Peterson Regional Medical Center's COVID-19 patient census held steady on Thursday at 27 people, but the number of hospitalized across the state continued its upward creep.
There were 12,700 people hospitalized across the state. In the San Antonio area of the Texas Department of State Health Services, more than 1,300 people were hospitalized. The number of intensive care unit beds was still less than 50.
San Antonio Metro Health said 371 people were intensive care, with 253 on ventilators.
See @SAMetroHealth's post on Twitter.
DSHS reported a death but whether that death was from Peterson is unclear. Peterson said it had a patient die Aug. 11-12. DSHS noted a patient death on Aug. 12, but it has not recognized previous deaths from Peterson this month, including one Aug. 4-5. DSHS is more likely to count deaths more quickly from patients admitted to San Antonio hospitals based on past practices. DSHS' Kerr County death toll is 97, while Peterson says it's 100. The actual toll may be as high as 150 people.
Peterson said 17 people tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. Kerr County has 337 COVID-19 positive cases in August — more than 200 of them are now active.
The Texas Education Agency reversed an earlier decision about parent notification of COVID-19 positive students and said it would not enforce a ban on mask mandates are settled in the courts. More than 60 school districts have defied Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order against mask mandates.
TEA said schools must notify all "teachers, staff, and families of all students in a classroom or extracurricular or after-school program cohort if a test-confirmed COVID-19 case is identified among students, teachers or staff who participated in those classrooms or cohorts."
TEA also instructed school districts that reporting COVID-19 cases is not an optional program. The agency said districts must report positive cases to DSHS. In 2020-2021, more than 140,000 students tested positive for COVID-19, while more than 70,000 school staff tested positive.
The pressure on Peterson's staffing is starting to mirror what happened in the winter — with one-third of the patient load COVID-19 positive. These patients have also dominated the intensive care unit space at Peterson.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, himself infected with COVID-19, said the state will activate thousands of additional health care workers.
In a statement, Abbott said 2,700 medical personnel will be called up by the end of this week to help hospitals care for the increasing number of COVID-19 patients across Texas.
DSHS will increase that to at least 5,500 by the end of next week. This operation follows Abbott's directive on Aug. 9 that DSHS utilize staffing agencies to provide out-of-state medical personnel to Texas health care facilities to mitigate the surge of COVID-19 cases in Texas. The state will fully fund the additional deployment of personnel through Sept. 30.
"Front-line health care workers across our state are working tirelessly to keep Texans healthy and safe," r Abbott said. "The substantial increase of infusion centers will reduce hospitalizations, and the added medical personnel will help treat COVID-19 patients already in hospitals. Hospitalizations can also be prevented by Texans getting the COVID-19 vaccine. To find a vaccine provider near you, visit covidvaccine.texas.gov."
Abbott is heavily pushing pharmaceutical company Regeneron's infusion therapy — a treatment he's using himself. DSHS Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt told a state senate committee the vaccines were more effective and cheaper.