Halloween Spooktacular

Anjalek Martinez, 3, walks to different businesses while trick or treating during the Halloween Spooktacular in downtown New Braunfels on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. MIKALA COMPTON | Herald-Zeitung

As Comal County's active COVID-19 cases continued their decline on Wednesday, city officials urged residents to continue to follow public health guidelines to avoid a resurgence of the disease and announced the cancellation of the Downtown Spooktacular event.

The county added nine new cases on Wednesday, bringing the county's total to 3,475 since the pandemic began.

Of the nine new cases, four are confirmed and five are probable. Two cases are in their 20s and 30s, six are in their 50s and 60s and one is 70 and older.

With the additional 26 recoveries from the disease, that total climbs to 3,225. The county now has 134 active COVID-19 cases with nine of those patients hospitalized. Since the pandemic began, 116 patients have died.

Local hospitals are caring for four COVID-19 patients, which officials say may include county residents and non-county residents. Three of those patients are in intensive care and two are on ventilators.

As of Wednesday morning, the office of public health had data on 25,065 tests conducted, with 2,748 confirmed cases and 727 probable cases. That's an increase of 39 tests from Tuesday's report.

The seven-day positivity rate for Wednesday is 10.12%, an increase from Tuesday's 10.03% and Monday's 8.52%.

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.

Continued precautions urged for upcoming fall activities

The city's annual Downtown Spooktacular event has been canceled for this year. However, there are three upcoming Parks and Recreation-sponsored events with limited capacity and health-related restrictions.

Each Thursday morning throughout October, the Landa Recreation Center hosts Monster Mania for kids ages 3 to 5.

On Oct. 24, Das Rec is hosting Souls and Salutations, an outdoor yoga class held in one of the city's historic cemeteries.

On Oct. 31, from 5-10 p.m., the Landa Park Mini-Golf Course will host Ghouls and Glow Golf.

Space at all of these events is limited. Visit the New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Department website at www.nbtexas.org/2465/Parks-Recreation for additional details.

As fall arrives in New Braunfels, city and Comal County Public Health officials are urging residents to follow guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and the executive orders issued by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott when planning any upcoming activities.

The governor's executive order is still in effect, which limits gatherings to no more than 10 people and mandates face coverings both indoors and outside when social distancing is not feasible.

"In order to continue slowing the spread of COVID-19 locally, we encourage parents to review the CDC recommendations and choose lower-risk activities," said Comal County Public Health Authority Dr. Dorothy Overman in a statement. "For those that choose to continue with the traditional Trick-or-Treating, it is very important that parents realize that a costume mask is not protective like a cloth mask and we encourage them to choose a protective cloth mask during any upcoming events."

Many of the CDC's guidelines are already familiar, including social distancing, mask-wearing, and hand washing.

Additional guidelines include limiting the size of gatherings and avoiding indoor activities in crowded, poorly ventilated venues.

When it comes to traditional Trick-or-Treating, the CDC considers that a "High Risk" activity and recommends several lower-risk activities instead, such as household pumpkin carving and decorating, Halloween-themed scavenger hunts, and virtual costume contests.

The CDC also offers similar recommendations for several other upcoming Fall holidays, including Halloween, Día de Los Muertos, Navratri, Diwali and Thanksgiving.

To see the CDC's list of recommendations, including their ranking of Low, Moderate, and High-Risk activities, visit their website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html.

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