The alert will remind residents to practice good hygiene, celebrate 4th of July safely.
Austin, Texas – This afternoon, Austin-Travis County will use the Warn Central Texas system to send an emergency alert to residents about the COVID-19 situation.
Warn Central Texas is the regional emergency notification system used across Central Texas to alert people during emergencies or other public safety events. Residents need to register cell phones and email addresses with Warn Central Texas, while land-line phones are automatically opted into the system. To register, visit WarnCentralTexas.org.
Cases and hospitalizations are rising in the area and across Texas. This message is a critical reminder to the community that everyone must do their part to combat COVID-19. There has been a 400% increase in hospitalizations and an approximately 370% increase in cases of COVID-19 in the community since June 1.
The public needs to stay home as much as possible, wash their hands, and when in public wear a face covering and remain six feet apart from others. It is also important that all residents celebrate the 4th of July safely. Austin Public Health is asking that everyone avoid gathering with anyone outside their household this weekend.
“I know we want to celebrate; I know we want to get together with our families; I know we want to have firework shows and barbecue and do the things we normally do, but now is not the time for that,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Health Authority for Austin Public Health. “Now is the time we have to be strong together by staying home, by doing things within our own household, by watching the fireworks on TV.”
Prompted by the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, the City of Austin will close all parks and recreational facilities from Friday, July 3 through Sunday, July 5. This includes all City parks, as well as recreational facilities (e.g. golf courses, tennis courts, boat ramps, recreation/cultural centers, museums, Austin Nature & Science Center, Zilker Botanical Garden, preserves). All pre-paid park admission passes will be credited to the park patron’s account or refunded.
Travis County will close all parks (including boat ramps) in its system starting Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. and re-open on Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. Should the threat of COVID-19 continue to rise, the park system may remain closed beyond this date until further notice.
Also, the annual H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks event at Vic Mathias Shores has been cancelled due to COVID-19. This is not a City of Austin event.
Austin Public Health (APH) has published a color-coded chart to help residents of Austin-Travis County understand the stages of risk and provide recommendations on what people should do to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Austin-Travis County is currently in Stage 4. Click here to view the Risk-Based Guidelines chart.
Additional protective measures are recommended for people at higher risk, namely those aged over 65 or people with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, obesity, or those who are otherwise immunocompromised.
APH is offering free COVID-19 testing. Individuals can take an assessment online and see if they need to be tested by visiting AustinTexas.gov/COVID19 and clicking “take a self-assessment". APH is prioritizing testing for those who have COVID-19 symptoms, who are at a higher risk of suffering from more severe symptoms or death, are part of critical infrastructure or congregate settings, and vulnerable populations.
Travis County has several other testing resources for COVID-19 open to the public. Individuals with health insurance should contact their doctor and insurance company to determine the location to take the test. In the Austin-Travis County community, individuals can get a COVID-19 test at pharmacies, urgent care centers, and other private testing locations. Individuals with insurance should not be charged for the standard PCR COVID-19 test per the Families First Coronavirus Act and the CARES Act, both passed by Congress in March.