Calls begin to turn to vaccine distribution
While the area’s hospitalizations and positive testing rate has subsided somewhat (16% down to 12% positive tests), health officials are still concerned about exposures.
Apparently, the public is worried, as well.
Fredericksburg City Manager Kent Myers said on a Monday coronavirus conference call between local leaders that the city’s third free testing in the past week on Monday at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park was on track to have 1,000 tests administered. (The exact number was unknown by press time Monday.)
Dr. Jim Partin, chief medical officer at Hill Country Memorial Hospital, said there were currently five patients hospitalized with COVID-19, but none were on ventilators — a positive development. He said the others are getting better. Last week at HCM, he said 31 people tested positive from hospital testing. Another 50 cases are considered active through the Fredericksburg school district.
“Of those who tested positive from the previous two free city testings, the vast majority have likely recovered,” Partin said.
Still, a problem persists in the reporting of active cases tallied by the city, county, state and local emergency services, and those reported on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.
As there were likely more than 200 active cases in Gillespie County in the past 10 days, the database never showed more than 31.
“I called the Region 8 office and talked to a supervisor about this and why the numbers were so different,” Partin said, adding he wasn’t given a satisfactory answer. “Obviously, the numbers on the DSHS site are not anywhere near accurate.”
FISD and other school districts have kept their own set of numbers and are not necessarily included with DSHS counts.
Local officials also commented they had been the recipients of nasty phone calls about a city reporting mechanism designed to remind local business owners of regulations when locals and visitors called to complain about a lack of masks. There are no fines or shutdowns, as was feared by some of the callers, most of whom did not believe masks were effective in preventing virus transmission.
Still others were not happy the city was not enforcing the mask order.
Myers said new Mayor Charlie Kiehne is still gathering information to decide whether to extend the supplemental order requiring masks beyond its Nov. 30 expiration.
Gillespie County Commissioner Donnie Schuch said more county employees had tested positive and were in quarantine.
“We’re starting to get calls daily about the availability of vaccines and how they will be distributed,” Schuch said. “As soon as we have news, we’ll get the word out.”
Dr. Partin said Phase 1 of the state’s distribution plan of available vaccine doses would likely be limited and focus on the vulnerable and frontline populations.
Phase 2, when a larger number of vaccines are available, would add vaccine providers and locations and an administrative network. Equitable access for all populations would be stressed at this time.
John Willome, executive director of The Good Samaritan Center, said they and the Hill Country Community Needs Council have seen “a new level of need.”
The Good Samaritan Center provides medical and dental services to clients with the help of volunteer assistance from local doctors and dentists.
The Needs Council provides a variety of services, including crisis assistance, counseling and domestic violence support, senior services and child and family services.