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After a month of teetering in the single digits for available ICU beds, the Austin metro that includes 2.4 million people, is reporting no staffed ICU beds available and four available pediatric ICU beds, according to state data updated Sunday afternoon.

The 11-county area made headlines at the beginning of August for dwindling down to two available ICU beds. Since then it has fluctuated in the single digits as the state faces a third COVID surge, driven by the Delta variant and spread among those unvaccinated.

Hospitals in Austin alone have been overwhelmed with COVID patients as ICU resources have been "stretched to the max" for more than a week to provide for more than the 200 available staffed beds, Austin Public Health reported.

Health officials have been particularly concerned for pediatric cases as those 12 and under are ineligible for a vaccine and schools reopened last month.

And as ICU capacity is exceeded, there are more COVID deaths. In a single day this past week, COVID fatalities reached a record number not seen since last year with 12 Thursday and the first child death.

But even as ICU capacity maxes out and deaths rise, cases are on a decline, making Austin health officials "cautiously optimistic" as Labor Day festivities could threaten another spike in cases.


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