Authorities in Austin, Texas, activated its Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system over the weekend to warn residents of a “severely worsening COVID-19 situation.” According to KEYE-TV, an alert warning of a “dire” COVID surge was transmitted via text message, phone call, and email.
“Healthcare facilities are open but resources are limited due to a surge in cases. Everyone needs to wear a mask and stay home as much as possible,” the alert read. It also urged residents to “not wait” to get vaccinated if they have not yet done so.
The alert was issued at around noon on Saturday. In addition to using the WEA, the city also alerted the public using the regional Warn Central Texas emergency notification system.
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes warned that the area faces a “catastrophe” if the public doesn’t heed health officials’ advice amid surging cases. “Hospital bed availability and critical care is extremely limited in our hospital systems, not just for COVID-19 patients, but for anyone who may need treatment. The community has to come together again and stave off disaster,” Walkes told KEYE.