When the good news is that 27 people hospitalized is the best you can offer, we'll have to take it.
That's exactly what Peterson Health offered up on Monday with its COVID-19 update — 27 hospitalized, including four in ICU. It's marginal good news at best, but at least it showed a decline from Friday's count of 32 hospitalizations.
As the COVID-19 omicron variant surged, Peterson said 146 tested positive over the weekend through its system. The positive cases were up slightly compared to the previous Monday. However, Peterson has tested more than 500 people in a week with positive results.
The actual number of active Kerr County cases is hard to define, and it could be between 500-700 people positive for COVID-19. On Saturday, the Texas Department of State Health Services said at least 166 cases in Kerr County.
If you add the DSHS estimate, which remains unclear if it ever counts anything reported by Peterson, you get 747 positive cases since last Monday.
Statewide, DSHS said 68,000 new cases of COVID were present, but that data is the agency's best estimate. It's provisional for weeks. On Jan. 4, DSHS confirmed that 71,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 — more than two years of Texas lab-confirmed influenza cases.
Hospitalizations remained steady at 12,286 people, with more than 2,400 in intensive care units. Pediatric hospitalizations fell to 489 from Sunday's report of 490.
When it comes to those hospitalized at Peterson with COVID-19 — it's not those 70 and older. From the middle of November through Dec. 31, 45% of those admitted were between 60 and 69 years old. Through the pandemic, 49% of Peterson's admissions have been those over 70 — split roughly in half between 70-70 and 80 and over. Since Nov. 17, the number of younger people hospitalized, those under 60, has nearly matched admissions of those over 70. Peterson has treated between four and 12 pediatric COVID-19 patients.
Now, these numbers, compiled from reports made by Peterson to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, encompass the entirety of Peterson's coverage area, which includes other counties. Still, the majority of these cases are from Kerr County.
The impact on Peterson Regional Medical Center's emergency room is dramatic, according to 75 weeks of HHS data, which suggests 10,000 people have sought COVID-19 related care since the pandemic started — about 25% of all emergency room visits since July 2020.
In this graphic, the number of people hospitalized since July 2020 is identified by age. Of those hospitalized, 72% were over the age of 60.
Since Nov. 17, 2021, the number of people hospitalized age 60-69 accounts for nearly half of all hospitalizations.
Weekly aggregate emergency room visits to Peterson Regional Medical Center.