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Coronavirus COVID-19 Local News

Comal Public Health Beefs Up Staff, Reports 96% of County’s Hospitalized COVID Patients Are Unvaccinated

Comal County hospitals like Christus Santa Rosa are full of COVID-19 patients. Family practicioner and former Comal County Health Authority Dr. Dorothy Overman said as of 11 a.m. Tuesday all emergency room beds were full, two patients were waiting to be admitted to the ICU, eight patients were waiting in the lobby, two were waiting on benches outside and three were waiting in their cars. Image courtesy of Christus Santa Rosa.

The unvaccinated account for 96% of all patients being treated for COVID-19 in Comal County hospitals.

Comal County Public Health Director Cheryl Fraser wants to change that number.

“Local hospitals are reporting high admissions of COVID-positive patients and almost all are unvaccinated,” she said in a statement issued today. “We know that vaccines are still our best defense against serious illness and deaths from COVID-19. We encourage everyone to consider getting vaccinated to protect their health and those around them.”

In an effort to get the word out, Comal County is hoping to use grants to pay for eight new hires in Fraser’s department.

In May, Commissioners Court approved funding for two immunization outreach specialists (one position is already posted on the county’s website).

An immunizations grant also will be used to pay for “cold-chain storage” like refrigerators and equipment needed to store vaccines and monitor them. Also on the list are medical and office supplies.

On Thursday, commissioners will consider using some of their grant money to hire a public-health community educator. Also on the agenda is another public-health workforce grant.

Public Information Officer Cary Zayas said the county also has applied to the state for funding provided through a $2.25 billion federal grant that addresses COVID-19 related health disparities, and from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, a $2.2 trillion economic stimus bill.

The county hopes to add these positions:

  • Another epidemiologist to focus on data collection.
  • A public health social worker to focus on mental health and the long-term health effects of COVID-19.
  • A vaccine coordinator (required by the grant).
  • A public health communications specialist (required by the grant).
  • A sanitarian.

Fraser said Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has directed the state’s Department of Emergency Management and the Department of State Health Services to increase vaccination availability and encourage Texans to get vaccinated.

To find a vaccine provider in Comal County and surrounding areas, visit covidvaccine.texas.gov. Texans also can utilize TDEM’s State Mobile Vaccine Program by calling 844-90-TEXAS and selecting Option 3 to schedule a mobile vaccine clinic to vaccinatge groups of friends, families, employees, volunteers and others.

Homebound Texans can call 844-90-TEXAS and select Option 1 to request a mobile vaccine team to come to their homes.

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