BREAKING: 8th COVID-19 death reported in Comal County; face-covering order issued for 14 days

Comal County issued an order requiring face coverings for business employees and customers. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Comal County issued an order requiring face coverings for business employees and customers. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Comal County issued an order requiring face coverings for business employees and customers. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

On July 1, Comal County Judge Sherman Krause signed an order requiring all businesses in the county to develop COVID-19 safety plans that include the mandatory wearing of face coverings for all employees and customers.

It was the same day Comal County announced the death of an eighth resident due to the coronavirus, a hospitalized New Braunfels man in his 70s with underlying medical conditions who died over the weekend.

The order takes effect immediately but will expire July 15 unless modified. Enforcement begins July 3. On June 23, New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman put in place a citywide mask order that is set to expire Aug. 1.

Comal County has experienced a sharp rise in cases of COVID-19, and 124 new confirmed and probable cases were also reported July 1, pushing the active case count to 496 and the number of hospitalizations to 36.

There are a total of 778 cases of the coronavirus reported in Comal County as of July 1. Of those cases, 573 are in the New Braunfels area.

According to a press release, the county’s positivity rate—the percentage of tests with a positive result—increased to 12.17%, the highest recorded rate since the pandemic began despite an increase in testing. There have been 6,393 COVID-19 tests reported to Comal County's Office of Public Health.

The seven-day rolling average for testing jumped to 32.3% on July 1, up from 18.69% a day earlier. The spike was a result of a large number of new cases and few test results being reported.

“Some of the spike we’re reporting today comes from our office catching up from a large influx of reports over the weekend,” Public Health Director Cheryl Fraser said in a press release. “But as the positivity rate shows, we are seeing significant spread throughout the community, especially in New Braunfels and Bulverde.”

Included in the confirmed and probable cases are several staff and residents at three nursing home and long-term care facilities:

  • 27 residents and 14 staff at the Heights of Bulverde;

  • eight residents and five staff at Kirkwood Manor in New Braunfels; and

  • 32 residents and 10 staff at River Gardens in New Braunfels.

According to Fraser, the surge in cases and hospitalizations is straining the local health care system.

“COVID-19 is putting incredible pressure on our local health care system, and we are seeing increased stress in staffing capabilities across the board,” Fraser said. “Face coverings, social distancing and hand washing are the best tools we have to fight the spread of the coronavirus, and we need to use them.”

Residents wishing to be tested for COVID-19 can call Comal County’s dedicated hotline at 830-221-1120 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Several local health care providers and clinics are also offering testing for the coronavirus.

By Lauren Canterberry
Lauren Canterberry began covering New Braunfels for Community Impact Newspaper in 2019. Her reporting focuses on education, development and breaking news. Lauren is originally from South Carolina and graduated from the University of Georgia in 2017.


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