Nurse Adrienne Cepeda cares for a coronavirus patient in the intensive care unit at CHRISTUS Santa Rosa on Monday, July 13, 2020. On Thursday, Comal County health officials said hospitalizations at the city’s hospitals from COVID-19 had doubled to 62 patients over the last week. MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

Comal County added another 50 cases of COVID-19 on Friday morning as the number of locals hospitalized and number of local hospital beds used continues to inch higher.

Of the 50 new cases, 31 are confirmed and 19 are probable. The county now has 398 active COVID-19 cases with 13 of those patients hospitalized. That's an increase of 132 active cases over the last week while the number of locals in hospitals has almost doubled over that period.

Since the pandemic began, the county has recorded 4,338 cases of the coronavirus with 3,815 of those patients recovered — including an additional 24 recoveries added on Friday morning.

The county has recorded 125 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic arrived locally in March, with most of those fatalities coming during a summertime spike after the virus made its way into nursing homes and other long-term care facilities where the most vulnerable lived.

After a brief period in October where the county's number of active cases fell below 100, there has been a steady climb with new infections have outweighed infections.

That has prompted local health officials to ask residents to return to following health guidelines with mask wearing and social distancing after a sense of complacency settled in as cases declined in the early fall.

On Friday morning, Comal County hospitals reported caring for 21 COVID-19 patients with eight of those patients in intensive care and three on ventilators. That's three more patients than reported on Thursday, with a reduction of two in ICU usage and three on ventilators.

Health officials said local hospitals are caring for a mix of patients residing inside and outside of the county, and reminded that county residents can also be hospitalized elsewhere.

Of the new cases, most are from New Braunfels which added 32, while Bulverde/Spring Branch added 13. There were three more in the Garden Ridge area as well as one each north and south of Canyon Lake.

Sixteen of the newest cases were people in their 50s and 60s while six were in people 70 or older. Thirteen cases were people in their 30s and 40s while 12 were people in their 20s. Three cases involved people under the age of 20.

On Thursday, county health officials told commissioners that there had been a notable increase in cases for people under the age of 18.

As of Friday morning the county's office of public health has received reports on 34,258 tests with 3,110 confirmed cases, 1,225 probable cases and three suspect cases. The county has received data on an additional 2,741 tests since last Friday.

The county's seven-day positivity rate on Friday stood at 10% — down from the almost 15% hit at mid-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 next week will only be done on Tuesday, Nov. 24 because of the Thanksgiving Holiday. You must have an appointment to be tested.

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