Wednesday, December 8

Austin Warns of a ‘Catastrophe’ When Texas Again Becomes the Epicenter of a Pandemic | Austin

With Covid-19 cases skyrocketing And the capacity of the intensive care unit in hospitals is shrinking to the single digits, officials in the Austin area warn of a “catastrophe” as Texas once again becomes an epicenter of the pandemic.

Austin local governments issued an urgent message through your emergency notification system Saturday, imploring residents to stay home, put on the mask and get vaccinated.

The plea comes just days after Austin Public Health raised its risk-based targeting to stage 5, the highest possible level.

“The situation is critical,” Austin-Travis County Health Authority Desmar Walkes said in a statement. “Our hospitals are highly stressed and there is little we can do to ease their burden from increasing cases.”

The Texas trauma service area including Austin only has six ICU beds available, 499 available hospital beds and 313 available ventilators: a staggering scarcity of resources for a population of almost 2.4 million people.

In the Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area, 510 Covid patients are currently hospitalized, 184 are in the ICU and 102 are on fans.

About a third of recent hospitalizations have occurred in patients under 50 years of age, underscoring the serious threat of the Delta variant to younger Texans who have chosen not to get vaccinated.

“The availability of hospital beds and critical care is extremely limited in our hospital systems, not just for Covid-19 patients, but for anyone who may need treatment,” Walkes said. “The community has to come together again and avoid disaster.”

Overall, Texas currently ranks second behind Florida with the highest daily average of Covid-19 cases. with a 134% increase in infections during the last 14 days. And between early February and mid-July, about 99.5% of Texans who died from the virus were not vaccinated. the Texas Tribune reported.

In Austin’s Travis County, nearly 64% of children and adults age 12 and older are fully vaccinated, compared to about 53% statewide. But in some neighboring counties and suburbs, vaccination rates are even lower than the state average.

Recently, Bexar County in San Antonio had an average daily increase in cases of more than 300%, according to the New York Times. Y infections are also increasing in Houston’s Harris County, where only about 56% of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated and the average 14-day test positivity rate it’s a whopping 17.7%.

Meanwhile, local officials wanting to implement proven public health measures to mitigate the spread have been paralyzed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has implemented a blanket order restricting vaccination and mask mandates.

But some public servants, like Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, have simply defied Abbott’s order. despite threats of retaliation.

“The governor is preventing the city from keeping children and adults safe,” said Alison Alter, a member of the Austin city council. told the New York Times. “You are going to have a lot of deaths on your hands here. It is a matter of life and death for our community ”.

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