I hope everyone has had a nice holiday weekend.
A few news items that caught my eye:
- Williamson County (Georgetown/Round Rock) did not have a data update yesterday or today due to system upgrades, so expect an abnormal from them tomorrow.
- Mayor Adler (Austin) was on WFAA in Dallas and proposed a 35-day lockdown. This is something he doesn’t have the authority to do with the governor’s orders, but he’s part of a choir of local officials asking Governor Abbott to reverse his previous declarations limiting local officials.
- There’s some research indicating the strain of the virus in Houston is a mutation that spreads easier. It doesn’t make you sicker, just spreads easier. Personally, I take a lot of this with a grain of salt at this stage. Research is hard and takes time. Often, studies will contradict each other in the beginning while science figures out the right variables and whatnot. It’s interesting to me, but I don’t take something like this as hard and fast fact. In either event, with the spread we’re seeing and the rate of infections/hospitalizations, my suggestion is the same either way—stay home as much as possible and always wear a mask.
- Hospitals in the Rio Grande Valley area are still in a critical state. 10 of the 12 hospitals in the RGV area are on “diversion status”, meaning they are directing patients elsewhere. COVID cases in their hospitals tripled to over 800 in the last two weeks.
- Speaking of hospitals, Mayor Adler is saying we have about 10 days worth of capacity in Austin ICUs at the current rate of usage. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of these estimates, but the underlying point that our caseload and hospitalization is growing an a rate we can’t maintain is correct.
- Gov. Abbott can’t win. He opened too early, waited too late for masks, and still hasn’t empowered local officials enough (at least he can do that, right?), but he was censured by the Ector County (Odessa) Republican Party for his mask mandate.
State of Texas
As expected, with the holiday, the testing data is going to be weird.
On the state-level, the bottom fell out as we dropped to 3,449 new cases, the lowest in two weeks. Austin saw a similar drop yesterday, but given today’s local numbers, I’d bet the state’s numbers will spring back up tomorrow.
Hospitalizations set another new record at 8,181.
Travis County (Austin)
Yesterday’s 122 new cases was definitely related to the holiday as today we saw 548 new cases (5th highest).
New hospitalizations has not returned to Thursday’s record, but still very high: 59 new hospitalizations.
We’ve set new records with 446 in-patients with 72 of them on ventilators. Our ICUs were able to send a few people home, so that dipped down to 137.
I’m curious to see how the holiday weekend will impact that (people waiting longer to go into the ER and are going to be sicker when they get there? Maybe the holidays won’t have any obvious effect. 🤷♂️)