Tuesday, January 12, 2021 7:18 PM EST
By The Associated Press, AP
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Austin-area officials have opened the city's convention center as a field hospital as COVID-19 cases continue to soar. The facility opened Tuesday with 25 beds. It can expand if needed. Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement that the makeshift hospital will reduce the burden on local hospitals. Now Texas is working to rapidly ramp up vaccinations. Texas has seen a surge in newly confirmed coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths. State health officials reported Tuesday that more than 14,000 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized statewide. More than 30,000 people in Texas have died since the pandemic started.