The fourth surge of COVID-19 continued its march across Kerr County on Friday, with Peterson Regional Medical Center hospitalizations climbing to 22 and more than 100 testing positive for the virus in two days. Peterson said it had 59 new cases on Friday.
However, the statewide situation continues to escalate with a positivity rate that climbed to 36% on Friday. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 50,000 cases on Friday, but that number's real-time precision remains unclear.
The state continues to show a backlog in its molecular and antigen results. On Dec. 28, Texas had more than 68,000 people test positive for the virus.
The Mayo Clinic forecasts Kerr County will see about 40 cases or more every day through Jan. 19. Here's the forecast:
Peterson saw hospitalizations rise 69% from Wednesday. A similar scenario was playing out across the state as people admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 rose to more than 9,200, including a record 351 children — all from data at least 24 hours old.
DSHS said 126 staffed pediatric beds remain in the state. The situation with intensive care unit beds continued to dwindle — the more than 350 available statewide.
Peterson said its positivity rate is at 24% — which means Kerr County could be in for a sustained bout with the virus. The state hit 24% positivity on Dec. 27 — it hasn't slowed since.
Kerrville Independent School District said it had 74 active cases of students and staff on Thursday. The school district sent letters home on Friday informing parents of positive cases, including six students at Tivy High School.
As Peterson emphasized earlier this week, the major concern is the impact on the hospital. With 22 COVID-19 patients, including four in the ICU, they would account for at least 25% of the acute care patients at Peterson.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service said Peterson reported that 41% of its beds were available last week. Only 12% of its intensive care unit beds were unoccupied.
As the virus surged, the Texas Republican Party highlighted the intractability of the political situation through a series of tweets mocking COVID-19 precautions.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continued to remain silent about the surge in cases, but his political opponents took turns savaging him.