COVID Vaccine Clinic

Student nurses from Galen College of Nursing administer the vaccine during the coronavirus vaccination clinic at the New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

Mass vaccination clinics will continue this week after Comal County received 2,000 additional COVID-19 doses, New Braunfels City Manager Robert Camareno told city council members Monday.

However, that allotment is fewer than the previous week's supply of 4,000 doses.

During Monday's council meeting, Camareno said that plans call for weekly vaccination clinics, dependent on the amount of received vaccine.

"The more vaccine, the more appointments that Comal County will be able to make for people," Camareno said. "We certainly are hoping to receive some large allotments. We may not get 2,000 or 4,000 per week as far as allotments in the future, but when we get those large allotments, we'll certainly have a process in place to get those appointments scheduled."

The clinics are a cooperative effort between the city, county, the Galen College of Nursing in San Antonio, New Braunfels Community Emergency Response Team and additional volunteers.

"It's taken a lot of work and a lot of adjusting to operationalize those vaccine clinics," he said. "My hat's off to everyone involved, and the partnership has truly been a partnership that has benefited our community and Comal County."

Camareno also told council members that Guadalupe County health officials administered 5,000 vaccines to residents during clinics last week.

The county's standby list for the COVID-19 vaccine closed after it capped out at 12,000 people in 24 hours and has not reopened. Officials said it might reopen as the supply of vaccine increases.

Operators at the county's call center continue to schedule appointments for vaccination clinics this week after receiving additional doses. Those registered on the standby list could receive a call this week, and officials ask people to respond to calls as soon as possible.

County officials also ask people on the standby list who receive emails containing links or phone numbers to schedule appointments for future vaccination clinics not to publicly share that information.

Three large scale vaccination clinics have taken place so far. On Jan. 21, 200 doses were administered in what was an initial test of the county's capabilities and vaccination plans.

Additionally, 500 residents received doses on Jan. 27 and 4,000 doses were administered last Thursday and Friday.

Residents interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, who meet the criteria in Phase 1A and 1B of the state's vaccination plan, can check the county's website and Facebook page for information on when the standby list will reopen.

People are not required to be vaccinated in their county of residence.

CVS Health will begin to administer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible people as early as Thursday at locations across Texas, including San Antonio and Canyon Lake.

Patients must register in advance as early as Wednesday at CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app. People without online access can contact CVS customer service at 800-746-7287.

Christus Santa Rosa maintains an appointment system for some clinics. Visit its website at christushealth.org and use the online chat function to be screened for eligibility and vaccine availability.

As of Sunday, 3.3 million doses have been administered, with 2.5 million receiving one dose and 805,828, or 2.8% of the state's population. Both vaccines currently available — Pfizer and Moderna — require two doses, and neither vaccine is approved for children under age 16.

In Comal County, 12,780 people have received one dose and 3,686 people have received both doses, according to Department of State Health Services data.

Health experts estimate 75% to 90% of Texans need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

People can find more information on the COVID-19 vaccine at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx. The website includes links to vaccine availability maps and providers.

New cases

County health officials reported 92 new cases of COVID-19 and 108 recoveries on Tuesday morning, bringing the number of active cases to 588.

No deaths were reported on Tuesday.

Nineteen of the new cases are confirmed and 25 are probable.

The additional recoveries from the virus bring that total to 7,714.

Sixty-four of the new cases stem from New Braunfels, with 13 coming from Bulverde/Spring Branch area, seven from north of Canyon Lake, six from south of it and two from southern Comal County and Garden Ridge.

The largest number of new cases came from people in their 30s and 40s with 27, followed by people under 20 with 24, including an infant under 12 months, people in their 50s and 60s with 20, people in the 20s with 17 and people 70 and older with four.

As of Monday, the state has reported 2.2 million confirmed cases in 254 counties and 324,308 probable cases in 223 counties since the pandemic began.

Hospitalizations

Of the county's active cases, 73 patients were hospitalized on Tuesday. Comal County hospitals reported caring for 53 COVID-19 patients, with 24 of those in intensive care and 19 on ventilators.

Local hospitals are caring for a mix of local and outside patients, and officials have said that some of its patients may be treated at outside hospitals.

The percentage of hospital beds used by COVID-19 patients across the region continues a slow downward trend toward the 15% threshold that triggered tighter state restrictions late last year, which closed bars and lowered capacity limits at other businesses.

The percentage of hospital beds taken by COVID-19 patients in the 22-county region, which includes both Comal and Guadalupe counties, stood at 15.76% on Tuesday, down from Monday's rate of 15.92%.

On Monday, there were at least 9,401 hospitalized patients in Texas with confirmed coronavirus infections. The state reported 12,229 available staffed hospital beds, including 789 available staffed ICU beds statewide. COVID-19 patients currently occupy 14.5% of total hospital beds.

Tighter restrictions in the region would be lifted once hospitalizations drop below 15% for seven consecutive days.

The county's seven-day molecular positivity rate on Tuesday stood at 48.83%, while the antigen positivity rate was 7.91%. Health officials have said that the molecular rate, a test that's more accurate but takes longer to process, can be misleading because fewer residents are taking it. The antigen test is quicker but less accurate.

As of Tuesday morning, public health has received reports of 63,464 tests conducted, with 4,480 confirmed cases, 4,075 probable cases and 16 suspect cases.

Those wishing to be tested for COVID-19 can call the county's dedicated hotline, 830-221-1120, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment.

The Texas Tribune contributed to this story.

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(2) comments

Lamar Carnes

would like to get on some type of LIST available or know where I can call and get on the list for the vaccine. I am 82 years of age and need to get this sometime but I really don't want the Pfizer or Moderna, I wish to take the Johnson and Johnson One Time shot. Is there going to be a list for those who wish that vaccine? Need some advice from someone in the know on these things.

Jesus Mendoza

[sad] It so sad that reports say the vaccine is available in the county but when you call the Public Health here in Comal they say they have no vaccines. Very disorganized and if they follow protocol as last time, nobody will no when the vaccines will be available. We need better organization at the county public health office.

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