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COVID in Austin Update (June 25)

State of Texas

Governor Abbott is pausing the reopening of Texas. Since we are in this situation because of the reopening, simply pausing it won’t do anything in and of itself, but it is something.

Gov. Abbott issued GA-27, an order to suspend elective procedures at hospitals 📄 in Travis (Austin), Bexar (San Antonio), Harris (Houston), and Dallas (Dallas) Counties. This was done statewide in March and lifted in April, if hospitals could vouch they would retain a percentage of beds for COVID cases and not need to acquire PPE from the state.

Quick aside: Governor Executive Orders, like Texas Attorney General opinions, are numbered using the officeholder’s initials and the sequential number of the order. GA-27 is the 27th executive order issued by Greg Abbot. The more you know. 🌟

Outside of those counties, Laredo is sounding the alarm and already has had outside medical professionals deployed to assist. As of 10 p.m. yesterday, the article notes, Laredo Medical Center’s ICU was at capacity and Doctor’s Hospital is near it.

Texas Medical Center in Houston has filled their standard ICU beds and is using surge capacity now. They have ~870 surge ICU beds.

Another quick link to refute the idea that we’re finding more cases because we are testing more. That doesn’t fly when our positivity rates are high. I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to look at what’s going on in Puerto Rico. 🇵🇷 Texas is at 11.35%, which is in spitting distance of all the numbers I’ve been seeing. There are plenty of different ways to skin a cat do math, so I’m not hung up on exactly duplicating the number when all the reports are ±1%. Within Austin, CommUnity Care, the non-profit clinic system, is reporting positivity over 20%. If I were to guess, this may be related to the overall trend that lower socioeconomic groups are being hit harder as they are less likely to have the ability to stay home, keep distance, etc.

New Texas Cases

New records again. 5,996 new cases. 4,739 hospitalized . The official positivity rate is 11.76%. We had 47 deaths since yesterday, which is the highest daily number is just over a month. With the hospitalization rate increasing—and the ICUs being at capacity/surge in some areas—I’m fearful we’re getting very close to a NYC situation where people will die unrelated to COVID due to capacity issues.

New cases in Texas.
Hospitalizations in Texas.
Positivity Rate in Texas.

Travis County (Austin)

News

First, in Travis County, outdoor gatherings of over 100 are now prohibited with a penalty of a fine up to $1000. There are too many exceptions, in my opinion, to carve itself around the Governor’s orders to reopen that locals can’t override—such as can’t prohibit Little League. Socializing in groups of 10 or more is prohibited, but that is hard to make meaningful with all the things the Governor’s orders allow.

Good news, bad news on Austin clusters. Austin Public Health reports low rates of COVID in nursing homes with no known clusters, but there’s a new cluster at a child care center including one child.

Alamo Drafthouse said they are opening later this summer. Their protocols look interesting, but given the current spike, I’m not caring all that much.

This is old news, but I’m only hearing it now second-hand. The Diocese of Austin was planning (over a week ago) to require parishes return to their usual Mass schedule for July 5th. I’m happy to have not heard it from an official parish source and I hope that date changes, much like the City changed when employees need to return. I do know that St. Ignatius, my parish, is not utilizing altar servers through the month of July.

City of Austin employees will remain at home working until July 27th. Originally, they were supposed to report back in the office on June 29th.

Next county over, San Marcos is closing their river parks to limit access to tubing on the river as of 8 p.m. Both Hays and Williamson County has continued on their increased trend of new cases.

Data

In Austin, we’ve “only” had 183 new cases today. Which would be a bananas high number if the last week or so didn’t happen. Our hospitalizations are up again to 293 (+19). 109 (+3) in the ICU. 49 people went into the hospital, making our 7-day average 44.6.

Stay safe, y’all.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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