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Austin Texas has returned to Stage Four for COVID risk-based guidelines.

Austin Travis County officials have determined that the Austin community needs to return to Stage Four risk-based guidelines as the city continues to see an increase in COVID positive patients and higher hospitalization rates.

KXAN reports, "Austin-Travis County’s community transmission rate is currently 404.96, compared to 319.7 in the entire state, health leaders said in a release. These numbers are calculated based on total new cases in the past 7 days per 100,000 people."

What does Stage Four mean for Austin residents?

Even if you are fully vaccinated, a mask is suggested while even outdoors at this time. KXAN also offers that this means, "For people who are not fully vaccinated, Stage Four means a recommendation to eliminate travel and only dining or shopping through takeout or curbside service."

This will mean that many Austinites will have to reconsider their New Year's parties and planned events, although a fireworks show in Austin provided by the city has not been canceled at this time.

What does the CDC have to say about the increasing COVID positive rates throughout Texas?

The CDC is offering that roughly 90% of cases in the six-state region Texas is in are omicron. Intesteringly the symptoms have been described as more like symptoms of allergies. Health care officials are asking Texans not to take chances and if they are feeling sick to get tested.

"As of December 20, 2021, Omicron has been detected in most states and territories and is rapidly increasing the proportion of COVID-19 cases it is causing," reports the CDC.

Be sure to join us this Sunday for Victoria Report on each of our stations as we feature Victoria Public Health Department Director David Gonzales for the latest on COVID within the Victoria community.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.