Seven days until Christmas, and COVID-19 is not taking the holidays off. Doctors, nurses and other frontline workers are urging Texans to spend the holidays with immediate family only to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The current increase in cases is being tracked back to travel and gatherings/events around Thanksgiving.
Governor Abbott spoke yesterday about the vaccine progress in Texas and was adamant there will be no more shutdowns in the state. However, today Austin hit 49.6 percent in their 7-day moving average for new COVID-19 hospital admissions. That’s the “trigger point” to move Austin to Stage 5, meaning Austin Public Health guidelines would tighten significantly. So, while not a shutdown ordered by the Governor, local restrictions could be imposed.
Under those guidelines, Austin Public Health would recommend the following:
- Everyone should avoid gatherings outside their household
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Avoid dining or shopping except where essential
- Businesses should move to contactless options only and eliminate dine-in service
But wait, aren’t we talking about COVID-19 cases in Ellis County, so why are you reading about the situation in Austin? Well, because Texas and the hospitals in Texas are currently being stressed, and having to send patients to other cities in some cases.
35.6% Of Hospitalized Patients In Ellis County Are COVID Patients
According to information from NPR, 50% of adult inpatients in Ellis County hospitals are COVID-19 inpatients. The NPR article says anything above 20% represents extreme stress on hospital staff. That’s according to framework developed by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The DFW TSA region currently has 20% of available beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.
Now, that being said, according to the data provided by Ellis County dashboard only 72 of 202 patients hospitalized in Ellis County are COVID-19 patients (35.6%). Twelve of those patients are in the ICU, 70 of those patients are on a MedSurg unit. With 18 ICU beds available in Ellis County, sixteen of those are currently occupied.
DSHS reports an estimate of active COVID-19 cases in Ellis County of 813 active cases. There are 143 deaths due to COVID in Ellis County.
COVID-19 Vaccine In Texas
Texas is scheduled to receive 620,000 doses in second week of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
“Our state will be receiving allocations of a second vaccine able to protect Texans from COVID-19,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner. “Adding the Moderna vaccine will dramatically increase the amount of vaccine that can go to rural areas and smaller providers because it ships in smaller quantities and can be stored longer at regular refrigerator temperatures. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are safe and effective – both can confer protection against COVID-19, regardless of which vaccine you receive.”
Health officials remind Texans even though the vaccine is being administered in Texas, it will not stop the current spread. Individual actions like avoiding large groups, wearing a mask, and staying six feet apart are the most effective way to slow the spread at this time.