COVID-19 ICU

Registered Nurse Khadija Finger cares for an intubated patient in the coronavirus intensive care unit at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

Two Comal County residents in their 30s are among the latest COVID-19 deaths reported Friday by health officials, while the number of county residents in hospitals and local hospitalizations rose, with an estimated 96% of those local patients unvaccinated.

Officials confirmed the deaths of a New Braunfels man in his 30s on Aug. 28 and a South Comal County woman in her 30s on Sept. 1, both at San Antonio hospitals.

Officials also reported the death of a Canyon Lake woman in her 70s on Sept. 9 at a local hospital.

The deaths reported Friday bring the fatality count to 392 since the pandemic arrived locally in March of 2020.

As of Thursday, 57,932 people who tested positive for the virus have died in Texas since the pandemic arrived in the state in March 2020. More than 5,000 Texans have died in the last month.

The Texas Department of State Health Services counts deaths based on death certificates that list COVID-19 as the cause of death, which excludes deaths of people with COVID-19 who died of another cause.

Comal County hospitals reported caring for 79 COVID-19 patients on Friday, up six from the previous day and down four from a week ago, with 23 of those patients in intensive care and 15 on ventilators. 

New cases outpaced recoveries to bring the number of active cases in Comal County to 1,383 on Friday, up 71 from the previous day and 39 from a week ago. 

County health officials reported 158 new cases and 83 recoveries. Of the new cases, 88 are confirmed and 70 are probable.

Fifty-eight of the new cases, including an infant under 12 months old, are people under 20, 19 are in their 20s, 39 are in their 30s and 40s, 32 are in their 50s and 60s and 10 are older than 70.

Of Comal County’s active cases, 28 residents were hospitalized on Friday, up five from the previous day and down three from a week ago. 

Of those hospitalized, two are in their 30s, three in their 40s, nine in their 50s, eight in their 60s, three in their 70s and three 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 Thursday, state officials reported 23,700 new confirmed cases and 5,907 new probable cases, an increase of 1,052 cases compared with the seven-day average a week ago.

As of Wednesday, 13,486 Texans were hospitalized for the virus, a decrease of 304 from the prior week.

The percentage of hospital beds being used by COVID patients across the 22-county region that includes Comal and Guadalupe counties fell to 17.87% on Friday from Thursday’s mark of 18.73%. The rate was 19.36% a week ago.

State health officials reported 634 available staffed hospital beds in the region, including 53 available staffed ICU beds. The region’s hospital capacity is 6,730 beds.

As of Wednesday, state health officials reported 7,459 available staffed hospital beds, including 270 available staffed ICU beds statewide. COVID-19 patients currently occupy 20.7% of total hospital beds.

The county’s seven-day positivity molecular rate on Friday was 13.47%. The antigen rate was 7.27%.

DSHS figures indicated that 68.9% of Comal County residents over the age of 12 had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 59.39% are fully vaccinated as of Friday. The statewide rates stand at 69.47% and 58.42%, respectively.

The vaccination rates in Guadalupe County, which includes a portion of the city of New Braunfels, stood at 62.06% with one dose and 53.84% 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.

The Texas Tribune contributed to this story.

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