Novel Coronavirus cases continue to increase locally, including in both Kerr and Gillespie Counties. Kerr County reported 34 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Monday, the highest number since January 8, 2021, according to Kerr County Emergency Management Coordinator Dub Thomas.
“Our local medical staff at Peterson Regional Medical Center has already been operating at a stressed level and stressed resources during this latest surge – trying to take care of COVID-19 patients well, since they cannot be transferred to outside medical facilities, which are also at capacity since most areas of the state saw a sudden surge in cases all at the same time,” Thomas said.
The Texas Department of State Health Services reported that Kerr County has 215 active cases of COVID-19, as of Monday, August 23. However, the state agency’s account does not reflect the 44 new cases of COVID-19 that were confirmed over the weekend, according to Thomas.
The TX DSHS is reporting that the COVID-19 death toll in Kerr County stands at 98, and 20,235 county residents are fully vaccinated for the virus.
Hospitalizations have also increased over the past weekend throughout Region 6 of the Alamo Area Council of Governments, to which Kerr County and 27 other counties belong. As of Monday, hospitals regionwide had more than 1,600 patients receiving care for COVID-19.
Gillespie County officials confirm that the Hill Country Memorial Hospital’s Testing Positivity Rate stands at 30.23% from the past week. This number only includes HCM and local physician offices that submit data, not city testing, local pharmacy testing or home testing kits.
The Gillespie County vaccination rate is 50.57%, and the TX DSHS confirms 57 COVID-19 fatalities. Currently, 7 patients are hospitalized at HCMH for the novel coronavirus.
It was announced Monday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has fully approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, which is available for patients 16 years or older. The vaccine still holds an emergency use authorization for those aged 12-15 and for a third booster shot.
The FDA is already allowing emergency use of a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for people with severely weakened immune systems. Still to be decided is vaccination of children under 12, with data expected in the fall.
The Pfizer vaccine shows a 97% efficacy rate after six-months tracking in original studies. The shot itself will now be known under the name Comirnaty, according to an FDA press release. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the vaccine is doing a good job preventing severe disease caused by the delta variant.
U.S. vaccinations bottomed out in July as the Delta variant began filling up hospital beds. Since then, a million shots per day were given Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and national statistics show that just over half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.
With the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine now FDA approved, some school districts are doubling down on plans to mandate vaccines for employees, including San Antonio ISD, who has reaffirmed that all teachers and staff must be vaccinated by October 15.
As of Monday, Texas is reporting an average of 132 COVID-19 deaths per day, the highest number since March 18. TX DSHS confirms 13,163 COVID-19 hospitalizations, 295,686 active cases and 54,023 deaths. The state’s number of eligible Texans who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 is 55.55% (13,370,501).