On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its weekly Community levels and listed five Central Texas counties as “high” risk for COVID-19. Those in the high category include Mason, Gillespie, Blanco, Hays and Caldwell counties.
Two new omicron subvariants are driving COVID-19 numbers up in recent weeks. The BA.5 variant accounts for 65% of cases while the BA.4 variant makes up another 16% of cases.
The CDC reported that the two most recent variants are evading antibodies and vaccine protections and are some of the most contagious versions to date.
As of Saturday, July 16, case numbers in Texas are up 21% in the past week and up 79% in a month. The new 7-day average is 9,305.
Hospitalizations in the state of Texas are up 7% in the past week but have doubled in the last month. Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed 3,240 COVID-19 patients at last count.
TX DSHS said that despite the increasing coronavirus statistics, the numbers are still nowhere near the peaks of previous waves. According to the CDC, all Americans age 5 and over should consider getting a booster five months after their initial primary series.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said while the new variants are concerning, with boosters, indoor masking and treatments the country has the tools to keep them from being disruptive. “We should not let it disrupt our lives, but we cannot deny that it is a reality that we need to deal with,” said Fauci.