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Photo by Michael Minasi/KUT. An at-home COVID-19 testing kit.

Austin Public Health to use new Covid-19 risk charts to align with CDC

Wednesday, March 30, 2022 by Marisa Charpentier, KUT

Austin Public Health is updating its Covid-19 risk guidelines to coincide with new metrics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previously, APH had been using a five-level scale to showcase Covid-19 risk, with Stage 5 being the highest risk level and Stage 1 being the lowest. Each level carried with it a different set of precautions, like when to wear masks and when to avoid travel.

Last month, the CDC began using “community levels” to track Covid-19 spread by county. To align with that, APH is doing away with the Stage 1 through 5 charts and using charts that show three levels: low, medium and high. Austin-Travis County is currently at the low level.

As with the old risk charts, recommended precautions at each level are dependent on vaccination status and whether you have underlying conditions that put you at a higher risk for developing complications from Covid-19.

At the low level, taking precautions, like wearing masks and social distancing in public, is optional for people who are fully vaccinated and boosted. Precautions are also optional at this level for at-risk individuals.

“At all levels people can wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by their personal level of risk,” APH says. “People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with Covid-19 should wear a mask.”This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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