Hospital admissions rise in Travis County, potentially surpassing Stage 5 threshold

During Tuesday’s Travis County Commissioners Court meeting, Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott displayed his office’s latest hospital admissions numbers. The chart showed more than 70 rolling 7-day average hospital admissions, a number that Dr. Escott said could trigger a Stage 5.

However, Escott learned the data may not be accurate because some hospitals weren’t including patients who were already admitted and tested positive for COVID-19. 

“We are still doing a little work on this to determine if the numbers are accurate and we expect to update this on the dashboard tonight as well as the potential in a change for stage for surpassing that 70 mark,” said Dr. Escott.


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Escott also attributed the delay in data to a lag in test results. Commissioner Brigid Shea inquired about how the data is being received. The agency is still processing faxed test results.

“You are getting the fax more quickly than the electronic transmission of the test results?” said Shea. “This is a nightmare.”

Access to COVID-19 testing remains a concern. Commissioner Jeff Travillion stressed the need to have testing available in areas showing a great need like Pflugerville. Dr. Escott said the agency is working with CommUnity Care to target test in areas that can handle the traffic.

RELATED: CommUnityCare asks people with health insurance to find alternative COVID-19 testing

This week the city opened up two new walkup/drive-thru testing sites in East Austin: one at the Southeast Branch Library and the other at the Little Walnut Creek Branch Library on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Anyone interested will need to register on the city’s website.

Gloria Vera-Bedolla called into the commissioner's meeting to share a story about her son’s difficulty getting tested. She said he traveled to six different testing sites across Austin until one received him in Pflugerville at 2 a.m. 

RELATED: Austin Public Health addressing steps being taken to curb spread of COVID-19

“I have congestive heart failure and he broke my heart not to be able to be there for my son,” Vera-Bedolla said. “There has to be better ways to do this. There has to be testing where my brown child can feel confident to say you know what these people are going to help me.”


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