About three and a half months after its first vaccination hub at Walter Hall Park was closed, Galveston County Health District will partner with Coastal Health & Wellness to open a drive-thru site in Texas City starting Aug. 18.

The site will be open to all, including noncounty residents, for first and second vaccine doses as well as booster shots, according to an Aug. 16 GCHD media release.

“We’re opening this mass-vaccination site to support our hospital and health care systems in the county,” said Ami Cotharn, chief nursing officer for GCHD and CHW, in the release. “Schools are back in session this week, and we are seeing a rapid increase in our COVID-19 cases in the county. It’s alarming. This site is a way for us to support and serve our entire community.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive a booster dose. This includes people who have:

  • been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood;

  • received an organ transplant;

  • received a stem cell transplant within the last two years;

  • been taking immunosuppressant drugs;

  • a moderate or severe immunodeficiency, such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome;

  • an advanced or untreated HIV infection; or

  • an active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress immune response.

GCHD and CHW will ask patients to confirm if they are immunocompromised while scheduling their appointment, per the release, and residents are advised to consult a health care provider about their medical condition and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate.

The site will be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Aug. 18-20 and, beginning Aug. 23, open Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at 9850 Emmett F. Lowry Expressway in Texas City. The health district will offer both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for those age 18 and older, and Pfizer specifically for those 12-17 years old.

The CDC recommends an individual continue with their original vaccine series received when receiving a booster, per the release. The booster shot should be administered at least 28 days after the second dose. There are currently no recommendations regarding booster shots for those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, per the release.

Appointments, which can be made here, are preferred to help speed up the process. Traffic should enter the mass-vaccination site off the northbound feeder road of Emmett F. Lowry between North Amburn Road and Century Boulevard.

Case counts, area hospitalization updates

A new high for the single-day case count increase was reached Aug. 9 when 544 cases were reported by GCHD. The previous single-day high was 415, reported Aug. 6.

Aug 9. was the same day the county reported its first death in a fully vaccinated resident. The resident, a female in the 71-80 age range, died Aug. 1 and had pre-existing medical conditions, per GCHD’s daily coronavirus case count briefings. The briefings can be received via email or viewed on Facebook.

The percentage of positive cases appears to be dropping week over week, per GCHD’s COVID-19 dashboard: 19% of tests came back positive the week of Aug. 8, and 7% are positive so far the week of Aug. 15. Rates began rising in mid-June and peaked at 20% positivity the week of July 25.

There are 130 county residents hospitalized with COVID-19, per the dashboard. Two of those hospitalized are under the age of 21. Case fatality is at 0.9%. Click here to view the dashboard.

Between Aug. 2 and Aug. 8, the number of new COVID-19 hospitalizations seen on any day during the week was on average 320 patients, Texas Medical Center reported Aug. 9 on its daily data dashboard. That is a 30% increase over what the medical center reported Aug. 2, when daily cases averaged 246 new cases across its hospital systems.

The systems span CHI Texas Division; Harris Health System; Houston Methodist; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Memorial Hermann; and UT Health in Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller counties. Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued a mask mandate Aug. 12 for the county’s schools and child care centers. Click here for more TMC updates.