Austin-Travis County is still in Stage 4, but Mayor Steve Adler said we are close to entering Stage 5.
"We are precariously poised right on the edge between four and five. You know, the decision ultimately made on the advice of the doctors and the scientists taking a look at the models and the trends and where we are and what risk we face for having our hospitals overwhelmed right now," Adler told KVUE's Bryan Mays. "Most important, their ICU use. You know, three weeks ago, we were just screaming in a trajectory and the community has to change their behaviors and slowed things down considerably. We added 17 new people to our intensive care units yesterday. That's over 10% of the COVID-19 population in our ICUs."
There are plans to possibly use the Austin Convention Center as an overflow facility for patients. Adler said he hopes it's not used.
"My hope is that the community continues to rally, we accelerate our efforts and we don't have to use it. But there's a four-week standup time for a facility like that. Three weeks ago, we made the decision to go ahead and proceed and stand it up, in part, based on the trajectory that we were facing three weeks ago," he said. "If people continue to wear masks, if we wear them even better than we are right now, if we social distance even better than we are right now, we increase the chances we won't need that facility, but we are on the edge."
As Texas morgues fill up, refrigerator trucks are on the way to several counties in Texas, including Travis County. Travis County Public Information Officer Hector Nieto said Austin and Travis County are "in the process of procuring a refrigerated truck to face the surge in COVID-19 deaths."
Simply put, Adler said he's hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.
"Well, the truth is that we are planning for surges at all levels and in all ways. And again, you know, hopefully, we don't get to that place. But if we do, we have to be prepared," Adler said. "So, we're making arrangements for that kind of surge, as with all other surges."
The mayor added that he's not sure if there is a refrigerator truck in Austin-Travis County at the moment.
"I think it might be, but I know we are planning for that kind of surge capacity. I just don't know if it's actually here yet or not," he said.
You can watch Adler's full interview on KVUE's YouTube channel.
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