COVID-19 ICU

Registered Nurse Mary Gilbert cares for an intubated patient in the coronavirus intensive care unit at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

Comal County health officials reported two additional deaths from COVID-19 on Monday afternoon, but a bright spot in the news was 22 fewer virus patients in local hospitals.

Officials confirmed the deaths of a New Braunfels man in his 60s on Aug. 27 at a local hospital and a Spring Branch man in his 50s on Sept. 3, at a San Antonio hospital, bringing the number of fatalities to 394 since the pandemic arrived locally in March of 2020.

As of Sunday, 58,855 people who tested positive for the virus have died in Texas. More than 6,000 Texans have died in the last month.

The Texas Department of State Health Services 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.

New cases

County health officials reported 235 new cases on Monday, bringing the total number of cases reported in Comal County since the pandemic began to 17,000. Of the new cases, 177 are confirmed and 58 are probable.

Ninety-one of the new cases, including an infant under 12 months old, are people under 20, 34 are in their 20s, 66 are in their 30s and 40s, 31 are in their 50s and 60s and 13 are older than 70.

Of the 17,000 cases reported since the pandemic began, the majority have been people younger than 50, and nearly half of the cases are people younger than 40.

Seventy-eight cases have been infants under the age of 12 months, 2,749 are people ages one to 18, 2,985 are 19 to 29, 2,662 are in their 30s, 2,641 in their 40s, 2,483 in the 50s, 1,727 in their 60s, 1,029 in their 70s, and 646 in their 80s.

Most of the deaths have been in older patients, with 175 of them over the age of 80, 108 of them in their 70s, 57 in their 60s, 36 in their 50s, nine in their 40s, 6 in their 30s, 2 between the ages of 19 and 29, and one 18-year-old. In the recent surge fueled by the delta variant, there have been younger deaths and hospitalizations reported.

Officials on Monday also reported 103 recoveries, bringing the number of active cases to 1,514, an increase of 131 from Friday’s report.

Hospital numbers

Comal County hospitals reported caring for 57 COVID-19 patients on Monday, down 22 from Friday, with 15 of those patients in intensive care and nine on ventilators.

Of Comal County's active cases, 25 residents were hospitalized on Monday, down three from Friday’s report.

Of those hospitalized, one is in their 30s, three in their 40s, nine in their 50s, seven in their 60s, three in their 70s and two 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 Sunday, state officials reported 3,952 new confirmed cases and 410 new probable cases, a decrease of 2,396 cases compared with the seven-day average a week ago.

As of Saturday, 13,230 Texans were hospitalized for the virus, a decrease of 502 from a week ago.

The percentage of hospital beds being used by COVID patients across the 22-county region that includes Comal and Guadalupe counties fell to 16.42% on Monday from Friday’s mark of 17.87%.

State health officials reported 721 available staffed hospital beds in the region, including 86 available staffed ICU beds. The region's hospital capacity is 6,730 beds.

As of Saturday, state health officials reported 7,583 available staffed hospital beds, including 361 available staffed ICU beds statewide. COVID-19 patients currently occupy 20.1% of total hospital beds.

The county's seven-day positivity molecular rate on Monday was 16.15%. The antigen rate was 9.87%.

Vaccinations

According to DSHS data, 69.2% of Comal County residents over the age of 12 had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 59.84% are fully vaccinated as of Monday. The statewide rates stand at 69.93% and 59.05%, respectively.

The vaccination rates in Guadalupe County, which includes a portion of the city of New Braunfels, stood at 62.34% with one dose and 54.29% 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.

Those interested in receiving a vaccine can call 830-221-1150 to schedule an appointment.

The Texas Tribune contributed to this story.

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