Austin hospitals taking overflow El Paso patients to make room for massive COVID-19 surge

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As the COVID-19 surge in El Paso continues to worsen, Austin Mayor Steve Adler updated the public Monday night on what Austin is doing to help.

Adler said hospital patients from El Paso who don’t have COVID-19 are in Austin-area hospitals to make room for COVID-19 patients there.

“We have patients in our hospitals right now from El Paso because there wasn’t room for them in El Paso,” he said. “We have people in our hospitals right now that don’t have virus but needed hospitalization and they are here from El Paso because there was no room in the El Paso hospitals.”

Adler said that’s the case even after Gov. Greg Abbott sent around 900 medical workers to the area to help treat patients during the surge. While there is plenty of physical space to put patients, staffing levels are the biggest concern, Adler said.

“That’s really where our systems get stressed,” Adler says. “We have physical space, but as we learned in June and July, the real threat to us is having [not enough] people so that our staffs are overwhelmed and we can’t even fill up the beds we have.”

The El Paso area has 1,120 people hospitalized and 313 in intensive care units due to COVID-19, and the area has nearly 35,000 active cases. Nearly 1,000 of those active cases were reported Monday, along with 13 deaths.

The Central Texas COVID-19 numbers are on the rise too, and Adler said he is concerned about that. The current seven-day rolling average of new hospital admissions is 30, almost triple what the area was at on Oct. 1. Currently in the Austin metro area, there are 182 people hospitalized and 64 people in intensive care.

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