Recent COVID-19 spike draws concern from local hospitals

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Central Texas is drawing concerns from local hospitals. 

"Unfortunately the Delta variant is a lot more infectious than we’ve seen with other strains and it’s spreading through the community very rapidly," said Dr. Rob Watson, chief medical officer at Baylor Scott & White Health-Greater Austin region.

The mountain of new cases had already put Williamson County in the Red Phase and in Travis County, Austin Mayor Steve Adler warned they could enter the last stage. 

"The number of admissions that’s being reported tonight (Tuesday) is 60 which gets us in the possible range for the health administrator to put is into stage 5 which is red, just days after we’ve gone into stage 4," said Adler.

At Baylor Scott & White, Dr. Watson said they will be limiting visitors once again like they did last year during the pandemic.

"We’re basically taking a step backwards to institute these visitor limitations that we had before because as you mentioned cases are going up," he said.

Patients at their facilities not being tested for COVID-19 will be allowed one visitor at a time, while patients in the pediatric unit will be allowed 2. Masks will still be required for those wishing to visit. 

"Every person, whether it be a visitor or not, is a potential exposure. What we have to do is maintain a safe environment for our patients and we have to maintain a safe environment for a staff so that they’re healthy and able to care for their patients," said Dr. Watson.

Dr. Watson said their biggest push is to continue to get people to vaccinate. Baylor, Scott & White is urging those who are still hesitant to talk with their doctor to get more information on it. 

"The first thing I would say is the vaccine is safe. You’ve seen in the US alone give over 300 million vaccines and the safety has been shown," said Dr. Watson.

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