Kerr County reported its second COVID-19 death in December on a day when Texas had its sharpest spike in new cases since Oct. 13, with more than 6,000. This second death happened on Dec. 4.
The Texas Department of State Health Services says Kerr County's death toll is 142. However, that does not appear to include deaths at Peterson Regional Medical Center, the Kerrville State Hospital, those in drug and mental health treatment centers, assisted living or nursing homes, or the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Lead recently discovered two people with the Kerrville-based MHDD who died of COVID-19, including one in October. The Lead estimates the Kerr County death toll at 202.
Hospitalizations across the state remained at more than 3,000 for the 11th consecutive day. All of this comes as Texas state officials race to appeal a court decision that would require large companies to have their employees vaccinated.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he would appeal a federal court ruling that allowed OSHA to implement Biden's vaccine mandate. Paxton said he would take it to the Supreme Court. However, even with a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court, it's no guarantee that Paxton will win his case. The Court has already turned back three challenges to state-wide mandates.
As the omicron variant emerges in the United States, there's growing evidence of the hyper transmissibility of the virus. However, there's also evidence that the variant is either waning in South Africa, where it was first detected, or worse than delta, which Great Britain's Imperial College suggested.
Since Dec. 1, more than 67,000 Texans have tested positive for COVID-19. The Texas Department of State Health Services said Kerr County has 184 active cases.