AUSTIN, Texas — On June 16, Gov. Greg Abbott updated the public on Texas' hospital capacity in a press conference.
According to the University of Texas' Dr. John Zerwas, the Austin area has a total of 3,250 beds. Of those 3,250 beds, 910, approximately 28%, are available. There are a total of 125 total ICU beds available in the region and a total of 1,449 hospital surge beds available. Additionally, there are 137 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the region.
He said people ages 30 and younger are testing positive at a higher rate than other age groups.
Gov. Abbott said if standards are being followed in bar-type settings, the spread of COVID-19 should be slowed. He also said the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission should be enforcing these standards.
"Businesses have learned safe strategies both for their employees as well as their customers to make sure that they're preventing the spread of COVID-19," Gov. Abbott said.
Additionally, Gov. Abbott said that most of Texas prison and other congregate populations have been tested, and as testing is completed, the number of new cases in these communities should slow down.
Gov. Abbott said there is an abundant amount of hospital beds available to treat patients with COVID-19. He said COVID-19 continues to exist in Texas and around the world and will continue to exist until there is medicine to treat it.
The governor said the goal of preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed has been achieved. He said most COVID-19 patients don't need to go to a hospital, but if they do, there is a hospital bed available to them.
Gov. Abbott said the state remains focused on maintaining a large hospital capacity.
According to Gov. Abbott, there is only one county in Texas in which COVID-19 patients represent more than 10% of hospital beds that are available: Galveston County. He said that 6.3% of hospital beds occupied in the state of Texas are COVID-19 patients.
Officials also provided the following statistics:
24% of the area's 14,383 beds are available
21% of the area's 12,458 beds are available.
31% of the area's 1,805 beds are available. There are 97 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
26% of the area's 5,799 reported beds are available.
41% of the area's 1,038 beds are available.
"This is where we had some issues with our meatpacking plants," said Zerwas, the executive vice chancellor for health affairs at UT, adding that it's no longer a "hotspot" for the coronavirus.
The governor said the best advice to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to just stay home. He also recommended that people continue wearing masks, frequently wash or sanitize their hands, and to continue practicing social distancing.
Gov. Abbott said the state is more ready to deal with COVID-19 than it was just a few months ago due to better medical practices and treatments.
Abbott's conference comes one day after Austin city leaders held their own press conference where they announced revised City orders as the local coronavirus hospitalization average rises.
In the June 15 press conference, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said the governor has taken away local leader's abilities to enforce COVID-19 restrictions. However, she said she knows that the Austin-Travis County community is ready and willing to take the necessary steps to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler tweeted June 15 that the City extended the "Stay Home, Work Safe" order to Aug. 15. The current order was set to expire on June 15.
The order extension continues the provisions from the previous order, which include wearing fabric face coverings when in public, socially-distancing six feet away from others and practicing excellent hygiene by "washing your hands with soap for 20 seconds, cleaning high touch surfaces, covering sneezes, etc.
Thirty new hospital admissions were reported on June 14, bringing Austin's seven-day moving average to 20. That means that Austin is now in Stage 4 of its risk-based levels. There are five total levels.
Stage 4 recommends that Austinites do the following in order to stop the spread of the virus:
- Practice good hygiene, stay home if you're sick, and avoid other people who are sick
- Maintain social distancing and wear fabric face coverings in public
- Avoid non-essential travel, all social gatherings, and any gatherings of more than two people
Gov. Abbott said there were 2,622 new positive tests in Texas on Tuesday. He said there were 265 new cases in Hays County, but said the two days prior to the report were not reported and instead were batched together in one large report.
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