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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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Overcrowded hospitals urge everyone to get vaccinated
Wednesday, September 22, 2021 by Elizabeth Pagano
Though Covid cases are down and 80 percent of eligible Travis County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, public health officials filled in the rest of picture on Monday. In a statement to the media, Austin Public Health and area hospitals warned that the surge isn’t over yet. “Since July, our hospitals in the greater Austin area have had more than 3,500 Covid inpatients, and more than 1,000 of those required care in the Intensive Care Unit. Unlike previous Covid surges, all of the acute care hospitals were very full with non-Covid care when this surge started. ICUs across the Austin area are now completely full, and many hospitals are surging beyond their licensed ICU space to provide ICU-level care to Covid patients in need,” officials wrote. “The vast majority of these Covid patients are on ventilators, and approximately 90 percent of them are unvaccinated. Generally, patients who have been hospitalized during this surge are sicker and staying in the hospital longer.” In addition, the mortality rate for hospitalized Covid patients is higher and approaching 10 percent. Due to the overcrowding, patients from area hospitals who would normally be transferred to receive complex care have not been helped. To ensure that care can be available for all who need it, officials urged everyone 12 years or older to get vaccinated, wear a mask and practice social distancing.