Travis County sees renewed upward trend in recent coronavirus cases, indicating a possible second surge

Austin-Travis County Health Authority Mark Escott gives a virtual coronavirus update to the Travis County Commissioners Court, led by interim Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe. (Courtesy Travis County)
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Mark Escott gives a virtual coronavirus update to the Travis County Commissioners Court, led by interim Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe. (Courtesy Travis County)

Austin-Travis County Health Authority Mark Escott gives a virtual coronavirus update to the Travis County Commissioners Court, led by interim Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe. (Courtesy Travis County)

Travis County is seeing a renewed upward trend in coronavirus cases following the loosening of public health restrictions across Texas. According to Austin-Travis County Health Authority Mark Escott, it could be “the beginnings of a surge.”

In a briefing to the Travis County Commissioners Court on May 26, Escott noted that May 25 testing reports showed 86 confirmed new cases in the county in a single day, the highest one-day increase in area cases since the start of the pandemic. With three weeks passed since the state began easing up restrictions on business and restaurant openings and revoked health restrictions such as public masking, Escott said the timing indicates a potential surge in COVID-19 transmission.

“All the models I’ve seen in the past week indicate that a surge is likely to begin soon,” Escott said, noting a consistent upward trend in cases for roughly the past week. “This is about the time we’d expect to see increases in cases if it was going to happen as a result of that change in policy.”

While hospitalizations related to coronavirus have not increased as diagnosed cases have, Escott said such a change could be coming.

“As we see increasing cases, we can expect there’s going to be a lag in the hospitalizations of those individuals who are newly diagnosed by a week or so at least, maybe 10 days,” Escott said. “So we’ll be patiently watching to see what happens with hospitalizations over the next week to two weeks to see if that is increasing following the increase in diagnosed cases.”


Additionally, Escott reported a disproportionate ratio of positive coronavirus tests in Travis County’s Latinx community as well as a “substantially maintained increase” in the number of hospitalized cases in that group. Escott said the county’s COVID-19 outbreak was “concentrated around our Latinx community.”

In order to curb the projected second surge in Travis County COVID-19 cases, Escott said the public would need to renew efforts to maintain strict public health recommendations, including taking social distancing measures and wearing masks while out in public despite “mixed messages” from some state and national officials.

“It’s what we need as a community to keep a lid on this and keep disease spread under control,” Escott said.
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.


MOST RECENT

The first COVID-19 vaccines are on their way to Austin. (Courtesy Baylor College of Medicine)
Thousands of Austin-area healthcare workers will receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by mid-December

The Austin area is set to receive 13,650 doses of the vaccine by mid-December for healthcare workers in Travis, Hays and Williamson counties.

Foodie's Corner and Weikel's Bakery are now open in Leander. (Taylor Girtman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Foodie's Corner, Weikel's Bakery open in Leander and more Austin-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Dec. 2 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allotted 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to the state of Texas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Austin Public Health leaders offer insight on COVID-19 vaccine distribution schedule

Local physicians could administer does fo the Pfizer vaccine to high-priority individuals as soon as Dec. 17, one official said.

Traffic moves along the upper decks of I-35 near downtown Austin on Dec. 1. The Texas Department of Transportation is seeking public feedback on a $4.9 billion project to improve the 8-mile stretch of I-35 through downtown. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Residents question TxDOT spending on I-35 and more Central Texas news

Read the most popular stories from the past week from the Austin area.

Local Austin act the Peterson Brothers perform at the historic Continental Club in 2019. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin City Council experiment could send $15 million in hotel taxes to 'iconic' music venues, restaurants

The move represents the latest attempt by the city to save live music venues and restaurants that are struggling through the pandemic.

A proposed mixed-use development at the Brodie Oaks Shopping Center in Southwest Austin would invest $1 billion over a decade and could start construction in 2022 or 2023. (Rendering courtesy Lionheart Places/WP Visions LLC San Antonio)
$1 billion development project on its way to Southwest Austin along Barton Creek Greenbelt

The project would include 3 million square feet of hotel, residential, office, retail and restaurant space along with 13.7 acres of green space.

Early voting opens Dec. 3 for runoff elections for Austin City Council and the Austin ISD board of trustees. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin runoff elections: Who is on the ballot, where to vote and when polls are open

Polls open at 7 a.m. Dec. 3 for early voting in the runoff election. Two Austin City Council positions and two Austin ISD board seats are open.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Dec. 2 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has allotted 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to the state of Texas. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
First allotment of COVID-19 vaccinations expected to arrive in Texas in mid-December

About 1.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been allotted to the state of Texas and will arrive the week of Dec. 14.

Frontyard Brewing opened Nov. 14 in Spicewood. (Amy Rae Dadamo/Community Impact Newspaper)
New brewery opens in Spicewood and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community updates from Central Texas.

Traffic moves along the upper decks of I-35 near downtown Austin on Dec. 1. The Texas Department of Transportation is seeking public feedback on a $4.9 billion project to improve the 8-mile stretch of I-35 through downtown. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
TxDOT is spending billions to fix I-35 through downtown Austin, but some community members say the state is wrong in its approach

A report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute released Dec. 1 said the 8-mile stretch of I-35 from Hwy. 290 to SH 71 is the most congested roadway in the state.

Pravo Construction opened a new headquarters at Two Barton Skyway, 1601 MoPac, Austin, on Nov. 1. (Courtesy CBRE)
Now open in Austin: New coffee shop, offices and medical clinics arrive south of river

New businesses operating in Austin include MilkRun, which delivers dairy, meat, produce and other products from local farmers to customers at home.