Statesman: State officials have rejected a request from Austin-Travis County health authorities to help establish an alternative care site amid an ongoing hospital surge of COVID-19 patients.
In an unsigned email Tuesday, obtained by the American-Statesman and KVUE-TV, officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services incident command told local leaders that they currently are focused on helping to provide health care workers to hospitals.
“The priority at this time is to meet the hospital staffing needs to expand within their hospital walls,” the email said. The message was from a general incident command address and did not provide the author’s name.
Texas rejected pleas for additional nurses, assistance. Then the COVID-19 surge hit.
In an interview, state health services spokesperson Chris Van Deusen said, “What we have found is that it is better to care for people who need hospital level care in the hospital. We want to maximize that before we move to other types of facilities.”
The response came after local officials asked the state Friday for help setting up an alternative care site in the banquet hall of the Travis County Expo Center to help hospitals. COVID-19 patients who require hospital — but not ICU — care would go there.
Austin breaks record for COVID patients in ICU beds
Austin on Wednesday recorded the most ever patients in intensive care units across the area with coronavirus-related illnesses since the pandemic began last spring, according to the latest data from Austin’s coronavirus dashboard.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Austin Public Health reported that 223 people were in ICUs with 145 on ventilators. In an application for assistance, local officials said they were requesting a capacity of about 50 patients with the ability to grow to 100. read more..