Hospitals have little remaining availability in ICU beds.
In a Austin Public Health weekly COVID-19 update earlier this afternoon, Dr. Mark Escott expounded upon the rising cases of COVID-19 in the state capital. To curb further escalation, Dr. Escott warned that the city would potentially implement a curfew by the end of the week.
Last week, Austin Public Health officially declared that the City of Austin had entered a Stage 5 risk level. Today, Dr. Escott announced that the capital would “enter 2021 in a state of emergency.”
The level of cases in Austin are so severe, Dr. Escott said, that the city could run out of hospital bed in one-to-two weeks:
“When I say a ‘state of emergency,’ I mean we will start 2021 with our hospitals full or nearly full. We’re talking about the possibility of, within the first two weeks of 2021, further exceeding that capacity,” he said.
In the current stage of risk, Austin Public Health recommends that the public avoid all gatherings outside of the household, and to avoid dining and shopping except as essential. Additionally, the guidelines encourage wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, and opting for contactless business options only, i.e. curbside delivery.
“Unfortunately, we’ve seen an even more significant impact on our ICUs with a 62% increase in ICU utilization in the past last week alone,” Dr. Escott said.
If the trend continues, Dr. Escott said, the city would have to discuss the possibility of a curfew:
“We are going to have further discussions about the possibility of a curfew now towards the end of this week to try to help mitigate that risk,” he said. “We don’t have much capacity left in our hospitals.”