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How some Austin hospitals are preparing for possible second wave of COVID-19 cases

Dr. Devry Anderson joined KVUE to talk about what St. David's hospitals are doing to prepare for a possible second wave.

AUSTIN, Texas — There are currently eight different vaccines that are in human trials around the world to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are not ready yet. Without a vaccine, health experts warn that it is not a matter of if we will see a second wave of coronavirus cases, but when.

More than 34,000 cases have been reported in Texas as of May 7, and according to the State Health Department, more than 900 Texans have died from the virus.

Dr. Devry Anderson, who is the chief medical officer at St. David's South Austin Medical Center, joined KVUE to talk about what St. David's hospitals are doing to prepare for the possible second wave.

"We at St. David's Healthcare have been going everything we can to ensure preparedness for any increase in patients in our region," Anderson said. "Our hospitals have a surge plan. We are working closely by monitoring the pandemic models to determine whether or not we will need to enact a number of scenarios."

RELATED: Austin mayor Steve Adler says he's 'concerned' about second spike in COVID-19 cases

The scenarios include things such as ensuring hospitals have the appropriate number of caregivers, the appropriate number of protective gear and programmatic systems in place to make sure infection prevention is within the hospitals, Anderson explained.

When it comes to making sure hospitals are clean and patients and visitors are safe, Anderson told KVUE St. David's hospitals are doing the following: 

  • Limiting access points for patients, health care providers and staff
  • Having temperature checks at all access points
  • Cleaning or removing "high-touch" items such as elevator buttons and doorknobs
  • Having masks for all patients and visitors, which is "above and beyond CDC recommendations"

Anderson gave some advice to anyone who is hesitant to go to the hospital for a procedure.

"I would encourage people that aside from being home, the hospital is the safest place that you can be because of the measures we have in place," the doctor said. "It is dangerous to delay potentially life-saving care due to anxieties we all have surrounding COVID-19."

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COVID-19 patients at St. David's hospitals are seen in a separate care area and non-COVID-19 patients are seen by different caregivers than those caring for coronavirus patients.

Anderson added that the latest treatments are available to all St. David's patients, and said it's important for everyone to do everything they can to prevent a second spike in cases.

WATCH: Mayor Adler says he's 'concerned' about second spike in COVID-19 cases

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