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COVID in Austin Update (July 19)

Military medical personnel deployed to South Texas and the Austin Convention Center field hospital should be ready tomorrow.

Education Beat

While TAPPS—the coordinating body for private schools—announced that Fall sports will begin in late September, we expect UIL—the coordinating body for public schools (and a couple of private schools who have opted into competition against public schools)—will be meeting tomorrow to decide the next plan for Falls sports.

With the Travis County Health Order, the start of the season is already cancelled until after Labor Day.

Send in the Navy!

The Navy has sent medical personnel to south Texas—Harlingen, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Rio Grande City—to augment local staffing due to the crush of hospital patients.

The Austin Convention Center Field Hospital opens tomorrow, but it may not see patients. Thankfully, our hospitalization rate has stopped climbing so fast. Hopefully the field hospital and the extra morgue trailers we have on hand from FEMA aren’t needed.

There was a since-deleted post from someone claiming to be a nurse at St. David’s South Austin Hospital (near S. 1st and 290) who made the situation there sound dire. KVUE confirmed from one of their sources that the details were accurate and reposted the post.

I don’t share this to drive up fear or anything like that. Only that while I talk about numbers on a daily basis, there are real people behind those numbers—not just the 400 and something currently in the hospital, or the 70 a day being admitted into one, or the 200+ people who have died—but those who are maintaining the health care system.

Staying home and wearing a mask helps everyone by keeping people from needing to add more stress on the system yes, but more importantly, the individuals who make up the system.

Support Local Media

Just a quick shout out for KUT.

I’ve been following Matt for awhile and a number of other KUT reporters. While I personally review a lot of the different datasets on a regular basis, I don’t do it daily. I’d miss things like noting that yesterday’s 239—while sounding low—was only based on about 1000 tests, giving us a 24% positivity, which is bananas high.

KUT announced they are starting voluntary furloughs and early retirements due to budget shortfall. As a non-profit public service funded primarily by the community, if you’re a listener and able to donate or donate more, head that way.

State of Texas

  • 7,300 new cases—a big drop, but Sunday/Mondays typically are low due to the weekend.
  • 93 new deaths reported. A bit lower than the last few days, but would have been a record high about a week ago.
  • 15.03% positivity. Lowest we’ve seen in the last 10 days, but still way about the 10% “red alert” line.
  • 10,592 hospitalized. This is stable—only less than 100 fewer than yesterday.

Travis County (Austin)

  • 192 new cases (weekend dip).
  • 0 deaths. First no-death day in about 10 days. Could be lack of reporting due to the weekend.
  • 480 hospitalized.
  • 158 in the ICU—over a week we’ve stayed in the 150s.
  • 110 on ventilators, a new record high.
  • 63 new admissions, making our 7-day average 69.4.

In Closing…

Did y’all see the Fox News interview with President Trump this morning? I try to stay reserved and don’t get too political in these posts.

But, the President is living in a different reality than the rest of the country. Vox reporter Aaron Rupar tweeted out a good number of clips from it—I couldn’t immediately find the full interview on the Fox News website. Click through the Twitter for a full thread of clips.

The claim that our increase of testing is why our numbers are spiking just isn’t true. Yes, our testing has increased, but our number of cases have increased faster. Hospitalization rate isn’t due to testing.

While the New York area, which really got slammed very hard when much of the country was spared, is doing much better, the southern states (at least) are all doing far worse than we were earlier in the pandemic.

Seeing how impacted we all are by this, how strained our medical system is, how supply chain and testing chains are stretched, and seeing that not only is there no leadership coming out of Washington on this topic, but there isn’t even awareness of reality. That’s getting to me maybe even more than the mitigation efforts we’re doing in La Casa de Kraft.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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