Travis County reaches 'grim milestone' of 1,000 COVID-19 deaths

Photo of three women wearing masks with bowed heads
Baylor Scott & White Health employees participate in a moment of silence for people affected by COVID-19 on Sept. 3. (Courtesy Baylor Scott & White Health)

Baylor Scott & White Health employees participate in a moment of silence for people affected by COVID-19 on Sept. 3. (Courtesy Baylor Scott & White Health)

Austin Public Health announced Sept. 8 that Travis County had surpassed 1,000 deaths from COVID-19, calling it "another grim milestone" for the community.

The announcement follows a week that saw the most deaths of any time during the coronavirus pandemic with 36 coronavirus patients in the Austin area dying during the week leading up to Sept. 3, according to APH. Twelve of those deaths took place Sept. 2, a tie for the most COVID-19 deaths in a single day in Travis County.


“Almost all of our recent deaths are unvaccinated,” interim APH Director Adrienne Sturrup said in a statement. “When you get vaccinated, you are showing your kids leadership. When you wear a mask, you are teaching them to respect being a part of the collective community. You are instilling values they will carry with them throughout their lives.”

The frequency of deaths and severe cases has remained high in the Austin area despite some improvement in overall hospitalization rates. Austin-area hospitals have a seven-day moving average of 57.4 coronavirus-related hospital admissions per day, down from an Aug. 11 peak of 83.6. However, 205 intensive care unit beds in the area are occupied by COVID-19 patients, surpassing the allotted amount of 200, and the Texas Department of State Health Services reported over Labor Day weekend that Texas Trauma Service Region O, which includes Travis County and 10 other counties, had zero available staffed ICU beds, a first for any time during the pandemic.

"This puts everyone’s wellbeing on the line, whether you are in critical condition from COVID, a car accident or some other medical issue," Austin Mayor Steve Adler said in an emailed letter to constituents. "Certainly, no one should be turned away, so make sure you seek help you need. But being this overloaded impacts the quality of the care that can be received."
By Olivia Aldridge

Reporter, Central Austin

Olivia joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in March 2019. She covers public health, business, development and Travis County government. A graduate of Presbyterian College in South Carolina, Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times.



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