Recoveries slightly outpaced new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday to bring Comal County’s active case count lower, and although local coronavirus hospitalizations also declined compared to the previous day, health care workers at those facilities continue to care for mostly unvaccinated patients.
In addition, the county’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 402 on Wednesday with officials reporting the death of a New Braunfels woman in her 70s on Sept. 10 at home.
County health officials reported 125 new cases and 129 recoveries on Wednesday, bringing the number of active cases down to 1,628, one day after setting a new all-time high, five fewer from the previous day and up 316 from a week ago.
Of the new cases, 94 are confirmed and 31 are probable.
Forty-two of the new cases are people under 20, 19 are in their 20s, 37 are in their 30s and 40s, 24 are in their 50s and 60s and three are older than 70.
Comal County hospitals reported caring for 45 COVID-19 patients on Wednesday, down six from the previous day and 28 from a week ago, with 12 of those patients in intensive care and six on ventilators. According to county officials, about 95% of those patients are unvaccinated.
Of Comal County's active cases, 27 residents were hospitalized on Tuesday, up four from the previous day and four from a week ago.
Of those hospitalized, two are in their 30s, three in their 40s, eight in their 50s, eight in their 60s, four 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 Tuesday, state officials reported 17,373 new confirmed cases and 6,087 new probable cases, an increase of 4,727 cases compared with the seven-day average a week ago.
As of Monday, 12,973 Texans were hospitalized for the virus, a decrease of 526 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 rose slightly to 16.95% on Wednesday from Tuesday’s mark of 16.81%.
State health officials reported 674 available staffed hospital beds in the region, including 72 available staffed ICU beds. The region's hospital capacity is 6,730 beds.
As of Monday, state health officials reported 7,590 available staffed hospital beds, including 305 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 Wednesday was 14.45%. The antigen rate was 10.18%.
Texas Department of State Health Services data indicates that 69.28% of Comal County residents over the age of 12 had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 59.96% are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. The statewide rates stand at 70.03% and 59.18%, respectively.
The vaccination rates in Guadalupe County, which includes a portion of the city of New Braunfels, stood at 62.43% with one dose and 54.39% 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.
Curative COVID testing has resumed in the parking lot of New Braunfels City Hall at 550 Landa St.
Residents can book online at https://curative.com/.
The testing location operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Curative offers a modified version of the PCR test, allowing those being tested to administer their own swabs.
Tests are available at no cost to patients and are open to the public, regardless of which city or county a person resides.
The Texas Tribune contributed to this story.