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All but one patient in Ascension Seton ICU unvaccinated


As ICUs reach capacity with the third ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases, local officials are further pushing residents to get vaccinated.

During a Friday morning COVID update hosted by Travis County Judge Andy Brown, Dr. John David Hinze, pulmonary critical care specialist at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, said the hospital group is being overrun with COVID patients who are unvaccinated. Only one patient in the ICU is vaccinated after getting the vaccine following a positive COVID test, Hinze said.

Hinze said hospital staff, nurses and docters are overwhelmed as the Delta variant proves to be "a meaner virus."

"It's now affecting people we thought didn't have bad infections, like teenagers and 20-year-olds," Hinze said, adding the age range for those in the ICU is 19-74.

(Austin Public Health)

Ascension Seton is now having to make difficult decisions on who gets ECMO treatment, a machine that pumps out a critically ill patient's blood into an artificial heart and body to give the lungs rest time. Hinze said it has saved lives before, but it is an extremely limited capability that is reserved for the young and pregnant.

Two young women were treated at Ascension Seton this week with ECMO. "We're not going to offer it to a 35-year-old male—how sad is that, we're having to make those kinds of ethical decisions," Hinze said.

As hospitals and local officials push everyone to get vaccinated, Hinze told a story in which an ICU patient said he was terrified before being intubated. "You know how you keep from being terrified, you get the vaccine and help us end this pandemic," Hinze said at the press conference.

Pregnant women have been of particular concern to health leaders as they are heading to the hospital more with COVID complications in this surge.

Dr. Jeny Ghartey, maternal medical director at Ascension Seton, said 100% of pregnant women hospitalized are unvaccinated.

CDC data shows pregnancy is an independent risk factor for severe COVID illness. Ghartey said, pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to:

  • be admitted to ICU
  • need machinery to help them breathe
  • die compared to nonpregnant women
Pregnant women are urged to get vaccinated to avoid adverse pregnancy outcomes after getting COVID-19 such as preterm birth.

She dispelled myths that the vaccine affects the placenta and infertility, saying there is not evidence that supports those notions.

No one would be in my ICU (if everyone was vaccinated)," Hinze said. "This is an overwhelming surge and we're right at capacity in our ICU."


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway