Austin Public Health is recommending everyone — including those who are vaccinated — wear a face covering indoors as COVID-19 cases continue rising in Austin and Travis County.

Local Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes told a joint session of Travis County commissioners and Austin City Council members on Tuesday that hospitalizations are up among all age groups.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We know what to do. We know what works,” Walkes said. “Masks stop the spread, and vaccinations stop severe disease and illness.”

Austin reported 38 new hospital admissions on Monday, bringing the seven-day average to 30, a level that could send the area to stage 4 of APH’s risk-based guidelines. The area was moved up to stage 3 guidance just last week after the state confirmed the first cases of the highly contagious delta variant in Travis County.

Intensive care unit admissions are rising, too. Walkes said almost all of the patients in those beds are not vaccinated.

“Almost all of the cases we’re seeing right now from case investigations are in people who are unvaccinated, and almost all of the people who are being hospitalized are unvaccinated,” Walkes said. “But we all need to take precautions, wear a mask to stop the spread and everybody should be vaccinated to prevent severe disease.”

Walkes said more than 150 “breakthrough” cases were reported in the Austin area since last week. A breakthrough case is when someone who is fully vaccinated becomes infected with COVID-19. She said about 25% of those people were asymptomatic carriers, meaning they didn’t show any symptoms of the illness.

“That again stresses the importance of our community staying home when they’re sick, wearing a mask to prevent the spread and for sure getting vaccinated, because these are individuals who for the most part have had mild to no disease,” Walkes said.

Cases and hospitalizations among children are also going up. On Monday, Austin Public Health issued new guidance recommending all children under the age of 12 wear masks when returning to school next month.

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