Kerrville Fire Chief Eric Maloney said that the number of area COVID-19 cases has continued to increase since December with current active case counts hovering near 350 for the past few weeks. The county initially received 1,600 doses which were intended for those individuals who fall in the state’s Phase 1A category: healthcare workers, long-term care staff, home health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, EMS, school nurses, community pharmacy staff and all others allocated under the guiding principles authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
According to Kerr County Emergency Management Coordinator Dub Thomas there are approximately 3,400 healthcare workers in Kerr County. Thomas stressed that a major concern at the moment is the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Peterson Regional Medical Center. As of Thursday, January 7, PRMC has 34 patients due to the virus.
Kerr County is scheduled to implement a COVID-19 community-wide plan to eventually vaccinate all county residents who choose to receive a shot. Thomas said that a ‘call center’ will be up and running sometime next week with five different lines for individuals to pre-register for the vaccine. The COVID-19 Task Force will notify people based on which ‘Phase’ they are in. All contact information for this site will be released within a few days to the public.
The FDA classifies Phase 1B as those individuals who are 65 years of age and older, and people 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to: cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Heart conditions, solid organ transplantation, obesity as determined by body mass index, pregnancy, sickle cell anemia and Type 2 diabetes.
County officials estimate that there are roughly 14,000 residents in Kerr County who are 65 years and older. Officials say that Phase 1C will most likely encompass the rest of the population. Vaccinations will be offered free of charge to everyone whether or not they have health insurance.
As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches the eleven month mark, PRMC CEO Corey Edmondson stressed that the novel coronavirus is not going anywhere anytime soon, but there is finally a “light at the end of the tunnel.” State health officials are predicting another five weeks of case counts rising before the effects of the current vaccine rollout will be seen.
Edmondson assured the community that the hospital and local clinics will be doing everything they can to administer the vaccines as rapidly and efficiently as possible, but still must follow the state’s protocol while doing so. There remains a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccines and everyone who is classified under Phase 1A must be vaccinated first.
There are numerous opportunities available for anyone wishing to be tested for the virus.
Peterson Medical Associates: (Appt. only), 708 Hill Country Dr., Kerrville, (830) 896-4433
Franklin Clinic: (pre-registration required/drive-thru), 723 Hill Country Dr., Kerrville, (830) 792-5800
My Urgent Care: (By Appt.), 910 River Rd., Boerne, (830) 331-2391
Free COVID-19 testing will be available at the following locations with no pre-registration or appointments needed:
Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, Fredericksburg: Jan. 11-15, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Hill Country Youth Event Center, Kerrville: TBD/February
PRMC officials detailed how ‘labor intensive’ the pandemic has been for hospital staff and ask the community for their continued patience and grace for all healthcare workers. All local leaders at Thursday’s latest Community Update concurred that the ultimate goal for everyone is to have a safe community.