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COVID in Austin Update (July 10)

Governor is in a jam.

Politics

I’ve been critical of Governor Abbott and his response to the pandemic. He acted slow in the beginning, relying on local officials to try to contain it. Then, he swooped in, removed local officials’ authority, and did what they were doing—taking credit for it along the way. Then, he reopened too early, reopened more too quickly, said he’d use data, then didn’t, and make it all a political thing with the salon owners. Now, he’s doing too little too late.

Of course, once he mandates masks, 4 county GOP parties have censured him for it. He’s damned either way. Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn—who has accused me of being against free speech—sat for an interview where he stated he wasn’t sure if kids could get the disease and that “no one under 20 has died from it” on why schools should open in the Fall. Heaven help us.

As of tonight, I haven’t heard any news out of the Texas Supreme Court regarding the State GOP Convention lawsuit. The first meetings were to be Monday, so the GOP is looking for a quick response.

The State of Texas

Technically important but practically not, Gov. Abbott extended the disaster declaration in Texas for another month. His emergency powers are only in play with a declaration in effect and they only last 30 days without being renewed. This is him just resetting the 30-day clock.

Today, Fiesta San Antonio announced that their April-delayed-until-November 2020 event would not happen this year at all. This was after the Dallas-based Texas State Fair held in the fall (during which the Texas-Oklahoma game is played) will also not be held in 2020.

In terms of new cases, we saw 9,765 today. A little less than yesterday

We also had 95 die in the last da after yesterday’s record 105. As a reminder, Texas only counts a death when there is a lab-confirmed positive test. If someone dies at home or before a test is sent off, they may not be counted. And we may be really undercounting them.

We set a new record with statewide hospitalizations at 10,002.

Governor Abbott told KLBK in Lubbock that those passing away generally caught the virus in late May and that things are going to get worse before they get better. He said to expect next week to have higher numbers across the board. He’s also throwing around “lockdown” more as something we can expect to see.

Abbott’s extending the declaration and warning of it’s going to get worse. Current deaths are those who caught covid at the end of May. Lockdowns will come if things don’t turn around.

We’re going to see more national news and headlines that isn’t good looking at Texas. We’re already seeing ambulances being turned away from hospitals whose ERs are full because there is no room to send folks upstairs to the ICU.

The State of Travis County (Austin)

How are hospitals in other areas of the state dealing with their filling hospitals? Austin has received requests from hospitals, namely in the Rio Grande Valley, to take patients from there. Austin Public Health reported that it is up to each hospital how to respond to those requests.

The hospital systems did report that they’re at 86% ICU capacity as of this afternoon.

In terms of numbers, Austin saw 440 new cases today and 7 deaths. This puts us with the highest 7-day rolling average we’ve seen at 4.57/day.

Our hospitalizations dipped again. Net -2 to 438. The 7d average is still increasing, but we’ve been slowing dropping for four days now. 133 (+1) are in the ICU and 88 (-3) are on ventilators.

We saw 66 new hospitalization admissions today.

Our hospitalizations dipping over the last few days is giving me some cautiously optimistic hope. Maybe misplaced, but I’ll take it.

Keep wearing those masks.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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