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New COVID-19 Isolation Facility Nearly Full in Austin

New COVID-19 Isolation Facility Nearly Full in Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This week, Austin and Travis County opened a new facility where people can safely quarantine after contracting COVID-19, and it’s already nearly full. Local leaders said the increased need for places people can go to deal with the disease illustrates how quickly the ommicron variant of the coronavirus is spreading through the area.

Austin Public Health would not specify where this new COVID-19 isolation facility is located, but did share that it opened Tuesday to meet increasing space needs. The city and the province are now uses two hotels as isolation facilities – the new one has 71 beds while the other has 75. In an email, an APH spokesperson told KXAN that “occupancy rates are high” at both locations.

During a Friday morning briefingJanet Pichette, APH’s chief epidemiologist, said people should be careful who they encounter now and take all safety precautions necessary to prevent infection, including wearing a mask and getting vaccinated.

“Basically, anyone you meet right now could have COVID,” Pichette said. “While they may have mild symptoms, they are still extremely contagious.”

The two isolation facilities provide free accommodation and other services for those who have nowhere to isolate safely due to COVID-19. Here’s who qualifies for a bed at one of the locations:

  • Unvaccinated people who have to be quarantined for exposure to COVID-19, meaning they come within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for more than 15 minutes without a mask.
  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19 but have not been tested.
  • People who have symptoms of COVID-19 and are waiting for test results.
  • People who tested positive for COVID-19.

The municipality prescribes that guests must remain in their room during their isolation period and must be able to take care of themselves. No visitors or pets are allowed. The facilities also have meals, hygiene products, masks, gloves, in-room telephone, wireless internet and television.

Other resources available 24 hours a day include an emergency medical team, security and on-site staff who can deliver items to guest rooms. Behavioral experts are also on hand Monday through Friday and are available through TeleHealth on weekends.

To make arrangements about staying in one of the isolation facilities, people can call the intake line at 737-615-3989.

Lake information about the insulation provision can be found here.