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COVID in Austin Update (July 11)

Study indicates long-term impact for once-hospitalized patients.

Medical

I mentioned yesterday or a couple days ago about the “Your local epidemiologist” that I follow on Facebook. She shared a very interesting study.

The study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked 143 individuals who were released from the hospital, who now tested negative to see how they were doing ~60 days later. Only 13% had no symptoms. The majority had 3 or more symptoms still (none had fever indicating an active infection). Here’s the results section of the abstract:

Patients were assessed a mean of 60.3 (SD, 13.6) days after onset of the first COVID-19 symptom; at the time of the evaluation, only 18 (12.6%) were completely free of any COVID-19–related symptom, while 32% had 1 or 2 symptoms and 55% had 3 or more. None of the patients had fever or any signs or symptoms of acute illness. Worsened quality of life was observed among 44.1% of patients. The Figure shows that a high proportion of individuals still reported fatigue (53.1%), dyspnea (43.4%), joint pain, (27.3%) and chest pain (21.7%).

This is different than the flu.

Statewide

The Texas Tribune covered more in-depth what I talked about yesterday concerning Governor Abbott’s political struggle needing to act more while getting flack for it.

On the State GOP convention front, the Republican Attorney General’s office through the Solicitor General to support the City of Houston. (It’ll be available after the SCOTX website does the nightly update. See the briefs at the bottom for the eventually-will-work link).

On the topic of Houston, I didn’t see anything particularly notable new. A couple weeks ago, the forecasts suggested that Houston could become the most impacted city—overtaking New York if the trend continued—and there’s a little about that in this Twitter thread.

Down in the Rio Grande Valley, Hidalgo County (Edinburg/McAllen), the 7th most populous county in Texas, is getting hit hard. The San Antonio Express-News covers the story, including 20 deaths and 1,274 cases being reported in a day. As mentioned yesterday, the hospitals down there have requested hospital beds in Austin to send patients.

In terms of cases and deaths, we passed 250,000 total cases with a single-day record new cases for Texas today. 10,351 new cases.

We saw 99 new deaths in the last day. Our positivity rate set a new record at 15.81%.

We set a new record for hospitalizations of 10,083.

Austin

Austin ISD released a video about the current plan for the next school year.

As previously shared, there will be a 100% virtual and a 100% physical option offered. There’s no mention of a hybrid option, so I’m assuming that’s currently off the table coupled with the TEA documentation not explaining how hybrid funding would work.

Some notable things from the videos: School buses that usually hold 60 kids would be limited to 12-14. For teachers who “can’t” teach in-person, they will be augmenting virtual learning. The video didn’t define what “can’t” means—can teachers opt-out or for those who are older or with pre-existing conditions? It wasn’t clear.

On the health front, Austin Public Health, using federal funding, has purchased 1,000 oximeters that they’ll distribute to folks who are recovering at-home from the virus who are at a higher risk to help them self-monitor. One thing we’ve seen are people who seem to be doing okay can quickly go downhill and one indicator that someone appears healthy who won’t be long is their blood-oxygen levels.

On the data front, frankly, it was a pretty good day.

“Only” 318 new cases, continuing the decline from 753 on the 8th. We declined by 3 the number in the hospital to 435. We increased the ICU census by 1, but one less on a ventilator.

The sad news is two more people died in the last day.

With the holiday last weekend, I don’t want to put too much stock of the microtrend of the past couple days. I hope it continues, but in either case, this doesn’t mean anything in terms of being able to loosen up. We were doing okay, then we reopened too early. We can’t do that again.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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