With fewer than ten ICU beds and roughly 313 ventilators left available in the metro of 2.4 million people, Austin Public Health Medical Director Desmar Walkes called the situation a potential "catastrophe" and said, "the situation is critical."
"Our hospitals are severely stressed and there is little we can do to alleviate their burden with the surging cases," Walkes said.
The city is at Stage 5 as of Aug. 5, the highest level of APH's COVID-risk-based guidelines, after hospital admissions increased sixfold and cases increased 10 times in July. The seven-day moving average for new hospital admissions reached 78.4 on Friday.
The highly contagious Delta variant has been largely to blame for the surge, APH officials said, and they recommend that residents stay home and mask up whenever possible regardless of vaccination status.
While vaccinated residents are contracting COVID, they are being hospitalized at much lower rates. Just one ICU patient at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin was vaccinated after receiving the shot following a positive COVID test result, pulmonary critical care specialist Dr. John David Hinze said on Friday.
"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."
Hinze joins APH officials in urging Austinites to get vaxxed as the virus mutates and latches on to unvaccinated hosts. Austin is in the CDC's "highest risk" category as APH officials raise their goal to an 80% vaccination rate in order to reach herd immunity. Before that threshold is reached, officials and frontline doctors say that new groups are being affected by this "meaner" virus, including young people and pregnant women.
Hinze said that patients as young as 19 are being admitted into the ICU as they make tough calls on who receives ECMO treatment, a last-ditch lifesaving machine used to help give the lungs rest. Unlike past surges, children under 12, who are not eligible to be vaccinated, are seeing more frequent cases, and pregnant women are seeing a higher ICU admission and mortality rate.
In order to combat the emergency and keep ICU beds under capacity, the city hopes to see businesses employ masking policies and social distancing as they ramp up vaccine outreach efforts to achieve herd immunity.
- Unvaccinated Austinites at risk of Delta variant with hospitals seeing ... ›
- Austin COVID-19 projections show surge scenarios - austonia ›
- Abbott: COVID response now relies on 'personal responsibility ... ›
- Austin top doc: No Stage 5 yet, despite rising COVID numbers ... ›
- Austin enters Stage 5, residents urged to stay home - austonia ›
- Austin at stage 5 COVID threshold, ICU capacity at critical levels ... ›
- Austin reaches Stage 5 as hospitalizations and cases rise - austonia ›
- ICU beds available shrinks to two for 2.4 million Austin metro - austonia ›
- DSHS deploys 2,500 medical personnel to support hospitals - austonia ›
- Austin metro sees record-breaking hospitalizations, ICU admissions due to COVID - austonia ›
- Austin ICUs exceed capacity as COVID hospitalizations remain high - austonia ›
- Austin ICUs exceed capacity as COVID hospitalizations remain high - austonia ›
- COVID cases plateauing as more clusters identified in schools - austonia ›
- Austin hospitals stuck in limbo between allowing visitors for COVID patients and stopping the surge - austonia ›
- Austin metro has zero ICU beds available - austonia ›
- Austin reports 23 deaths Wednesday; city surpasses 1,000 COVID deaths - austonia ›
- Austin Sounds 'Dire' Covid Emergency as Available ICU Beds Drop ... ›
- The authorities in Austin warn residents that the city's Covid situation ... ›
- What to know about Austin's Stage 5 COVID guidelines, delta variant ›
- What are the Austin-Travis County COVID-19 risk-based guidelines? ›
- Austin moves to COVID-19 Stage 5 — here are the new guidelines ... ›
East Austin restaurant la Barbecue has been robbed a third time in less than three months, according to a post on the restaurant's Instagram.
In the post, the restaurant included photos of what appeared to be a man exiting a minivan from surveillance footage.
"This guy pulled up in a car full of stuff… he ripped our gate open and stole a couple empty kegs," the post said. "The ring system scared him off so he did not venture back into the area. PLEASE EVERYONE ON THE EAST SIDE BE CAREFUL!!! This guy goes back into his car to grab something before he goes in. I am hoping he won’t be back!!"
The robbery comes as many restaurant and food truck owners have been on guard from recent break-ins. East Austin cheesesteak truck R&B's Steak and Fries has also been robbed three times in around three months, according to owner Kris Elliott. Elliot said the truck was last robbed around a month and a half ago.
"When the weather gets cold, it seems like these things start to happen more often," Elliott said. "We're just happy no one got hurt."
Additionally, he said all 5 of the food trucks in their lot have experienced burglaries. The landlord of the space is taking action by investing in alarm and camera systems. "Been very tough dealing with this problem as us small business owners are just trying to survive during the pandemic," Elliott said.
And it's not just in East Austin. North Austin restaurants Eldorado Cafe and Chez Zee Bistro were both broken into and robbed on the weekend of Jan. 8, while over a dozen food truck robberies and break-ins were reported in the latter half of 2021.
Some, like Chez Zee's Deborah Velasco, wonder if the understaffed Austin Police Department's decision to no longer respond to non-emergency calls is part of the problem. Xose Velasco, owner of East Austin's Discada, said owners are keeping their guard up in the wake of the robberies as he was robbed twice within a month of reopening in November 2021.
"We try to keep the lights on," Velasco said. "We're a little bit more careful."
After 12 months, the long-anticipated massive Tesla factory in Southeast Travis County is up and operating and everyone wants a look inside.
Phase 1 of Giga Texas appears to be tied up as production of the Model Y Tesla is underway, the electric car company revealed on Wednesday in its fourth-quarter earnings call. The factory, located on the former Harold Green-turned Tesla Road, sits on more than 2,000 acres of land in southeast Travis County.
Here's a glimpse inside the factory.
Model Ys will be the first Teslas to come out of Giga Texas with an estimated delivery of August. The wait estimate comes after Tesla noted supply chain issues have affected their factories, which have been running below capacity for several quarters. A deep blue metallic like this goes for $1,000 more than a white or silver Model Y, totaling $61,990.
Model Ys began being produced at Giga Texas at the end of 2020. In general assembly at the factory, the Teslas get their major interior components to finish the vehicle.
Workers at Austin's Gigafactory are attaching seats to a structural battery pack. It's been described by some as the biggest difference between Texas-made Model Y's and the current version at the Fremont, California factory. It shouldn't have a major impact on the owner's experience, but Tesla has updated instructions for the jacking procedure, as the lift points are different.
With a sleek, open office setup, workers can take in a view of the factory from their seats. It's a component CEO Elon Musk wanted for what is now the headquarters of Tesla.
On the Austin, Texas public location Snapchat, a photo of inside Giga Texas has appeared. On the left you can see a sneak peek of a Model Y body.pic.twitter.com/N7zliZ5vkL— Sawyer Merritt (@Sawyer Merritt) 1643081462
With Snapchat's maps, anyone can look at everyday activity happening at the factory. To view these geographically-linked stories, click the bottom left "map" icon and search "Tesla Giga Texas." Once you've found it, you can view the Snapchat story of those in and around the facility. While most stories stay up for only 24 hours, Giga Texas is a designated place on Snapchat, allowing users to view a collection of photos and videos from the inside.
Following Model Ys, Texas-made Teslas will include the Cybertruck, Semi and Model 3. But it might be a while before those other models arrive. EV makers have been hit hard by the chip shortage, and it's thought that changing features are contributing to Cybertruck delays as Tesla works to compete in the electric pickup market.
Joe Rogan paid a visit to buddy Elon Musk this week. The two have been seen around town since both moving to Texas. Naturally, Rogan was impressed with the prototype.
If you're dying to get a closer look at this factory, you just might get to. In December, Musk said the factory would have tours available to the community early this year.
- Tesla driven by drunk teen bursts into flames in Tarrytown crash ... ›
- Tesla can't sell directly to Texans unless law is uplifted - austonia ›
- Tesla 2021 year in review for austin - austonia ›
- Rivian secures spot as latest Tesla challenger - austonia ›
- Del valle ISD partners with Tesla in high school grad program ... ›
- Elon Musk seeks to fast-track $1.1 billion Tesla factory in Austin ... ›
- Austin-based Tesla sees record deliveries in quarter 4 - austonia ›