COVID Vaccine Clinic

Andrea Drum receives the vaccine during the coronavirus vaccination clinic at the New Braunfels Civic/Convention Center on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

Comal County's active COVID-19 case count reached 1,377 on Friday, another new all-time peak, while local hospitalizations declined slightly, but still at high levels with most of those patients unvaccinated.

County health officials reported 195 new cases and 155 recoveries Friday, increasing the number of active cases by 40 compared to the previous day and 33 from a week ago. Of the new cases, 143 are confirmed and 52 are probable.

Thirty of the new cases, including three infants under 12 months of age, are people under 20, 34 are in their 20s, 67 are in their 30s and 40s, 47 are in their 50s and 60s and 17 are older than 70.

No deaths were reported on Friday. The fatality count remained at 354 since the pandemic arrived locally in March of 2020.

State officials on Thursday reported 10,772 new confirmed cases and 3,285 new probable cases, an increase of 3,546 cases compared with the seven-day average a week ago.

Thirty-one Comal County residents were hospitalized with the virus on Friday, up six from the previous day and down five from a week ago. Almost half of those in hospitals are younger than 60.

Of those hospitalized, one is aged 18 or younger, two are 19 to 29, three are in their 30s, three in their 40s, six in their 50s, seven in their 60s, eight in their 70s and one older than 80.

The number of patients in local hospitals fell to 88 on Friday from Thursday's mark of 93, unchanged from a week ago, with 23 of those patients in intensive care and 15 on ventilators. About 90% of those patients are unvaccinated, according to health officials.

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.

With more than 12,700 Texans hospitalized with COVID-19, the state is nearing its previous pandemic peak.

As of Wednesday, 12,705 Texans were hospitalized for the coronavirus, an increase of 1,914 patients compared with a week ago.

The state's single-day hospital usage record is 14,218, set on Jan. 11.

The percentage of hospital beds being used by COVID patients across the 22-county region that includes Comal and Guadalupe counties increased to 20.36% on Friday from Thursday's mark of 19.98%. The rate was 18.51% a week ago.

State health officials reported 435 available staffed hospital beds in the region, including 46 available staffed ICU beds. The region's hospital capacity is 6,730 beds.

State health officials on Wednesday reported 7,567 available staffed hospital beds, including 417 available staffed ICU beds statewide. COVID-19 patients currently occupy 19.4% of total hospital beds.

The county's seven-day positivity molecular rate on Friday was 14.7%. The antigen rate was 9.3%. The rates are broken down by the type of COVID test that is used.

According to DSHS data, 66.57% of Comal County residents over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 56.49% are fully vaccinated as of Friday. The statewide rates stand at 66.12% and 54.92%, respectively.

The vaccination rates in Guadalupe County, which includes a portion of the city of New Braunfels, stood at 59.73% with one dose and 50.73% fully vaccinated.

Comal County health officials said this week they are gearing up to provide booster shots to people previously vaccinated with Moderna and Pfizer, but with vaccine widely available, hoped they wouldn't need to do mass clinics like they did earlier in the year.

The Comal County Public Health Department continues to offer vaccination appointments for those over the age of 12. The Moderna vaccine is used for those 18 and older, while the Pfizer is used for those between the ages of 12 and 18. There are no approved vaccines for those under the age of 12. Those interested in receiving a vaccine can call 830-221-1150 to schedule an appointment.

Residents can visit covidvaccine.texas.gov to find a provider in Comal County and surrounding areas.

Residents can also utilize TDEM's State Mobile Vaccine Program by calling 844-90-TEXAS and selecting Option 3 to schedule a mobile vaccine clinic to vaccinate groups of friends, families, employees and volunteers.

Homebound Texans can also call 844-90-TEXAS and choose Option 1 to request a mobile vaccine team to come to their home.

Curative Labs has temporarily closed its testing facility in the New Braunfels City Hall parking lot, but those needing a COVID-19 test can call their primary care physician or visit a local pharmacy, such as Walgreens or CVS.

DSHS provides a map of testing locations available at https://covidtest.tdem.texas.gov/.

The Texas Tribune contributed to this story.

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(1) comment

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Thank you for the update at this critical point in Comal County. The data reported is useful in helping us all better understand what we are facing.

We see that the infection rate is of continuing concern but we also are alarmed at the number of people being admitted into the hospitals. Thanks, thanks, thanks to our healthcare workers!

As expected, there are a number of factors that continue to impact those that are getting admitted. Vaccination status is of course the one most emphasized. Please note the following data:

1-More than half are 60+

2-Most are unvaccinated

For those that are not vaccinated, how many have other well defined comorbidities? Please reveal the following data:

A-How many are diabetic?

B-How many have hypertension?

C-How many are obese?

Furthermore, in order to help see clearly what is impacting our community, please report on how many hospitalized have already had an infection of COVID-19. This immunity needs to be realized as well to be thorough.

Again, thanks to the great reporting at H-Z but more importantly, thanks again to our dedicated front line heath care workers.

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