The Texas Department of State Health Services continued ramping up Kerr County's COVID-19 death toll by adding two people, including one who died on Aug. 26.
These latest deaths were reported on Saturday but demonstrated the state's inconsistent and frequently delayed tally. The Lead does not believe that the state has accounted for any COVID-19 death at Peterson Regional Medical Center since the first week of December 2020.
The deaths reported by DSHS happened on Sept. 22 and Aug. 26. A total of 35 people have died from COVID-19 since Aug. 1 in Kerr County. The state is often more than 10 days behind in reporting deaths. At least 20 people died in August.
These reporting failures have gone unanswered by the state, Kerr County officials, Peterson Health and ultimately unquestioned by other Kerr County media. There is no consistent reporting mechanism on the county's death toll. DSHS reports its numbers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Deaths at nursing homes, assisted living centers, the Kerrville State Hospital and the Kerrville Veterans Affairs Medical Center are all counted separately.
The Lead estimates Kerr County's death toll between 176 and 190 people.
DSHS also estimates the number of actively infected Kerr County residents at more than 300. On Friday, Peterson Health reported just six new infections — the lowest number in months. There were still 16 people hospitalized at Peterson Regional Medical Center.
Overall, the trends continue to show a declining number of cases, but experts around the country have expressed concern about rural areas due to low vaccination rates. Kerr County's full vaccination rate is nearing 50%, and in a bit of good news, the number of people with at least one dose crept up past 55% for the first time in weeks — 56% have at least one dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.