Record number of people in ICU with COVID-19, on ventilators in Austin metro

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin metro area hit a record number of people in the ICU with COVID-19 Monday. Local health officials say a majority of the people they’re seeing with serious COVID-19 complications are unvaccinated.

In the latest update, 557 people were reported to be in local hospitals with COVID-19. It’s the highest number of hospitalizations we’ve seen since January 28.

191 people are in Austin ICUs with the virus, the highest we’ve seen since the pandemic began. A record number of people were on a ventilator battling COVID-19 Monday at 116.

It comes on the same day Texas hit a pandemic record for the least number of ICU beds available statewide and Governor Greg Abbott announced a series of measures aimed at stopping the spread of the virus. Those measures include bringing in out-of-state medical personnel and directing agencies to open additional COVID-19 antibody infusion centers.

Data from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services shows there were more than 800 ICU beds available statewide a month ago. As of the latest update, there are now 394. Census data shows the population of Texas is almost 29 million people.

In Austin’s hospital region, which includes 11 surrounding counties, the latest number of ICU beds available was six. The Houston region has 42.

Doctors and medics are pleading with people to get vaccinated, and follow COVID-19 safe guidelines.

Anna Vu-Wallace, an internal medicine hospitalist said this is the worst surge in cases they’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic, noting patients being younger, makes it especially difficult.

“I can’t even explain to another person who is not in the hospital with us, what it is like to call families of our COVID patients, and listen to their cries,” Vu-Wallace said.

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