APH finalizing plans for care site outside of hospitals for hundreds of patients


A Baylor Scott & White drive through COVID-19 test site in Austin. (KXAN Photo/ Kaitlyn Karmout).

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health officials are finalizing plans that include a site where care would be provided for patients outside of hospitals.

Officials confirmed to KXAN Sunday that the site would be able to accommodate care for up to 1,500 people.

In April, it was reported that emergency backup medical facilities were being prepared in Austin and Travis County in case hospitals got overwhelmed by an influx of COVID-19 patients. Officials had set up Alternative Care Sites that would address patient care needs if hospitals reach capacity.

It is not known what level of care people would receive at the particular site APH officials said they are finalizing plans for Sunday, or if the site is part of those preparations that were being made in April.

Austin Public Health’s Interim Director Dr. Mark Escott said in a press conference last Wednesday that the county would exceed hospital capacity by mid-July “if things don’t change.” The past several weeks have featured record virus case jumps in the area.

In that weekly press conference, Escott also said occupied hospital beds increased to over 200 in a “very short amount of time.”

Travis County reported 636 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number to 8,461. Of those, 2,618 cases are considered active and 5,726 are considered recovered.

There have been 117 total deaths related to COVID-19.

When asked if the site would be the Austin Convention Center, officials said they do not have a contract for that site, or any other location for an alternative care site.

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