking above a key threshold of 70 per day Tuesday, public health officials are weighing whether to recommend the region move to stage 5 of their “risk-based guidelines.” The guidelines at that stage call for closing all but essential workplaces and having even low-risk individuals avoid gatherings outside the household.

Demonstrators protested outside the Capitol and governor's mansion Tuesday calling for the reopening of bars.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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With Travis County on the cusp of exceeding 10,000 total cases of coronavirus, local public health officials are pleading with Austinites to stay home for the Fourth of July holiday and help slow the growth of a disease that has hospitals on track to exceed capacity by mid-July.

CommUnityCare conducts drive-thru COVID-19 testing in Hancock Center.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, health officials say Austin is at the precipice of a spike in COVID-19 cases that could lead to another full shutdown of businesses and social activity.

A sign at the entrance of Austin Public Health's drive-thru testing site in North Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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As Texas sees record spikes in new coronavirus cases, Austin and Travis County's accounting for infections is lagging. A record-breaking surge in cases is partly to blame, but there's another culprit: the fax machine.

A mobile coronavirus testing site off I-35.
Michael Minasi / KUT

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People without internet access can now call a hotline to sign up for a free COVID-19 test. Those without transportation can soon get tested at home.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Austin and Travis County are renewing their stay-at-home orders as the area sees an upward trend in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Michael Minasi / KUT

The recent spike in new confirmed COVID-19 cases is not related to the string of protests against police brutality across the city in the last two weeks, Austin Public Health's top doctor said.

Demonstrators face off with law enforcement in downtown Austin in solidarity with nationwide demonstrations and protests in honor of George Floyd of Minneapolis and, locally, Mike Ramos.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

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Austin Public Health officials say people who participated in recent large gatherings — like protests against police violence — should sign up to get tested for COVID-19, even if they don’t have symptoms.

The city is expanding eligibility for people without symptoms to get tested for free at drive-thru sites.

Michael Minasi / KUT

There have been 500 new cases of coronavirus in the Austin area in the past eight days, Austin Public Health officials said Wednesday.

Janet Pichette, APH chief epidemiologist, said the source of that spike can be attributed to businesses reopening and capacity expansions, coupled with recent holidays.

A mobile coronavirus testing site off I-35 in North Austin.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Austin Public Health says it’s going to launch mobile COVID-19 testing sites in Austin and Travis County to target populations that are disproportionately impacted by the virus. 

A sign in front of the reopened Revelry Kitchen + Bar says, "No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service."
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Public Health said it can administer 1,750 COVID-19 tests per day at its drive-thru testing site, but only 200 to 350 people are being tested each day.

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