New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman on Wednesday had his say on the recent increase in positive coronavirus cases in the city, asking residents to "commit to practicing safe habits" to contain the spread of the disease.
In a statement, Brockman said more and more community members are directly impacted by the virus or know someone who is.
"We must be diligent in protecting ourselves, our families, our coworkers and those we come in contact with," Brockman said. "Wearing a mask when out in public, washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, practicing social distancing, and using proper cough etiquette are things we can and should all be doing. Following these simple guidelines can have a major impact on slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community."
The mayor’s comments came as Comal County’s COVID-19 positivity rate continued to climb with county officials on Wednesday announcing 10 new confirmed cases and eight more probable cases of the disease.
That puts the county's confirmed count at 207 and probable cases at 51. A probable case is treated identically to a confirmed case and counts toward the county's positivity rate and total case tally.
Comal County's positivity rate — the daily percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19 in relation to the total number of people tested that day — now stands at 5.81%, up from 5.66% on Tuesday and 3.97% one week ago.
Officials have said that failure to follow health guidelines on social distancing, hand sanitizing and wearing a mask in public are helping fuel the local spike in the disease, which picked up steam after the Memorial Day Weekend.
Businesses also have a responsibility to help curb the transmission in their establishments, Brockman said.
"They must follow the protocols issued by the governor and any additional requirements from their licensing agency," he said. "It's imperative that they provide a safe and healthy environment for their patrons and for their employees. While life is starting to get back to normal, we all need to recognize it is a new normal. Masks, social distancing and diligent handwashing must be part of our everyday routines. Putting an end to this virus is up to all of us. We all have to do our part to stop COVID-19."
Of the 18 newly-reported cases, 15 are residents of the New Braunfels area, two are Bulverde-area residents, and one lives on the south side of Canyon Lake. Ages range from under 18 to the 60s, although a significant percentage of them are in their 20s.
The county also confirmed five more recoveries from COVID-19, for a total of 142. With seven deaths, the county now has 109 active confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, six of them hospitalized.
As of Wednesday morning, the Comal County Office of Public Health has received reports of 4,438 tests conducted with 207 confirmed cases and 51 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.
Probable case definition
"Probable cases" is a category established by the Texas Department of State Health Services to describe those who do not have a positive PCR test for COVID-19, but meet two of the following three criteria:
A positive quick-result antigen test
Experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
Close contact with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case