As reports came Monday afternoon, it was evident that Kerr County continues to see an increase in local novel coronavirus infections during this well-defined, second wave of the pandemic that is already exceeding the first wave that happened during the summer.
These higher case counts are reflected by Peterson Regional Medical Center, which set another new record high today. Its leaders report that 24 patients are currently hospitalized in Kerrville receiving medical treatment for COVID-19.
“Like we’ve said before, this nasty virus is here. It likes it here, and it wants to be social with everyone here,” said Kerr County Emergency Management Coordinator William B. “Dub” Thomas.
The high number of PRMC’s COVID-19 inpatients is nine people more than the previous record reached about a week ago, Thomas noted. Of those currently hospitalized with the virus, there are five individuals being treated in the Intensive Care Unit.
“Things are still moving in the wrong direction for us,” Thomas said, adding, “And, we haven’t even begun to see what kind of an impact will result from any gatherings that happened over Thanksgiving last week and over the weekend.”
Impact of Thanksgiving Holiday
“If get-togethers with family and friends are going to result in a spike in cases, then I would expect for that impact to start showing up in our case counts anywhere from the end of this week through the end of next week,” Thomas said.
The reason we adopt a wait-and-see attitude before we can see just how much the holiday affected the pandemic on the local front is because the infection takes time to take hold, time is delayed before symptoms start to show, it takes time for tests on individuals to be processed and it takes time for all the data to be reported and recorded. “The delay in the onset of symptoms is one reason this virus spreads so wide so fast,” Thomas said. “People can be infected and highly contagious long before they know they even have it.”
COVID-19 Case Update
Catching up from the Thanksgiving holiday break, from Nov. 25 to Nov. 30, there were 55 new positives confirmed in Kerr County.
Thomas continued, adding that the Texas Department of State Health Services puts Kerr County’s active case count at 228.
That number is only slightly higher than last Tuesday’s 224, mainly because many of the active cases “timed out” of their contagious periods and were switched to “recovered.” Kerr County has had 1,145 recoveries since the pandemic began, Thomas said.
The COVID-19 death toll in the county is now at 22 individuals, the most recent of which was reported Nov. 24 by Peterson Regional Medical Center.
Free Testing Clinics
Free testing to determine if individuals have active COVID-19 antigen (not antibody) is set in two upcoming area clinics.
This Sunday, Dec. 6, testing will be offered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pioneer Pavilion inside Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg.
On Wednesday, Dec. 9, additional COVID-19 testing will be conducted, also from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Hill Country Youth Event Center, 3785 Hwy 27 in Kerrville.
Both testing clinics are free to those who want to know if they are infected with the novel coronavirus. No appointment and no doctor’s order is needed.
“If you feel like you’ve been exposed to someone who has the virus, or if you are starting to feel any of the symptoms known to be associated with COVID-19, then, please, I encourage you to attend one of these clinics, contact your primary care physician or call Peterson Urgent Care at (830) 258-7669. Do not go to the emergency room, where you might expose others there for separate medical needs,” Thomas said.
Symptoms of the virus are not limited to, but can include any of the following: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting or diarrhea, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“It’s easy enough to write off a runny nose to allergies or to the cooler weather,” he said. “But there’s no harm in being absolutely certain that those stubborn sinuses aren’t being caused by something more sinister. In fact, it doesn’t cost you a dime. Just go get tested so you have peace of mind or, if it turns out you’re positive for the virus, then you can quarantine and protect those around you.”