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Austin metro sees record-breaking hospitalizations, ICU admissions due to COVID

Austin broke its previous record with 620 patients in the hospital due to COVID on Friday. (Shutterstock)

The Austin metro has surpassed its January record with 620 people hospitalized for COVID as of Friday, more than its previous high of 619 during the winter surge.

Austin Public Health also reported a new record of patients on ventilators, with 162 in use. On Wednesday, the metro saw 223 ICU admissions as well, an all-time high. That number has dropped to 222, while just three ICU beds in the 11-county Central Texas region are now available.

Austin sits comfortably in the Stage 5 range, the highest stage of risk-based recommendations, with 753 daily new cases on Friday as the highly-contagious delta variant continues to send mostly unvaccinated residents to the hospital.

The county would need to drop between 30-50 new hospitalizations per a seven-day daily average to downgrade to Stage 4 recommendations. Travis County currently has a seven-day moving average of 78 hospital admissions.

Austin's new cases rose to 3,207 active cases on Friday, up from 2,983 one day prior, while Texas reported 11,762 new cases. The state has seen 29 COVID-related deaths this week.

While hospitalizations seem to be beginning to increase at lower rates, City of Austin Chief Epidemiologist Janette Pichette said things could continue to get worse before they get better.

"As history has shown based on H1N1 and other viruses, I anticipate we will continue to see cases increases over the next few weeks before things get better," Pichette said.

Despite the continued rise of hospitalizations, the state of Texas is still well below its hospitalization record of 14,218 patients in January with 12,841 hospitalized Friday.

The state has also seen improved vaccination rates. As of Friday, 66.34% of Texans 12 and older had received at least one does of the vaccine, up from 64.76% one week prior.

In Travis County, 1.38% of the eligible population received a dose of the vaccine from Aug. 13 to Friday. Around 65.6% of the eligible population is now fully vaccinated.


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