Central Texas runs out of ICU beds, first time since start of pandemic

Nicole Villalpando Austin American-Statesman

AUSTIN, Texas — Central Texas had no available intensive care unit beds on Sunday. It was the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began that the 11-county area surrounding Austin ran out of staffed adult ICU beds.

On Sunday, the area had four pediatric staffed ICU beds available, but on Saturday, the region did not have any open staffed pediatric ICU beds.

Saturday was not the first time the region ran out of pediatric ICU beds. For three days in August and one day in July 2020 the Texas Department of Health and Human Services also reported zero pediatric ICU beds available in the Austin region.

At the start of the pandemic, the region had as many as 184 available adult ICU beds and 29 available pediatric ICU beds.

On Saturday, the region did not have any open staffed pediatric ICU beds.

The Austin Public Health COVID-19 dashboard has not been updated since Friday, but at that time 584 people were in the hospital for COVID-19 in the Austin metro region, 218 people were in the ICU and 147 people were on ventilators. During August, the area reported as many as 653 people hospitalized for COVID-19, 237 in the ICU and 174 on ventilators.

Last week, Austin Public Health reported 36 people died of COVID-19. That was the highest weekly death toll in more than a year.

Interim Austin Public Health Director Adrienne Sturrup reminded people on Friday to continue wearing masks and to practice social distancing, especially during Labor Day.