23 coronavirus-related deaths reported in Comal County since Jan. 4; regional hospitalization rate remains above 20%

A total of 186 deaths of Comal County residents have been connected to COVID-19 since March. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
A total of 186 deaths of Comal County residents have been connected to COVID-19 since March. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

A total of 186 deaths of Comal County residents have been connected to COVID-19 since March. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Since Jan. 4, Comal County has reported 468 new confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 6,874.

The county has reported 23 new coronavirus-related deaths since Jan. 4, with the deaths having occurred between Dec. 4 and Jan. 8, for a total of 186 deaths since March. The reported deaths included those of 18 New Braunfels residents, one resident from the southern portion of the county, two Canyon Lake residents, one Spring Branch resident and one resident of Garden Ridge.

As of Jan. 11, the county has 833 active, confirmed cases.

The molecular positivity rate was reported to be 22.61% and the antigen positivity rate was reported to be 10.7% on Jan. 11, compared to 19.85% and 17.50%, respectively, on Jan. 4.

Comal County hospitals reported caring for 84 COVID-19 patients, 15 of which are in intensive care and nine are on ventilators.

Comal County also reported Jan. 11 that 59 county residents were hospitalized with the coronavirus, though not all county residents are hospitalized within county hospitals, up from 56 residents who were hospitalized on Jan. 5.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Trauma Service Area P was reported to be 21.83% of total hospital capacity Jan. 11, up from 18.24% on Jan.1. The percentage has remained above 20% since Jan. 5.

According to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order GA-32, which went into effect Oct. 14, any business operating at 75% capacity in a TSA with seven consecutive days in which the number of COVID-19 patients exceeds 15% of total hospital capacity must cut back to 50% capacity.

Bars that are not operating as restaurants must close entirely under the order, and the restrictions will remain in place until the TSA P is below 15% for seven consecutive days. Area hospitals must also postpone elective surgeries.

Comal ISD and New Braunfels ISD have been reporting symptomatic cases as well as incidents of exposure to a case since the beginning of the school year.

Exposure to a COVID-19 case includes being directly exposed to fluids from the mouth or nose or being within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more without a face covering.

On Jan. 8, NBISD reported 69 current cases, 59 symptomatic cases and 343 exposures to a lab-confirmed case, down from 540 as of Jan. 4. A total of 254 confirmed cases have been reported in NBISD: 343 students and 170 staff members.

CISD reported there were 170 current cases, 98 symptomatic cases and 503 exposures to a lab-confirmed case as of Jan. 8, up from 152 exposures as of Jan. 4.

On Dec. 28, the Comal County Public Health Department began administering COVID-19 vaccines to front-line health care professionals. The department received 200 Moderna vaccines as part of the Tier 1A distribution plan.

The health authority announced Jan. 4 that it has administered its full allotment of vaccines after a week of scheduled vaccinations.

Information about the next allotment of vaccines has yet to be announced, and Comal County Public Health Director Cheryl Fraser said in a statement that residents can find information about the county’s vaccine availability on the county website.

Residents can view a list of vaccine providers on the Texas Department of State Health Services website, and those wishing to be tested can call the county’s hotline at 830-221-1120 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays to schedule an appointment. Testing is conducted on Tuesdays and Fridays.

On Jan. 11, two vaccination hubs in Bexar County also began administering vaccines to residents in Phase 1 of the vaccine distribution plan.

Residents can also utilize the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ online search tool to find a testing site.
By Lauren Canterberry

Reporter, New Braunfels

Lauren joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in October 2019. After graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, Lauren was a freelance journalist and worked as a college English teacher in China. At CI, Lauren covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in New Braunfels.