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Austin-area Covid-19 hospitalizations hit one-day record, seven-day average now tops 20

Monday, June 15, 2020 by Marisa Charpentier, KUT

A record of 30 new Covid-19 hospital admissions was reported in the Austin area Sunday evening. The seven-day moving average of new admissions increased to 20.6.

Austin Public Health has been warning that the average – which has been rising since June 9 – needs to remain below 20. Otherwise the area will move into Stage 4 of APH’s Covid-19 risk-based guidelines and more restrictions will be necessary to slow the spread of the disease and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler is expected to renew the city’s Stay Home-Work Safe order, which is set to expire Monday night. He told KUT Friday that if the area does get to Stage 4, the city would appeal to the governor to make face masks and social distancing in public an enforceable requirement, or at least allow local jurisdictions to enforce those rules.

“Somebody is going to have to enforce those provisions and convince the community that it’s actually serious and it’s real, or else … the number of hospitalizations will continue to increase,” Adler said. “And then we’re going to have to take more drastic action in terms of restraining the opening of the economy or we’ll overrun the hospitals.”

On Saturday, Gov. Greg Abbott pushed back against a San Antonio leader with similar demands, saying it’s “wrong to deprive someone of their liberty” by forcing Texans to wear masks, despite health officials’ insistence that face coverings reduce virus transmission, preventing deaths.

“I don’t believe that government should mandate to make sure that every person must wear a mask or otherwise face a fine or go to jail,” Abbott said.

As of Sunday evening, 129 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell and Hays). Fifty-two are in intensive care units and 29 are on ventilators.

Travis County saw 147 new cases on Saturday, and 84 on Sunday.

The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations across the state reached its highest point yet on Sunday with 2,287 people currently in Texas hospitals. That’s 45 more hospitalizations than on Saturday.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports there are still 14,660 available hospital beds in the state, including 1,597 ICU beds, as well as 5,843 ventilators.

There were 2,331 new cases reported in Texas on Saturday and 1,843 on Sunday. Eighteen new fatalities were reported Saturday and 19 on Sunday.

Certain parts of the latest phase of Abbott’s plan to reopen the Texas economy went into effect over the weekend. Restaurants are now able to offer dine-in service at 75 percent, up from 50 percent.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT.

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