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    Big Delta Variant Surge in Austin Lead to ICU Crisis

    With the unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases in the US struck by the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2, the American city of Austin with a 24 lakh population on Monday had only six beds in the Intensive Care Units (ICU) in its hospitals.

    The ground reality in Austin is “Serious” as there are only 313 ventilators and six ICU beds available in the city which has a population of almost 2.4 million.

    “The situation is critical,” Dr Desmar Walkes, Austin’s medical director of the state’s health authority, said according to a statement.

    In response to COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continuing to surge to pre-vaccine levels, Austin Public Health (APH) raised the area’s risk-based guidance to Stage 5, its highest level, stressing the importance of individual responsibility in halting the spike of infection and severe illness caused by the COVID-19 Delta variant.

    Rapidly accelerating demand for hospital care needed for unvaccinated people who are seriously sick due to Covid-19 has filled Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Exhausted healthcare staff in our ambulances, hospitals, and ICUs provide the same high quality care to those who are seriously ill from COVID-19 as well as other illnesses and injuries.

    Since the beginning of the latest surge around July 4, these indicators have surged  

    • The 7-day moving average for new admissions increased over 600% from 9 on July 4 to 67 on Aug. 4.
    • The 7-day moving average for new cases increased over 10 times, from 38 on July 1 to 402 on Aug. 4.
    • COVID patients in local ICUs have increased 570% from 24 on July 4 to 161 on Aug. 4.   
    • COVID patients on ventilators has increased from a total of 8 on July 4 to 100 on Aug. 4

    “The virus is adapting to survive and so must we,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “We are seeing an incredibly low number of staffed intensive care unit beds and increased strain on hospital staff due to the Delta virus and its infection of unvaccinated individuals. We have vaccines that are safe and effective in protecting people who are fully vaccinated from severe illness and death. Each of us has the responsibility to keep our community safe. Please get vaccinated and wear a mask.”

    The ICU bed crisis in Austin was triggered by sharp rise in Covid-19 cases fuelled by the Delta variant, according to the data released by the state health department. The Delta variant was first detected in India last year.

    The situation in Austin is “critical” as there are only 313 ventilators and six ICU beds available in the city which has a population of almost 2.4 million, Bloomberg reported.

    Only 6 beds vacant for 24 lakh people of Austin City

    “The situation is critical,” Dr Desmar Walkes, Austin’s medical director of the state’s health authority, said according to the report.

    The health department in Austin also sent out a warning of a “catastrophe”. The notifications were sent to the residents in the city via emails, text messages and phone calls.

    “Our hospitals are severely stressed and there is little we can do to alleviate their burden with the surging cases,” Dr Walkes said, according to the Bloomberg report.

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