AUSTIN, Texas - In a special called Austin City Council meeting, interim health authority Dr. Mark Escott said that those not showing symptoms will no longer be tested for COVID-19 in Austin.
Escott said many factors went into the decision, including testing availability and how quickly testing results were coming back. With the amount of testing being done currently, he said many people weren't getting results back for five to seven days after they were tested.
At that point, it would be 10-14 days after a person first gets sick and Escott says then contact tracing is no longer effective. "When we have widespread at the rate we're having it now - it becomes less useful."
On Monday afternoon, lines formed outside one testing site in Central Austin as many waited to get tested. Escott says he wants to get people who are showing symptoms tested within two days. However, with testing changes, he says it may not be out of the question for some people with symptoms to be denied testing.
"You cannot wait on a positive or negative test result to take action - if you are sick stay home," he said.
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City manager Spencer Cronk said with the new changes, it's going to take everyone working together, as it's "not about what the government can do, but what individuals can do."
Escott also reiterated that everyone should continue wearing face-coverings and said the younger demographic needs to be aware and to protect the more vulnerable populations. "We have to be this community of us, and if we aren't we aren't gonna be successful."
On Friday, June 26, Governor Greg Abbott put a pause on reopening the state but Austin Mayor Steve Adler and other city leaders say they've been trying to rein things in for awhile now.
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