Austin Convention Center COVID-19 care site discharges last patients

Saturday, March 20 the City of Austin announced the Austin-Travis County Alternate Care Site located at the Austin Convention Center discharged the last remaining patients.

The city said the ACS stopped receiving new patients on March 8 as hospitalization cases continued to decline. 

The ACS, opened in partnership between the City of Austin, Travis County, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM), was established during the Summer of 2020 to provide acute care for patients but sat idle until January 12, 2021.

During the winter surge, the ACS opened to take COVID-19 positive patients to lessen the burden on hospitals caring for patients needing a higher level of care. The city said patients from across the Central Texas region were admitted to the facility. 



"The Alternate Care Site was a critical asset to help our healthcare system remain stable," said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. "We are thankful to the state and all the contracted staff that worked at the facility to care for residents from across Central Texas." 

The final patient remaining at the ACS was discharged Saturday.

The city says the ACS served a total of 215 patients during its operation, with an average length of stay of approximately 12 days. While most patients came from Travis County, the ACS also cared for patients from across Central Texas, the final tally had patients coming from 11 different counties. 

"We are happy to see the facility is no longer needed. The power to never need a COVID-19 Alternate Care Site again is in the community’s hands," said Dr. Jason Pickett, Austin-Travis County Alternate Health Authority. "It is more important than ever to get the vaccine when you are eligible. As a community we must continue to wear a mask, wash our hands frequently, and watch our distance. Doing this will keep us out of another surge in cases." 

TDEM said the supplies and materials used for operations at the ACS will be dismantled and stored at a different location and will be able to be utilized again should cases increase.

TDEM has indicated that staffing would again be available if the facility needed to open again.