AUSTIN, TX — The number of cases of the coronavirus in Travis County rose by 508 on Monday from the previous day, bringing the historical illness count to 8,969. In the course of the same 24-hour period, the death count rose by four to 121.
The big increase comes after an even bigger one on Sunday, when 636 more positive cases of the respiratory illness emerged. The data is found on a statistical dashboard maintained by Austin Public Health. The data show 6,117 patients have recovered since contracting the virus, but there are 368 patients hospitalized, 17 more than the previous day — including 121 being treated at intensive care units and another 65 placed on ventilators.
The increasing rates of illness have prompted officials at the city, county and state levels to take measures in stemming the tide. On Monday, officials at Round Rock and Cedar Park issued orders mandating residents to wear protective face coverings when outdoors. The mayor of Leander implemented a similar order that stopped short of an outright mandate on mask wearing unless keeping a six-foot buffer among people is not possible to achieve.
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Other measures taken last week include:
- Gov. Greg Abbott on June 26 ordered all bars to close, along with tubing and rafting operations.
- Austin and Travis County officials issued orders banning outdoor crowds of more than 100 people last week.
- On June 25, Abbott also put a pause on continued reopening of the economy, which amounts to holding off on allowing businesses catering to the public to operate at full capacity since most businesses had already been allowed to reopen per his earlier orders.
- Also on June 25, the governor banned all elective surgeries and procedures from taking place to make hospital space available for a potential influx of newly diagnosed coronavirus patients.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler last week urged residents to follow health guidelines that are seen as the most effective methods of blunting an illness for which there is no vaccine. "We have a window now, a very small window, maybe seven days — maybe two weeks — to have people really change behaviors," Adler said over the weekend. "To wear masks, to social distance, so we can disrupt and at least slow the rate of our current trajectory."
The mayor offered guidance to residents wanting to help curb the illness scourge:
- Stay home, especially if you think there's even a chance you could be infected;
- Wear your mask if you have to go out;
- Keep at least six feet of distance from other people;
- Do not gather in groups (outside those in your household); and,
- Call your friends and family in our city and ask them to do the same. Then ask them to call their friends and family to practice these behaviors.
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"Each of our individual choices will add up to be our collective community response and will determine the lives lost and lives lived in our community," Adler said. "And whether or not we can sustain the opening of the economy."