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."