County issues COVID-19 positivity rate warning, death toll rises to 23

Kerr County hit its fourth highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a single day since the pandemic began, Kerr County officials reported Tuesday evening.

Peterson Regional Medical Center reported Tuesday afternoon that there were 19 new local cases confirmed Tuesday – a number outdone only on four other dates during the county’s first wave of the novel coronavirus.

The only dates to exceed the county’s latest increase in positive, active infections, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, include: 47 new cases reported July 12, 31 cases posted July 16, 23 cases reported July 24 and 24 cases logged Aug. 4.

“Today’s high number of cases is a bold signal that we’re trending upward in our case counts again,” said Kerr County Emergency Services Coordinator William B. “Dub” Thomas. “In fact, the numbers indicate that, locally, we’re now in our second wave of the virus.”

With Tuesday’s cases added in, Thomas said the county currently has 158 active cases. There have been 18 fatalities, with the most recent death on Nov. 16. That fatality was reported to the county by DSHS, meaning that the death of the Kerr County permanent residents more than likely occurred outside the county.

“COVID-19 has created a serious situation in the United States and worldwide. Kerr County is not immune. We are just as susceptible,” Thomas said.

“It’s my hope that more local citizens will begin to recognize the pandemic for what it is and take the very simple steps they can to protect themselves and their families,” he added.

At the top of the list of those precautionary measures, per the Centers for Disease Control, is the wearing of face masks while in public spaces.

“It’s come to my attention that any people in our community mistakenly think that Kerr County is still exempt from the governor’s statewide, mandatory mask order,” Thomas said. “So, let me clarify: We are NOT exempt.”

Back on Sept. 17, during a period of a downturn in active cases, the county received an exemption from the statewide mask order. Within 16 days there was a rise in active cases and exemption was removed on Oct. 2. Ever since then, local citizens have been required to abide by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s GA-29 order by wearing face masks while in public.

“Everyone needs to wear their masks if we’re going to get to the vaccine and move beyond this pandemic,” Thomas added.

As of Tuesday, the DSHS (which usually lags in updated numbers) reported that Kerr County has had 816 cases of the virus and 18 deaths from it. How does this compare to bordering counties? Gillespie County has had 423 cases and 10 deaths; Kendall County, 456 cases and 11 deaths; Bandera County, 211 positives and 11 deaths; Real County, 128 cases and 8 deaths; Edwards County, 79 cases and 2 deaths, and Kimble County, with 60 cases and 2 deaths.

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