AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin Public Health confirmed to KXAN that Tuesday’s daily data update shows that in the greater Austin statistical area, more people are being hospitalized with COVID-19 and more people in intensive care units with COVID-19 than ever before.
Typically, Austin daily data isn’t released until the evening of a specific day.
WARMED: The intensive care units in Austin-Travis County will run out of space in two days, APH reports
During a briefing in the Travis County Commissioners Court, Dr. Mark Escott, Austin Interim Health Authority, Travis County Judge Andy Brown, said he wanted to split the numbers early because he thought they were important.
The numbers Escott reported to the Austin MSA for Tuesday, which KXAN verified with Austin Public Health, are as follows:
- 601 people were hospitalized with COVID-19
- 190 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units
- 104 COVID-19 patients with ventilators
- 117 new COVID-19 hospital admissions.
As of Tuesday, the previous record in the Austin MSA for COVID-19 hospital stays on Jan. 9 was 586. The previous record for COVID-19 intensive care admissions in the Austin MSA was 180 – a level the area hit on Jan. 9, 10. and January 11th.
Austin Public Health has said for months that hospitals in the Austin area have indicated they have 200 spare beds in the intensive care unit specifically for COVID-19 patients. The registration of 190 COVID-19 patients in the MSA with five counties means that 10 free beds are still available in the intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients in the region.
This trend is particularly worrying, according to leading Austin health officials, as the coronavirus is currently rising in all metropolitan areas in Texas. This means that there are limited resources across the state to help if Austin exceeds capacity.
“The situation is far from over and is more likely to get worse than better in the short term,” said Dr. Escott to the County Commissioners. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of people taking protective measures, staying at home and leaving their homes when possible, when they are very, very careful outside of their homes.”
Escott urged people to take advantage of take-out and delivery options for groceries and retail. He also advised that if your household needs to go to the grocery store, only send one person to the grocery store to limit the risk.
The field hospital at the Austin Convention Center is now open to patients
That news comes the same day Austin opens a field hospital for patients at the Austin Convention Center. This is the first time the alternative care facility in the convention center has to open during the pandemic.