For the second straight day Comal County health officials reported multiple COVID-19 deaths, with three new fatalities — two of them associated with area nursing homes.
The Heights of Bulverde nursing home had its sixth death from COVID-19 on Wednesday, and Comal County added 50 more cases of the disease, county commissioners were told Thursday morning.
Paul Anthony, county public information officer, reporting in place of Public Health Director Cheryl Fraser, said the death was one of three in the past day in addition to the six reported on Wednesday.
“As of this morning, we have 1,142 cases of COVID-19 in Comal County, which is an increase of 50 since yesterday,” he said. “There are 866 confirmed cases and another 276 are probable.”
Anthony said the county’s death toll has increased to 18. He said yesterday’s deaths included a woman in her 80s from the Heights at Bulverde, and a woman in her 70s from Legend Oaks in New Braunfels, the facility’s first known fatality. A man in his 70s from New Braunfels with underlying medical conditions died in a New Braunfels hospital Tuesday.
The county yesterday added 16 more recoveries from COVID-19 for 371 total; it has 753 active COVID-19 cases and 32 still hospitalized.
Anthony said of 8,125 total tests, Comal County’s positivity rate — the percentage of tests with a positive result — is now 14.06%, up from 13.64% on Wednesday and 12.63% one week ago.
“Just to provide some context, exactly one month ago, we had 26 new cases — the first time ever with double-digit cases — and that brought the total of active cases to 31 and the total number of cases to 147. We had two hospitalizations a month ago and our positivity rate was under 4%.
“In one month we’ve added around 1,000 cases. And although we’ve doubled the number of people testing, we’ve seen a tenfold increase in the number of people testing positive.”
Of the new cases, 41 are confirmed and nine are probable; 33 are New Braunfels-area residents, 16 are from the Bulverde/Spring Branch area, and one lives south of Canyon Lake. Thirteen are younger than 30, including one child under 1; 15 are in their 30s or 40s, eight are in their 50s or 60s, and 14 are older than 70, including 11 older than 80.
Resources available for nursing centers
To help support local nursing homes battling outbreaks, emergency management offices of Comal County and city of New Braunfels have established a resource center at New Braunfels City Hall.
Long-term residential health care facilities that need personal protective equipment and other resources can request them by calling 830-221-4618.
“We’re doing everything in our power to help nursing homes and other similar facilities have access to the resources they need to adequately protect the health and safety of their residents,” said Jeff Kelley, Comal County’s emergency management coordinator. “These are the most vulnerable members of our community, and we will do everything we can to help them.”
Of the confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases in Comal County, 823 are from the New Braunfels area, including eastern and central portions of the county. Another 204 are from western Comal County, including Bulverde and Spring Branch; 56 from south of Canyon Lake; 28 from southern Comal County, including Garden Ridge and Schertz; 26 from north of Canyon Lake, including Fischer; and five from Fair Oaks Ranch.
Anthony said 193 individuals were sampled in drive-through testing on Tuesday; the county’s public health office is still closed to the public.
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.