Ahead of Thanksgiving, Travis County health officials urge caution

Local health leaders are urging caution ahead of Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Local health leaders are urging caution ahead of Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Local health leaders are urging caution ahead of Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Travis County officials repeated warnings about Thanksgiving gatherings at a meeting of the Travis County Commissioners Court on Nov. 24, cautioning that events involving people from multiple households come with high coronavirus transmission risks. Dr. Jason Pickett, alternate health authority for the city of Austin and the county, urged those who went ahead with multi-household gatherings to take precautions such as celebrating outside and wearing masks.

“We recommend that you don’t gather with people you do not live with. If you decide to do so, there are steps you can take to reduce that risk,” Pickett said. “We’ve seen families that were devastated by gatherings after Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and we don’t want to see that same thing happen after Thanksgiving as well.”

Pickett acknowledged that the holiday represented a “desire to get together” during a year in which social isolation has placed a burden on mental health, but urged vigilance.

“We all crave that togetherness, especially at a time that is so unprecedented and has been so stressful on everybody,” Pickett said. “Understand that there are some activities that are higher risk, and gathering indoors in large groups without masks is about the highest risk thing that you can do.”

Following the meeting, the city and county announced through a news release their intention to send a mass alert through the Warn Central Texas emergency alert system to spread the word about the dangers of COVID-19 transmission ahead of Thanksgiving.

Holiday warnings from APH and other officials—including Mayor Steve Adler and Travis County Judge Andy Brown—come alongside an upswing in coronavirus cases and hospital admissions in the area. As of Nov. 14, Travis County was averaging 284 new cases per day and 35 daily admissions of people sick with COVID-19. APH announced the county had advanced to Stage 4 coronavirus risk on Nov. 19.

APH leaders are pushing for increased caution following Thanksgiving as well. Pickett said schools were encouraged to operate virtually during the week after the holiday or to at least reduce in-person athletic activities—the biggest opportunities for transmission in schools.
By Olivia Aldridge
Olivia is the reporter for Community Impact's Central Austin edition. A graduate of Presbyterian College in upstate South Carolina, Olivia was a reporter and producer at South Carolina Public Radio before joining Community Impact in Austin.


Tents have become a common sight throughout Austin including along Cesar Chavez Street downtown, but with the passage of Proposition B the city may now consider moving unsheltered homeless individuals to designated sites. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Hall notebook: Designated campsites for the homeless are back on the table

City staff had previously dismissed developing official camping locations in 2019, but new directives from City Council this week could revive the concept in Austin.

Wag-A-Bag is headquartered in Round Rock. (Megan Cardona/Community Impact Newspaper)
Wag-A-Bag to operate under new ownership, name; Austin, TxDOT at odds over I-35 overhaul; and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular business and community news from the past week from the Austin area.

The Highland Tech Center is an office complex that finished redevelopment in March. (Courtesy Aquila Commercial)
North Central Austin business news: Office complex opens in Highland, picnic meals offered in the parks and more

Mes Amis is an outdoor dining service that provides baskets with French-style cuisine for picnics. Two new fitness studios, Hive + Honey and Regymen, are also now open.

Stephanie Hayden-Howard will become an assistant city manager in Austin on May 10. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Role changes coming for health officials leading Austin-Travis County COVID-19 efforts

Dr. Desmar Walkes will take over as Austin's next medical director and local health authority as Dr. Mark Escott and Stephanie Hayden-Howard transition to new roles with the city.

Barton Springs Pool, shown here in March 2020, will require reservations for residents wishing to visit after 8 a.m. starting on May 17. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Barton Springs Pool will require reservations starting May 21

Visitors who want to visit the pool after 8 a.m. will have to make a reservation for a two-hour block of time.

Road closure stock image
TxDOT to demolish I-35 ramp in North Austin early Saturday morning

State crews will perform controlled implosions of the northbound I-35 to northbound US 183 flyover between 6-8 a.m. in the morning on May 8 and May 15.

A pilot Austin Police Department cadet class is now set to commence in June under an updated training regimen and with additional city and community oversight on the APD academy's culture and curriculum. (John Cox/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council votes to restart APD cadet training in June, with framework for ongoing reviews of pilot academy

The Austin Police Department's 144th cadet class will now kick off training next month, with continued oversight of APD's instruction and culture throughout the 34-week academy process.

Holland Photo Imaging celebrates 40 years in business this year. (Courtesy Holland Photo Imaging)
The latest business news in South Central Austin

1. Holland Photo Imaging, located at 2125 Goodrich Ave., Ste. A, Austin, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in the community this year. Founded in 1981 by Pete Holland, the business has been owned by residents Brian and Morgan Morrison since 2006. Holland Photo Imaging offers film processing, printing, framing, photo restoration and archiving services. 512-442-4274. www.hollandphoto.com

A sign advertises a property for rent in Austin on May 6. Local eviction orders remain in place through August 1 protecting most tenants from eviction. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Local eviction moratoriums remain in effect despite federal judge’s decision

The May 5 ruling from a U.S. District Court judge striking down a federal moratorium does not affect orders in place in Austin or Travis County.

Q2 Stadium in North Austin
U.S. women’s national soccer team to debut Q2 Stadium next month

The USWNT takes on the Nigerian national team at Q2 Stadium ahead of the summer Olympic Games.