Confirmed Austin-Travis County COVID-19 cases reaches 502

AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Local health officials for Austin & Travis County have confirmed 18 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, pushing the county's total to 502.

Monday's numbers come as health and public officials alike began recommending residents to cover their faces when they go out in public, in line with the latest guidance from the CDC.

Right now, wearing masks isn't a requirement, only a recommendation - one that Austin-Travis County interim health authority Dr. Mark Escott says could help make progress against the virus.

"When people are making independent choices not to follow the recommendations, if they're making choices to gather when we're saying not to, that's going to cause more people to get sick. It's going to cause us to have further delays in getting businesses back open. If we continue to see evidence of that, we’re going to have to take additional action," Escott said.

Neighboring counties are also seeing continued increases in COVID-19 cases. Williamson County officials confirmed four new cases and the county's third death Monday, while Hays County added five new cases.