Coronavirus

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

Comal County's COVID-19 positivity rate climbed above 12% on Tuesday morning as public health officials added 67 new cases of the disease to its totals.

The climb in cases — which mirrors similar rises across Texas, the rest of the United States, and much of the rest of the world — has prompted county officials to urge people to follow public health guidelines when it comes to wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and frequently sanitizing hands. Officials say a decline in cases after a summer spike has created a sense of complacency in some who have relaxed.

Of the 67 new cases, 27 are confirmed and 40 are probable. The newest cases push the county's total to 4,201 since the pandemic began, with 3,751 of those patients recovered — including 31 that the county added on Tuesday.

The bulk of the newest cases stem from New Braunfels, 36, and Bulverde/Spring Branch with 21. North of Canyon Lake added one case and South of Canyon Lake added nine.

Thirteen of the newest cases are under the age of 20, nine are in their 20s, 23 in their 30s and 40s, 17 in their 50s and 60s and five are older than 70.

The county now has 326 active COVID-19 cases, an increase of more than 100 over this same time last week.

The county has seen 124 deaths since COVID-19 arrived locally in mid-March with many of those coming in the summer months as area nursing homes and other long-term care facilities battled outbreaks.

Health officials said seven county residents are hospitalized with the virus while the local hospitals are dealing with 18 COVID-19 patients. Eight of those patients are in intensive care and four are on ventilators — both of those numbers have climbed over the last 24 hours.

As of Tuesday morning, the county's office of public health has received reports of 32,152 tests with 3,027 confirmed cases, 1,171 probable cases and three suspect cases. The seven-day positivity rate for Tuesday in Comal County was 12.41% — up almost 2% from Monday and more than 4% from this time last week.

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 to schedule an appointment.

Testing is only done on Tuesday and Friday, and you must have an appointment.

Elsewhere

Washington

Dr. Anthony Fauci is recommending “uniform wearing of masks” to help curb the surge of coronavirus cases in the United States. 

The nation’s top infectious disease expert told CNN on Tuesday that “we need to intensify public health strategies,” which include wearing masks, washing hands and avoiding places where people gather. 

The U.S hit a record daily high of more than 184,000 coronavirus cases on Friday, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

On Monday, Moderna announced early data suggests its vaccine candidate provides strong protection against the coronavirus. That news comes a week after Pfizer revealed its vaccine was similarly effective. 

Vaccines candidates must go through independent data and safety monitoring before approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Fauci says in the meantime, it’s important for people “to be motivated to hang in there a bit longer and double down on the public health measures. I just can’t understand why there’s pushback against that. They’re not that difficult to do. And they save lives.”

Iowa

Iowa surpassed 2,000 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus Tuesday.

Iowa marked 1,000 deaths from the virus on Aug. 19, five months into the pandemic. But it took less than three months for the state to reach 2,000 deaths, and the 3,000-mark will be reached much quicker under current trends.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows the state has been averaging more than 20 deaths per day in the last week. That’s triple the rate from just two months ago. 

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds had avoided a mask mandate. But on Monday, she enacted a partial statewide mask mandate, limited gatherings to 15 people indoors, 30 outdoors and ordered bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. 

Reynolds says the health care system has been “pushed to the brink.”

Nebraska

Nebraska topped 100,000 coronavirus cases as the state reported a record 3,440 cases on Monday. 

The number of people hospitalized in the state with the coronavirus reached a high of 938. Hospitalizations have more than quadrupled since early October when 227 people were treated for coronavirus. 

Gov. Pete Ricketts has said if the number approaches 1,200 — when 25% of hospitalized patients have coronavirus — he’ll impose additional restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.

Nebraska has the sixth-highest rate of new cases in the nation. In the past week, one out of every 120 people was diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

South Dakota

The Rapid City area school district is closing all schools and moving to remote instruction because of the surge in coronavirus cases in South Dakota. 

The school district sent an email to families Monday night saying distance learning for its 25 schools will begin Wednesday. Superintendent Lori Simon urged students to wear masks in public, avoid crowds and stay 6 feet apart.

The school district will provide take-home meals, the Rapid City Journal reported. 

The district says 94 students and 47 staff have an active case of coronavirus, while 105 staff and 676 students are in quarantine following exposure. 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, has not ordered a state-wide mask mandate despite having one of the highest death rates in the nation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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