COVID-19 Latest: Austin Public Health's New Charts Show How Hospitalizations Are Changing Over Time

Aug 25, 2020

This post has local news on the coronavirus pandemic from Tuesday, Aug. 25. If you have a news tip or question, email us at news@KUT.org.

Travis County sees 127 new COVID-19 cases, moves down to stage 3

Austin Public Health reported 127 new cases of COVID-19 in Travis County on Tuesday, down from 154 the day before. The seven-day average of daily new cases is 180. Four more deaths were reported, bringing the county’s death total to 366.

There are 171 people reported hospitalized with the virus in the five-county region (Travis, Williamson, Hays, Bastrop and Caldwell), the same number as yesterday. Although the net total didn’t change, APH says there were 22 new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the region Tuesday. The seven-day average of new admissions is 21, the same as yesterday.

Local officials worry about the coronavirus overwhelming hospitals, so they’ve been using that average and other metrics to make recommendations about safety guidelines. Austin officials recommended the area move down to stage 3 of APH’s risk-based guidelines Tuesday, as cases have leveled off and hospitalizations have declined. Officials are still encouraging people to avoid social gatherings and any gatherings of more than 10 people.

New graphs from Austin Public Health help elucidate COVID-19 situation in local hospitals

Austin Public Health has updated one of its COVID-19 dashboards to show how hospitalizations are changing over time.

The “Key Indicators For Staging” dashboard updates the community on how the seven-day average of new COVID-19 hospital admissions in the Austin area is changing day by day. Local officials worry about the coronavirus overwhelming hospitals, so they’ve been using that average and other indicators, like ICU and ventilator capacity, when assessing whether new restrictions are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Now, people can also see how the total number of COVID-19 hospitalizations are changing over time. According to a new chart, hospitalizations are down by more than half since July 30.

ICU capacity has also decreased by about half in that time frame, according to another new chart. Ventilator use is down, too.

You can scroll through the charts by clicking the arrows below each one.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler talked about the graphs during a Facebook Live Monday night. Despite the decrease in hospital admissions, he said people should not relax their safety practices.

“I’ll remind you that cities that get to where we are right now across the country and around the world end up relaxing and then they shoot back up just the way we did in June in July,” he said. “We have to keep our foot on the brake. We have to keep wearing our masks, doing our social distancing.”  

Dripping Springs ISD's board will not extend remote learning

The Dripping Springs ISD Board of Trustees decided last night they will not extend remote learning for another four weeks. The district is now moving forward with its initial plan to reopen schools by Sept. 14 for families who opt to send their children back to classrooms.

Board member Joanna Day said the district needed to work to have more protocols in place before the start date. "Even if we can't give specific answers about what will happen if there is a sick child in a class or in a grade level, I do think we could publish some facts, some FAQs, with maybe some different scenarios so that it just gives families an understanding," Day said.

Families can still opt to continue their children's education remotely, and change their decision if need be at the end of the grading period.

The Thinkery reopens Labor Day weekend

The Thinkery Children’s Museum in Austin will reopen to the public with new COVID-19 safety measures starting Labor Day weekend.

The museum’s “Path to Play” model will allow groups of 10 people to visit exhibits together while social distancing. There will be three 90-minutes sessions available each day, the museum said, and attendance will be capped at 60 guests at any given time. 

Saturday, Sept. 5, will be a member appreciation day, while that Sunday and Monday will be the first days open to the general public.

Learn more at ThinkeryAustin.org.

COVID-19 Dashboards

What's happening statewide? Check out special coverage from KERA for North Texas, Houston Public MediaTexas Public Radio in San Antonio and Marfa Public Radio.

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