Trauma Service Area D, which includes Taylor County and several surrounding counties, joined seven other TSAs that have triggered reopening rollbacks. The rollbacks mean the businesses must now operate at only 50% occupancy. Establishments that make most of their revenue from alcohol sales must close. And hospitals will limit elective surgeries and other services. When the state reported that TSA-D hit the seventh straight day of COVID-19 hospitalizations over 15%, Hendrick Health Systems moved its community alert level to Level 6: Emergency.
Health Director for the Abilene Taylor County Public Health District, Annette Lerma, says while the rollbacks are hard, they’re aimed at reducing the uncontrolled spread, so that the hospitals won’t be overwhelmed, which affects their ability to provide patient care, "It's concerning for all of us as we see those numbers continue to rise. And we've seen it happen all across the state. We know that when these cases exceed our hospital capacity, you hear those heartbreaking stories of patients being turned away."
The COVID-19 hospitalization rate rose above 19% in TSA-D on Tuesday. Trauma Service Areas in the panhandle and far west Texas have seen their hospitalization rates over 30% in the past week, and some have reported not having enough beds for patients.
In order for a TSA to be released from the rollbacks, it must achieve seven consecutive days of COVID-19 hospitalizations below 15% of the region’s capacity.