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Austin area hits pandemic low of 1 ICU bed available for 11 counties

As of Aug. 15, there was one ICU bed available for the 11-county Trauma Service Area O.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin area hit a pandemic low for ICU bed availability over the weekend.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of Sunday, Aug. 15, there was one ICU bed available for the Trauma Service Area O. That's the trauma service area for the 11-county region surrounding and including Austin. TSA O serves 2.3 million people.

Last week, the service area had reached a pandemic low of two ICU beds.

The City of Austin is one day behind in its reporting of ICU bed availability.

There are currently around 200 people in the ICU with COVID-19. The seven-day moving average of new hospital admissions for COVID-19 is 79, and an average of 569 people are hospitalized, according to Austin's COVID-19 dashboard.

A senior staff physician at Baylor Scott & White is asking people to leave the emergency rooms open for emergencies, as some Texas ERs and ICUs have available staffed bed counts in the single digits. She said to consult with your primary care physician or go to an urgent care facility if you're not facing an emergency.  

Here are some examples of emergencies that should be addressed in an emergency room:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Deep cuts
  • Chest pain
  • Change in thinking or confusion
  • Going into labor
  • Car wreck
  • Sudden change in use of arms or legs

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