Updated: Comal County to hire second epidemiologist, reports new coronavirus case

48 Comal County residents have been confirmed to have the coronavirus. 64 Guadalupe County residents have also been diagnosed, as of April 23. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
48 Comal County residents have been confirmed to have the coronavirus. 64 Guadalupe County residents have also been diagnosed, as of April 23. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

48 Comal County residents have been confirmed to have the coronavirus. 64 Guadalupe County residents have also been diagnosed, as of April 23. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)

Comal County Commissioners Court approved funding in the amount of $135,812 for a second epidemiologist, a mass notification system and other items to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

"These two staff members will shoulder the entire responsibility of the COVID work," said Cheryl Fraser, Comal County Office of Public Health Director. "That will allow my staff to go back to the other important things such as immunizations and our taking care of our first responders and our employees, and everything that we do on a day to day basis."

The expenditure—voted on at the Commissioners Court meeting on Thursday, April 23— includes $43,210 for wages, $2,291 for travel and conferences, $9,547 for supplies and technology equipment, and $64,540 for a mass notification system purchased from Everbridge. Another $1,100 will be used for mobile communication services and equipment.

The money would be provided by the federal government through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Cooperative Agreement for Emergency Response. The CDC activates this funding mechanism during public health emergency's, according to the agency's website.

The mass notification system will be used for communication with physicians, first responders and health care professionals, and client tracking and notification, according to documentation filed by the county. A county official also noted that the system will assist in internal communications.


Bexar Metro 911's mass notification system is currently available to Comal County, but only in emergency situations, the official said.

During Thursday morning's meeting, Fraser also provided the court with an update on the local coronavirus situation.

An additional case was announced, bringing the county's total to 48, and 653 tests have been performed. There were 26 results pending.

Guadalupe County's case count stands at 64, with 36 still active and two current hospitalizations.

Between the two counties, there have been 27 cases of the coronavirus in New Braunfels.

Guadalupe County announced Wednesday evening, April 22, that a Texas Health and Human Services mobile testing site would be available in Schertz on April 23, but would require a registration prior to testing. The county's Office of Emergency Management's social media states that they were notified of the testing center on Wednesday.

The mobile testing centers are part of an initiative that Gov. Greg Abbott announced this week.




By Warren Brown
Warren joined Community Impact at the beginning of 2020 as the editor of its New Braunfels paper and now reports the news in San Marcos, Buda and Kyle. Warren previously wrote for the Dallas Observer and Fort Worth Weekly and he brings a passion for truth and equality to his reporting.


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