Recoveries continued to eclipse new cases on Thursday, pushing Comal County’s active COVID-19 cases below 1,400, while officials reported three additional deaths.
County officials confirmed the deaths of a New Braunfels man in his 80s on Sept. 18 at home, a New Braunfels man in his 60s on Sept. 14 at a local hospital and a Bulverde man in his 60s on Sept. 9 at a San Antonio hospital.
The latest deaths bring the fatality count to 410 since the pandemic arrived locally in March 2020.
According to Texas Department of State Health Services data, 61,570 people who tested positive for the virus have died in Texas.
DSHS counts deaths based on death certificates that list COVID-19 as the cause of death, which excludes deaths of people with COVID-19 who died of another cause.
Health officials reported 39 new cases and 151 recoveries, bringing the number of active cases to 1,311, down 115 from the previous day and 350 from a week ago. Of the new cases, 28 are confirmed and 11 are probable.
Ten of the new cases are people under 20, two are in their 20s, 12 are in their 30s and 40s, 12 are in their 50s and 60s and three were 70 and older.
Comal County hospitals reported caring for 49 COVID-19 patients on Thursday, down four from the previous day and up five from a week ago, with 16 of those patients in intensive care and 10 on ventilators. According to county officials, about 96% of those patients are unvaccinated.
Of Comal County's active cases, 40 residents were hospitalized on Thursday, down one from the previous day and up 12 from a week ago.
Of those hospitalized, one patient is from age 1 to 18, three in their 30s, three in their 40s, eight in their 50s, 13 in their 60s, seven in their 70s and five older than 80.
Local hospitals have cared for a mix of county residents and those from outside the area since the pandemic began, and some local patients have been treated in outside hospitals.
On Wednesday, state officials reported 14,623 new confirmed cases and 4,086 new probable cases, a decrease of 5,404 cases compared with the seven-day average a week ago.
As of Tuesday, 11,554 Texans were hospitalized for the virus, a decrease of 1,263 patients a week ago.
The percentage of hospital beds being used by COVID patients across the 22-county region that includes Comal and Guadalupe counties stood at 13.62% on Thursday, down slightly from the previous day’s mark of 13.71%.
State health officials reported 656 available staffed hospital beds in the region, including 75 available staffed ICU beds. The region's hospital capacity is 6,730 beds.
As of Tuesday, state health officials reported 7,622 available staffed hospital beds, including 328 available staffed ICU beds statewide. COVID-19 patients currently occupy 17.5% of total hospital beds.
The county's seven-day positivity molecular rate on Thursday was 10.97%. The antigen rate was 7.93%.
On Thursday, DSHS numbers indicated that 70.49% of Comal County residents over the age of 12 had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 61.82% are fully vaccinated. The statewide rates stand at 71.06% and 60.67%, respectively.
The vaccination rates in Guadalupe County, which includes a portion of the city of New Braunfels, stood at 63.5% with one dose and 55.93% fully vaccinated.
The Comal County Public Health Department continues to offer vaccination appointments for those over the age of 12, including a third dose for anyone who is moderately to severely immunocompromised.
The Moderna vaccine is used for those 18 and older, while the Pfizer is used for those between the ages of 12 and 18.
There are no approved vaccines for those under the age of 12. Those interested in receiving a vaccine can call 830-221-1150 to schedule an appointment.
Residents can visit covidvaccine.texas.gov to find a provider in Comal County and surrounding areas.
Residents can also utilize the State Mobile Vaccine Program by calling 844-90-TEXAS and selecting Option 3 to schedule a mobile vaccine clinic to vaccinate groups of friends, families, employees and volunteers.
Homebound Texans can also call 844-90-TEXAS and choose Option 1 to request a mobile vaccine team to come to their home.
Curative COVID testing has resumed in the parking lot of New Braunfels City Hall at 550 Landa St.
Residents can book online at https://curative.com/.
The testing location operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Curative offers a modified version of the PCR test, allowing those being tested to administer their own swabs.
Tests are available at no cost to patients and are open to the public, regardless of which city or county a person resides.
DSHS provides a map of testing locations available at https://covidtest.tdem.texas.gov/.
The Texas Tribune contributed to this story.