Travis County Medical Society makes plea to available physicians as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — With COVID-19 hospitalizations surging in Austin, and more than a dozen other service areas in Texas, the Travis County Medical Society made a plea for help to available physicians on Thursday.

“Austin is experiencing a surge of COVID patients that has stressed our inpatient medical care community,” TCMS president Dr. Nancy Thorne Foster wrote. “We are putting out a call for help to any qualified members who would be available and willing to work temporarily as inpatient physicians.”

TCMS is seeking internal medicine, family physicians and qualified specialists “who feel comfortable with hospital care,” with the goal of establishing a team by Monday.

A record 115 new COVID-19 hospital admissions were reported in Austin-Travis County on Tuesday. Dr. Mark Escott, the interim health authority, warned the situation is only getting worse.

“The entire state is in surge,” he said. “We need a substantial change in policy to more aggressively mitigate the spread because what we’re doing right now isn’t working.”

Austin-Travis County has reached the 15% threshold of available hospital beds being used for COVID-19 cases. Escott said the area could soon record seven consecutive days at that level, which triggers capacity rollbacks by the state.

Escott said an alternate care site at the Austin Convention Center is ready to be activated if needed. He has warned that local hospitals will likely reach full capacity by Jan. 15.

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