Hays County announced 22 COVID-19 deaths Oct. 23 as a result of a new reporting system implemented by the Texas Department of State Health Services, bringing the county's total to 86.

According to the county, the Hays County Local Health Department was never properly notified of the new deaths, which were found due to new reporting protocols from the DSHS for hospitals, funeral homes and nursing facilities. Almost all of the new deaths were residents known to have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the release said.

The press release did not include when these residents died, and Hays County did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

One of the two deaths previously reported in Mountain City was removed from the county's total after an internal review. It was not immediately clear if it was moved to another Hays County city or removed entirely, which would mean that 23 new deaths were reported Oct. 23. Clarification is being sought from the county.

In either situation, the increase from 64 deaths reported a day earlier represents a 34.37% jump in total deaths.

Seven deaths were added for Kyle; San Marcos and Austin deaths each increased by five; Buda went up by three; Dripping Springs rose by two; Wimberley increased by one.

The DSHS had not updated its dashboard to reflect the new deaths as of press time and still displayed 74 Hays County deaths. However, the release said the county's data would be more in line with state data going forward.

“The change is another enhancement in the state’s reporting system,” health department Director Tammy Crumley said in the press release. “We’ve seen continual improvement over the course of the pandemic in terms of reporting and data coding.”

General data

The county reported 6,287 lab-confirmed cases of the virus Oct. 23, with 39,824 tests providing a total positivity rate of 15.79%. That rate has slowly crept down from 18.04% at the beginning of October. While a seven-day positivity rate was unavailable due to a gap in county reporting, that rate hovered between 6.68% and 6.02% this week.

Probable cases increased from 751 to 769 this week.

Active cases that require the county to confirm recoveries with individuals continued a steady decline and were down to 510 from 1299 at the beginning of the month and from 661 at the start of the week. The majority of these cases were in Kyle and Buda, with 322 and 99 cases, respectively.

Cases reported as active to the county over the past 21-day period were up by 51 since the start of the week—a 17.59% increase from 290 to 341. That figure was at 386 when the month began—a 11.66% decline.

Active hospitalizations remained in the single digits for most of October, and there were nine as of Oct. 23. The number of county residents to have been hospitalized for the virus increased from 344 to 366 between Oct. 1-23.

San Marcos CISD reported five active, on-site student coronavirus cases for the week ending Oct. 18, in addition to two new active cases among staff. Altogether, there have been nine student cases and five staff cases reported by the district.

Hays CISD reported three staff and three student cases for the same time period. There have been eight staff cases and nine student cases since classes began.