HEALTH CARE BRIEFS
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HEALTH CARE EDITION
Travis County COVID19 cases on the rise
COMMON COVID19 QUESTIONS ANSWERED
BY GLORIE MARTINEZ
of infections in the Austin area are currently attributed to the BA.2 variant, a subvariant of the original omicron. The CDC reports that BA.4 and BA.5 have caused a spike in cases abroad and are believed to spread more easily than other variants. The two variants combined account for about 6% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., per CDC data. Over 74% of Travis County residents are fully vaccinated, and about 86% received at least one shot, according to APH. Roughly 40% of residents also received a vaccine booster shot. “That’s particularly important when we’re look- ing at the omicron variants,” Walkes said. “Extra boosters are needed to get the kind of protection that we need, particularly for people that are vul- nerable, so that they don’t end up in the hospital.”
Who can get a booster shot?
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Travis County as two omicron subvariants—BA.4 and BA.5—have been detected in the area, according to Austin Public Health. On June 9, Travis County moved to medium community spread level of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scale, meaning masks are recommended for some individuals based on risk and vaccination status. “We have immunity in our community right now that’s holding; we’re not seeing a surge in hospital admissions,” health authority Desmar Walkes said. Vaccinations, booster shots and testing remain the most eective measures against increased case counts as the community moves into the summer season, according to APH. The majority
Children ages 5-11 can get a booster ve months after completing their primary vaccine series.
Ages 5 and up are eligible.
Adults age 50 and up are eligible for a second booster dose at least four months after their rst booster.
Where can I get a vaccine/booster? • Find vaccine providers at vaccines.gov (vacunas. gov in Spanish) or text your ZIP code to 438829. • Austin Public Health clinics are free and require no identication, insurance or appointment.
SOURCE: AUSTIN PUBLIC HEALTHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
Annual community survey gauges Austin’s health needs
supplies; and personal items such as dolls, socks and thousands of porce- lain buttons, according to Stacey Thompson, superintendent for the Austin State Hospital. Some of the artifacts will be displayed at the Bullock Texas State His- tory Museum from June to October. Due to their fragility, the vast majority of the artifacts will go to an archeological reposi- tory where they will be in a controlled environment, safe for preservation. Eventually, the artifacts will be available for request. Construction is expected to be completed in November 2023.
BY DARCY SPRAGUE
health insurance, and housing aordability. The report measured statis- tics and gathered feedback on health metrics as well as the social, emotional and envi- ronmental issues that impact health outcomes throughout the county. The leading causes of death in 2020 were heart disease, can- cer, unintentional injuries and COVID-19 in Travis County. The average life expectancy ranges from 68.6-88.9 years. The report, produced by the city, county and local health providers, was released in May.
The 2022 Austin/Travis County Community Health Assessment found that area residents are healthier than the state and national average on several measures, includ- ing rates of stroke and heart disease death, numbers of low birth rates and the percentage of residents with diabetes. However, the report found residents have several con- cerns, including the ongoing mental and physical eects of the COVID-19 pandemic, pre- paredness for natural disasters, the cost of health care and
Some artifacts found at the Austin State Hospital will be displayed in the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
COURTESY AUSTIN STATE HOSPITAL
Austin State Hospital preserves artifacts found during construction
BY KATY MCAFEE
as far back as 1861, are remnants from Texas’ oldest known psychiatric hospital, which was named Texas State Luna- tic Asylum until 1925. Archeologists found farming tools; sewing
More than 6,500 artifacts have been
discovered during the construction of the new Austin State Hospital building. The artifacts, dating
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