The Travis County Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott warns of increased COVID-19 restrictions in up to two weeks.
Speaking with the Travis County Commissioners Court, Dr. Escott explained the reason for the expected jump into Stage 4, from the current stage three is two fold.
First, Dr. Escott says the County is seeing cases, infections and hospitalizations continue to rise, nothing that the exceptions for the 7-day moving average will surpass 40 around Thanksgiving. Second, he is seeing a vulnerability in our hospital staffing levels.
Dr. Escott explains, during the last COVID-19 surge of cases, local hospitals were stressed with about 170 cases in the ICU. Over the summer planning process, they had believed they could handle 350 ICU beds. So, he believes it is more likely they could handle about 200 instead. With this in mind, he is considering lowing the bar for the county to drift into Stage 4 restrictions.
The Health Authority warns if Travis County Residents don’t act now, both Thanksgiving and Christmas will look bad, adding, “unless we change our ways very quickly, I don’t see us being in stage 2 anytime in 2020.”