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Austin hospitals say plans in place for influx of patients, but don't release many details

On Friday, three hospital systems with locations in Austin released a joint statement acknowledging a plan if patient numbers increase rapidly.

AUSTIN, Texas — A day after the University of Texas released models regarding the effect of social distancing, three Austin hospitals said they each have a "surge plan," but they did not release specific details about them.

In a statement from Baylor Scott & White, Ascension Seton and St. David's, a spokesperson said the hospitals are preparing if there is an influx of patients.

Here is the full statement:

"Every one of our hospitals has a surge plan specific to that facility, and we continue to review and revise those plans based on what is happening within our community, as well as what we’re seeing happening in communities that have already seen large COVID-19 outbreaks. Our surge plans include the utilization of all available patient care space within our hospitals and in other settings across our healthcare systems. This includes the conversion and/or retrofitting of certain functions in the available space to accommodate this patient population. In addition to physical space, the plans also address the equipment that will be needed, as well as the appropriate redeployment of our staff to ensure we are maximizing the use of our greatest resource, which is our people.

We are pleased local leaders have issued a ‘shelter in place’ order, as it is the best defense we have for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our community and healthcare workers during this unprecedented pandemic.

Many people have asked what they can do to ease capacity demands on hospitals and lessen the impact to healthcare workers on the frontlines. The single most important thing the community can do to help is to follow orders from local leaders and stay home, keeping a distance of at least six feet from people outside your household. But in order for it to work, everyone must comply.

Collectively, we will do what it takes to meet the needs of this community. The situation continues to evolve each day, and we will adapt, as necessary, but we need your help in order to have a fighting chance at overcoming this pandemic. The sooner we act, the safer our community will be."

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When KVUE asked if each hospital could provide specifics, each declined.

On Sunday, March 22, Gov. Greg Abbott announced new executive orders to free up "countless hospital beds" in anticipation of the steady rise of positive coronavirus cases.

To accommodate more patients, doctors have said repeatedly they will soon need personal protective equipment. Texas State University announced Friday the school will be sending any extra masks and ventilators to area hospitals to help.

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