A variant of the COVID-19 virus was first discovered in the UK which health experts say spread more easily and quickly than others to Comal County.
District health officials on Wednesday reported two of the confirmed cases identified as a British variant referred to as B.1.1.7.
“This is the first report of a variant strain found in Comal County residents,” said Comal County Public Health Director Cheryl Fraser. “We received this information from the (Texas) Department of State Health Services. Not every specimen is type typed, but samples are randomly selected and sent to the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for surveillance purposes. Public Health continues to work with the CDC and DSHS to monitor this carefully. “
The two variant cases were among 114 new cases reported Wednesday by district officials.
NEW YORK (AP) – About 1 in 3 Americans say they will or may not get a vaccine for COVID-19, according to a new poll that some experts think is disappointing news if the US hopes to achieve herd immunity and defeat the outbreak. .
Since fall, the CDC says several new variants have been identified around the world: the British variant, the South African variant (B.1.351) and the Brazilian variant (P.1).
The first known case of a British strain of coronavirus reported in Texas occurred in an adult male in Harris County in early January.
“Genetic variation is the norm among viruses, and it’s no surprise that it appears (in Texas) given how fast it spreads,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the DSHS, in a statement made in January in response to the first variant case. . “This should make us all redouble our commitment to infection prevention practices that we know work: masks whenever you’re around people you don’t live with, social distancing and personal and environmental hygiene.”
Of the newly reported cases in the district on Wednesday, 74 were confirmed and 37 probable. Three suspect cases.
District officials also reported 80 recoveries, bringing the number of active cases to 622.
No deaths were reported Wednesday.
Additional recoveries from viruses took the total to 7,794.
Seventy-seven of the new cases were from New Braunfels, with 19 from the Bulverde / Spring Branch area, eight from south of Canyon Lake, six from southern Comal County and Garden Ridge, and four from north of Canyon Lake.
The largest number of new cases came from people in their 30s and 40s with 39, followed by people in their 50s and 60s with 35, people in their 20s and people under 20 with their respective 17 and people 70 and over with six.
As of Tuesday, the state has reported 2.2 million confirmed cases in 254 counties and 326,984 possible cases in 223 counties since the pandemic began.
Comal County officials have reported 8,685 cases during that time.
The percentage of hospital beds used by COVID-19 patients across the region on Wednesday fell below the 15% threshold which triggered tighter state restrictions late last year, which closed bars and lowered capacity limits at other businesses.
The percentage of hospital beds taken by COVID-19 patients in the 22-county region, which includes the Comal and Guadalupe regions, reached 14.99 percent as of Wednesday.
Tighter restrictions in the region will be lifted once hospitalizations drop below 15% for seven consecutive days.
Of the active cases in the district, 73 patients were admitted to hospital as of Wednesday. Comal County Hospital reports treating 54 COVID-19 patients, with 23 of them in intensive care and 19 on ventilators.
Local hospitals treat a mix of local and outside patients, and officials say some of the patients may be admitted to an outside hospital.
As of Tuesday, there were at least 9,401 hospitalized patients in Texas with confirmed coronavirus infections. The state reports there are 12,414 hospital staff beds, including 879 ICU staff beds available statewide. COVID-19 patients currently occupy 14.1% of total hospital beds across the state.
The seven-day molecular positivity rate in the district on Monday was 58.83%, while the antigen positivity rate was 7.6%. Health officials say that the molecular level, a test that is more accurate but takes longer to process, could be misleading because fewer people are taking it. The antigen test is faster but less accurate.
As of Wednesday morning, public health had received reports of 63,700 tests carried out, with 4,554 confirmed cases, 4,112 possible cases and 19 suspected cases.
Those wishing to be tested for COVID-19 can call the district-specific hotline, 830-221-1120, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday to schedule an appointment.
District alert lists for the COVID-19 vaccine were closed after being capped at 12,000 people, but officials say it may reopen as vaccine supplies increase. District officials said call center operators continued to schedule appointments for vaccination clinics this week after receiving more doses from the state.
Those listed on the standby list could receive calls this week, and officials are asking people to respond to the calls as quickly as possible.
District officials also asked people on alert lists who receive the email and which contain links or phone numbers to schedule appointments for future vaccination clinics not to share that information with the public.
Citizens interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, which meet the criteria in Phases 1A and 1B of the state’s vaccination plan, can check the district’s website and Facebook page for information on when the alert list will reopen.
People are not required to be vaccinated in their country of residence.
CVS Health will begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible people starting Thursday at locations in Texas, including San Antonio and Canyon Lake.
Patients should register as early as possible CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy application. People who do not have online access can contact CVS customer service at 800-746-7287.
Christus Santa Rosa has an appointment system for several clinic sites. Visit the website at christushealth.org and use the online chat function to be filtered for eligibility and to check availability.
As of Tuesday, 3.4 million doses have been administered, with 2.5 million people receiving a single dose and 842,870 people, or 2.9% of the Texas population, fully vaccinated. The two vaccines currently available – Pfizer and Moderna – require two doses, and there is no approved vaccine for children under 16 years of age.
In Comal County, 12,979 people have received one dose and 3,836 people have received both doses, according to State Health Services Department data.
Find more information about the COVID-19 vaccine at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx. The website includes links to maps and vaccine availability providers.
The Texas Tribune contributed to this story.