DATA: With COVID cases up 184%, Round Rock hospitals near capacity

Five ICU beds are available across hospitals in Round Rock as of June 29. In the next 10 to 14 days, an anticipated 20-21 ICU beds will be needed for an expected influx of patients.
Five ICU beds are available across hospitals in Round Rock as of June 29. In the next 10 to 14 days, an anticipated 20-21 ICU beds will be needed for an expected influx of patients. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Five ICU beds are available across hospitals in Round Rock as of June 29. In the next 10 to 14 days, an anticipated 20-21 ICU beds will be needed for an expected influx of patients. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Between June 1 and 30, cumulative cases of the coronavirus increased 183.88% in Round Rock, from 304 on June 1 to 863 on June 30. With COVID-19 infections climbing in Round Rock and throughout Williamson County, the city's health care system is bracing for a possible surge of four times as many intensive care unit patients as empty ICU beds.

Five ICU beds are available across Round Rock’s hospitals as of June 29, said Deb Strahler, Williamson County and Cities Health District spokesperson.

In the next 10 to 14 days, an anticipated 20-21 ICU beds will be needed to accommodate an expected influx of patients, she said. Strahler added that bed counts can fluctuate with the shifting of hospital resources.

Beyond ICU capacity, the general portions of Round Rock hospitals are filling up as well. At this time, 74%, or nearly three of every four hospital beds are in use in Round Rock, Strahler said. Comparatively, 64%, or around two of every three hospital beds are in use countywide. Not every bed currently in use in both Round Rock and Williamson County is affiliated with the coronavirus.

More people are currently sick with the coronavirus than have recovered from it. As of June 30, there are 417 active cases in Round Rock. Active cases are those where individuals have been diagnosed with COVID-19 but have not recovered or passed away due to the disease. Meanwhile, 402 people in Round Rock have recovered from COVID-19, and 25 have died from complications of the virus, according to WCCHD data.

Williamson County’s positivity testing rate, the rate at which total tests conducted return positive, is currently 11.4%, the highest rate recorded in the pandemic’s three-month period thus far.

In response to the rapid rate of infections and hospitalization, the city of Round Rock enacted an emergency ordinance requiring face coverings in public. In a special meeting called June 29, Round Rock City Council declared a public health emergency and unanimously passed an ordinance under city charter that requires individuals age 10 and older to wear a face covering while in public.


“If we stay on the current trajectory, our hospitals are going to be nearing capacity in a number of days,” Council Member Matt Baker said prior to voting in favor of the ordinance.


As part of council’s actions, businesses are also required to display a notice of the ordinance. The ordinance goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. June 30 and will continue through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 28.

Failure to comply with the ordinance will result in a verbal or written warning for first violations, followed by fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 on subsequent violations. Exceptions to the ordinance include when engaging in physical activity, eating, drinking or being outside with a group of members from a single household, per ordinance language.

"I’m asking the community to come together during this tough, tough time not only for our own health but for the health of our community," Mayor Craig Morgan said June 29.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


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