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COVID-19 alternate care site at Austin Convention Center discharges final patient

Travis County will remain prepared with resources should the site need to operate again in the future.

AUSTIN, Texas — The alternate care site at the Austin Convention Center, which has been treating COVID-19 patients since early January due to high hospitalization rates, finished treating patients on Saturday, March 20.

The site stopped accepting new patients on Tuesday, March 8, as hospitalization rates declined.

“The alternate care site was a critical asset to help our health care system remain stable,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Interim Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “We are thankful to the state and all the contracted staff that worked at the facility to care for residents from across Central Texas.”

The final patient was discharged from the site on Saturday, March 20. The site served a total of 215 patients during its operation, with an average length of stay of 12 days. Patients from 11 different Texas counties were treated at the site.

“We are happy to see the facility is no longer needed. The power to never need a COVID-19 alternate care site again is in the community’s hands,” said Dr. Jason Pickett, Austin-Travis County Alternate Health Authority. “It is more important than ever to get the vaccine when you are eligible. As a community we must continue to wear a mask, wash our hands frequently, and watch our distance. Doing this will keep us out of another surge in cases.”

Dr. Escott said resources will be available should the City need to start the facility back up again. The expectation from the Texas Division of Emergency Management is that should the site be needed again, it would take one week from the order to being able to serve patients.

Supplies and materials for operations at the alternate care site will be dismantled and stored at a separate location.

Travis County currently has 158 people hospitalized with COVID-19, with 57 in the ICU and 36 on ventilators. The seven-day average of new hospital admissions for the county is at 22 per day. Austin remains in Stage 3of its risk-based response to COVID-19.

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