AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health is urging people to take more precautions as local hospitals reach critical ICU bed capacity, but for many, it’s a weekend as usual.
“It’s a dire situation,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown on Saturday. “This morning, I walked through one of our ICUs… it’s full.”
APH announced Friday Austin’s hospital region, which covers 11 counties, had hit the Stage 5 threshold. The seven-day moving average reached 50 new hospital admissions.
APH released stricter guidelines, which include vaccinated people doing outdoor activities instead of indoor ones and returning to “limited group sizes.”
But 20,738 people showed up to Saturday’s Austin FC game at Q2 Stadium in north Austin, according to a spokesperson.
Travis County hosted its third vaccine clinic at the site on the main concourse behind Section 136.
“I’m glad that they’re there helping the the Travis County team vaccinate people tonight. I just — I hope people also wear masks when they go to the game,” Brown said.
There were complimentary masks available on request at the match, but there’s still no policy there to wear one; KXAN asked if there would be any mask rules in light of APH’s guidelines.
“Based on individual circumstances, Austin FC encourages guests to get vaccinations or wear masks when appropriate,” an Austin FC spokesperson said.
“I feel okay about coming, as long as I keep taking every precaution I possibly can,” said Brad Tillery, who lives in Leander.
Tillery said he planned to wear a mask at the game but doesn’t think he’ll stop going to them.
“Unfortunately the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to people being out and about and going out again,” he said.
Tillery says he knows others will stop coming to these big crowds and respects that decision, too.
“I do know of people who have decided to make this their last game for quite a while, because they have children, and the biggest thing for them is they can’t get their children vaccinated, because they’re under 12,” he said.
KXAN asked Judge Brown if the county would take the governor to court over his executive order, which doesn’t allow local officials to enforce any operating limits on businesses, like Austin FC.
Brown said while they don’t want to end up in a legal dispute with the governor again, it’s not off the table when it comes to schools.
“I think that’s something that I’ll continue talking to the mayor and the school districts and the doctors and the local health authority about,” he said. “We have to do something there, we can’t let our kids be in an unsafe environment when they can’t even get a vaccine yet.”
DSHS data indicates as of Saturday, there were only nine available ICU beds available in TSA Region O, which includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Llano, San Saba, Travis and Williamson Counties.