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COVID in Austin Update (July 24)

Sorry for missing yesterday! My wife had an urgent surgery yesterday—they waited until the next day to do the surgery, so I guess “emergency” isn’t the right term?

I’m going to reverse order and start with the numbers today.

Travis County (Austin)

I want to start on a solemn note. Today, we had 12 deaths, the highest single-day report and the first time we had a double-digit report. After 7 deaths yesterday, our 7-day rolling average is 6.4 deaths per day.

Continuing the trend, while our deaths are the longest-lag so are only now going up after our earlier hospitalization spike, the most of our numbers continue to trend well.

July 23July 24
New Cases243238
Inpatients438423 (lowest since July 3)
ICU150148
Ventilators111 (record)102 (sadly, this decline is likely related to our death count)
New Hospital Admits5647 (7d-avg down to 57.3, lowest since June 27)
Deaths712 (record)

Austin Public Health did report to KXAN that over 90 infants have tested positive in Travis County. I share it only to say that people of all ages can catch the virus. I don’t think it is anything to be scared about.

State of Texas

Similar to the Austin report, deaths are high. 196 deaths today in Texas from COVID-19, one under the record from two days ago. We’ve now had 4,717 die in Texas from it. Over 550 of them in the last three days alone. Looking at the 2017 data and same when exploring the 2018 data, this would put COVID-19 at the 8th highest cause of death in the state and we still have a lot of year left.

On the data front, annoyingly, due to the federal data reporting changes, we apparently don’t know how many people are in the hospital in Texas anymore.

For the last two days, DSHS indicated they had incomplete data from hospitals. So, we know that at least 10,036 people were in the hospital today with lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19. The state does not have 10% of hospitals reporting data.

10,036 is about 50 under the record from a couple days ago, so we are probably continuing to hold relatively steady from the statewide view.

On the positivity rate front, we’re at 13.73% statewide (based on a 7-day rolling average). Our ideal is ~5% and our “alarm status” starts at 10%, so we’re still too high. It’s better, though, than the 17.43% we saw on July 16th.

We had 8,701 new cases which looks like the state, as a whole, may be starting in the right direction (masks work!)

New cases by day (bar) and 7-day average (line)

I’ve said a few times things like “the state, as a whole”, because Texas is a big state and we’re not uniform in how the virus is impacting our communities. The Rio Grande Valley and Corpus are still getting hit hard.

Corpus Christi is also now having to deal with what will likely be Hurricane Hanna coming in tomorrow afternoon and the track looks like it’ll move over the RGV afterwards. If this was a weather blog, I’d mention this is the earliest we’ve had an “H”-named storm, beating out the previous record holder–Harvey.

Education

Just in brief. Harris County (Houston) has officially delayed in-person instruction until after Labor Day after previously only suggesting it.

Dallas, while delaying in-person instruction through a county order, is seeing their Catholic schools going back early. The Texas Attorney General issued an opinion that religious schools were exempt from local orders (in line with Governor Abbott’s exclusion of religious worship from pandemic orders).

No Evictions in Austin

After Travis County banned evictions, Austin followed suit. Evictions—unless the order is modified—can not resume until September 30th.

Austin Convention Center Field Hospital

The ACCFH, as I call it, is now ready to be activated. It is fully ready to take in 100 patients, but since our hospitalizations have—knock on wood—appeared to have peaked, we’re all hopeful that it won’t be needed. Of course, UT dorms are still expected to open in less than a month and we’ve seen how fast things can change.

Wear A Mask

A bit of language, but I appreciated this take.

By Brandon Kraft

My life is an open-source book.

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