Austin-Travis County marks six months since its first reported COVID-19 case


AUSTIN (KXAN) — “They really did not expect me to leave that hospital from what the infectious disease doctor, how she responded to me,” remembered 44-year-old Tracey Sengele, one of the Austin-Travis County area’s first patients to recover from the virus.

Sengele spent 10 days on a ventilator at St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. “She was very happy that I had the turnaround that I did,” she said.

After spending 16 days in the hospital, she was discharged April 2 — which is less than one month after the first reported COVID-19 case for Austin-Travis County came on March 13.

“There were a lot of unknowns at that stage, we didn’t know how much PPE we had, we didn’t know how many hospital beds we could manage, and we didn’t know the impact COVID-19 was going to be on our community,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority.

Sunday marks six months since that day, and though Austin Public Health officials say the community has a long way to return to normalcy, officials are proud about the fight. “We’ve done well Austin, we’ve won the battle so far,” said Escott.

As of Sept. 12, the county reported 27,578 cases and 403 deaths from the virus. APH started their response in January and staff have clocked more than 214,000 hours fighting the virus.

“We’ve gotta stay the course, we’ve gotta continue these efforts so together we can keep our schools open, we can keep our businesses open and we can start to return to a life which looks more normal than it has over the past six months,” Escott added.

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