Facilities to open in Travis, Williamson counties for elderly COVID-19 patients

COVID-19 continues to gain a foothold in Central Texas.

Travis County is reporting 206 cases with two deaths and Williamson County is reporting 41 cases and one death. “I would like to suggest that the public just assume it’s everywhere at this point,” said Dr. Laim Fry with Austin Public Health.

Austin Public Health is working on a way to protect the most vulnerable in the community, the elderly, as the mortality rate is higher than other populations. “Rates at 30% some would say even higher and we absolutely want and need to avoid that in our community,” said Fry.

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Fry is with the nursing home task force where they will be opening up two facilities, one in Travis County and one in Williamson County, totaling 100 beds for elderly COVID-19 patients who do not need hospitalization but need medical assistance.

“By having these facilities up and running before we have a surge in population that we would really be able to better protect our residents then other communities have been able to,” said Fry.

These facilities would be run similar to a nursing home. “There would be some restrictions, staff that work in one of these facilities would not be allowed to go into another facility,” said Fry.

By doing this, Austin Public Health hopes to also ease the burden on hospitals for patients who need to be hospitalized.

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“They would be able to take those patients from the hospital as well as other nursing rooms and hospitals to allow us to safely take care of them at the same time keep those patients separate from the other nursing home patients where we have a couple thousand in our community,” said Fry. 

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As more cases of COVID-19 are reported daily they expect to use out of these facilities soon. “Within one to two to even three weeks we will see them with a significant amount of patients based on the mathematical model we’ve seen from UT Dell and UT Austin,” said Fry.

Fry says they are already pursuing more options should these two facilities reach capacity.


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