A New Braunfels man in his 60s is the latest COVID-19 fatality reported by Comal County health officials on Wednesday, while the number of patients undergoing treatment for the virus in local hospitals continues to grow.
The man died at a local hospital on Jan. 7, bringing the county’s death toll to 487 since the pandemic began in March 2020. County officials have reported four fatalities this month.
Statewide, 110 deaths were reported on Tuesday, an increase of 19 fatalities compared to the seven-day average a week ago.
As of Tuesday, 75,397 people who tested positive for the virus have died in Texas.
Comal County hospitals reported caring for 50 patients on Wednesday, an increase of six from the previous day and 18 a week ago, with nine in intensive care and two on ventilators.
About 84% of those patients were unvaccinated, according to county officials.
Not all patients hospitalized in Comal County are necessarily county residents.
The regional hospitalization rate, which covers the 22-county area that includes both Comal and Guadalupe counties, rose to 11.5% on Wednesday from Tuesday’s rate of 11% and the 10.1% rate reported on Monday.
On Wednesday, county health officials added 379 new COVID-19 cases to its count, breaking a new record for the highest number of new cases reported in one day since the pandemic began.
The newly reported cases bring the total number in the county to 23,343.
The county has reported 2,142 new cases so far this month, already more than double the number of cases reported during the entire month of December, which was 976.
On Tuesday, 56,659 new cases were reported statewide, bringing the seven-day average to 49,831, an increase of 11,611 cases compared with the seven-day average a week ago.
As of Monday, 36.4% of COVID-19 tests reported in Texas in the last week are positive.
On Monday, there were at least 11,040 hospitalized patients in Texas with confirmed coronavirus infections, according to state data, an increase of 3,580 patients compared to a week ago.
COVID-19 patients currently occupy 18.2% of total hospital beds statewide.
State data indicates that 62.11% of Comal County residents ages 5 and older are fully vaccinated. The statewide fully vaccinated rate is 61.66%.
In neighboring Guadalupe County, which includes a slice of the city of New Braunfels, the fully vaccinated rate stood at 55.78%.
About 40.1 million doses have been administered statewide, including booster shots. So far, 5.2 million Texans have received booster shots.
The county’s health department administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for those 18 and older and Pfizer vaccine for anyone five years and older by appointment. The health department is also offering COVID-19 booster vaccines to residents by appointment. Appointments can be made by calling 830-221-1150.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set up a national vaccine finder to search by zip code at www.vaccines.gov to find other locations where vaccines are available for both adults and children.
COVID-19 testing conducted by Curative continues in the parking lot of New Braunfels City Hall at 550 Landa St. Residents should check availability and book appointments online at https://curative.com/.
Residents needing a COVID-19 test can also call their primary care physician or visit a local pharmacy, such as Walgreens or CVS.
COVID-19 testing in New Braunfels is also available at a site operated by Grand Avenue Pharmacy located at 894 Loop 337 Unit B, Riverside ER at 1860 S. Seguin Ave., Lonestar 24 HR ER at 1751 Medical Way and Christus Promptu Urgent Care at 1659 State Highway 46.
The Texas Department of State Health Services provides a map of testing locations at https://covidtest.tdem.texas.gov/.
The Texas Tribune contributed to this story.