The Latest: Austin will treat patients at convention center

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COVID-19 graphic(CDC)
Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 7:39 PM CST
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Health officials in Austin say they will open space in the Austin Convention Center for COVID-19 patients because they expect that the area’s health care system will soon be overwhelmed.

The state health department reported a record number of hospitalizations for the 13th consecutive day. Nearly 14,000 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized statewide on Saturday.

The Alternate Care Site in Austin was initially established during a summer surge of the coronavirus, but has not yet taken patients, according to a statement from the Austin-Travis County Health Authority.

“Activating the Alternate Care Site means that we believe that it is inevitable that the healthcare system in Central Texas will exceed capacity and will soon be overwhelmed,” said Dr. Jason Pickett, deputy medical director of the health authority.

The site is for patients who do not need high-level or intensive care, according to the statement. Patients who require such care will remain at hospitals. As of Saturday, there have been more than 1.9 million virus cases in Texas and 29,691 deaths since the pandemic began.

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