Healthcare Facilities On Verge Of Saturation, Only 7 ICU Beds Left For 11 Counties

Healthcare facilities in the 11 counties with a 2.3 million population are nearing their saturation, Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management has said. There are just seven staffed ICU beds available for patients coming from these counties, it added.

In an announcement issued last Friday, there were still 16 beds available but the sharp spike in hospital admission for cases arising from coronavirus infection rapidly swarmed the healthcare facility by Monday, for which only seven ICU beds are available for patients coming from 11 counties, including the densely populated Austin and Travis County.

The Trauma Service Region O (TSA-O), which has jurisdiction over the 11 areas, could hardly cope up with the ratio of bed capacity with that of the population under its watch. The counties on its radar include Travis, Williamson, Hays, Caldwell, Burnet, Blanco, Bastrop, San Saba, Llano, Lee, and Fayette.

As of Monday, the Texas Department of State Health Services recorded 4,509 staffed hospital beds. Of this number, only 490 hospital beds are unoccupied. The decimated health capability also had only 304 available ventilators for a region with 2.3 million people.

Some 439 COVID-19 patients are presently confined in the hospital for treatment, according to government-sourced data.

Accordingly, the government recorded 3,821  hospitalizations and 4,311 staffed in-patient beds — figures never before seen since the onset of the pandemic, says the Austin Public Health.

In an earlier press statement, Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said: “We are running out of time and our community must act now. Our ICU capacity is reaching a critical point where the level of risk to the entire community has significantly increased, and not just to those who are needing treatment for COVID. If we fail to come together as a community now, we jeopardize the lives of loved ones who might need critical care.”

In Travis County alone, there were 338 hospitalized with 117 patients in intensive care and 65 on ventilators as of Friday, effectively increasing the total cases to 89,433 with 900 deaths.

Of the confirmed COVID-19 infections, 2,657 cases remain active, according to the Austin-Travis County COVID-19 dashboard.

Meanwhile, the DSHS reported that only 63 percent of eligible people 12 years and above have been fully vaccinated in Travis County as of August 1, while around  800,373 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The population with the most vaccines belongs under the 16-49 age bracket.

In view of the alarming infection surge, Austin Public Health issued an advisory on what the resident should do.

  • Vaccinated individuals — Consider drive-thru and curbside options, outdoor activities, returning to social interactions with limited group sizes, as well as social distancing and wearing masks indoors.

  • Partially or unvaccinated individuals —  Avoid gatherings, travel, dining, and shopping choosing curbside and delivery options instead. Wear a mask when conducting essential activities.

  • The rest of Austin — Get the COVID-19 vaccine. Austin and Travis County have free clinics open to the public. To see where you can get a vaccine, visit the city-county website.