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Comal County's three-day streak of declining active COVID-19 cases came to a halt on Saturday morning as health officials reported the county's 45th death, 88 new cases and a positivity rate over 19%.

The death was a New Braunfels man in his 70s with underlying medical conditions who died Friday in a local hospital.

Of the 88 new cases, 79 are confirmed and nine are probable. Sixty-four of the new cases are New Braunfels-area residents, 16 are from the Bulverde/Spring Branch area, five live south of Canyon Lake, two live north of Canyon Lake, and one is from the Garden Ridge area. Thirty-three are younger than 30, 29 are in their 30s or 40s, 17 are in their 50s or 60s, and nine are older than 70.

Despite the decline in active cases this week, the county's positivity rate has indicated that the disease is still widespread. The rate — which measures the percentage of positive test results — is now 19.04%, up from 18.51% on Friday and 17.68% one week ago.

Health officials this week made a point of saying that while case reductions were welcome, that residents shouldn't read too much into the declines.

“Any reduction in cases is encouraging, but it’s too soon to say whether today’s numbers are an anomaly or part of a flattening of the curve, and we know that hospitalizations continue to increase and put stress on our local health care system,” Public Health Director Cheryl Fraser said on Thursday. 

State officials say there have been signs that closures and mask mandates are starting to have an impact.

The county also confirmed one more recovery from COVID-19, for a total of 830. The county now has 1,093 active confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases. Seventy-eight of those patients are hospitalized, an increase of one from Friday's report.

On Saturday morning, Comal County hospitals reported caring for 45 COVID-19 patients. That's the same number of patients reported on Friday. ICU usage declined from 19 to 18 and ventilator use remained the same at 15.

The numbers on hospitalizations differ because not all county patients are in county hospitals and not all patients in county hospitals are county residents, health officials have said.

As of Saturday morning, Public Health has received reports of 10,336 tests with 1,539 confirmed cases and 429 probable cases.

Residents 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.

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