For lovers of livestock, uh… Ok, for those who enjoy livestock shows, this is your time of year as we open the Kerr County Stock Show at the Hill Country Youth Event Center. The four-day event begins today with animals arrivals — mostly goats and lambs. The judging begins on Thursday. The annual auction is set for Saturday.
THE LEAD LIVE IS BACK
Our weekday talk show marks its return this morning at 9 a.m. with the Texas Hill Country Advisors, Andrew Gay and Gilbert Paiz, joining us to discuss some financial New Year's resolutions. We'll also talk about what the latest COVID-19 numbers mean. On Thursday, we welcome back Delayne Sigerman who will interview the Department of Veteran's Affairs Kathy Turner, who is the director for homeless veterans outreach in the area. On Friday, we'll chat with Kayte Graham about the Kerrville Farmer's Market, which returns later that day.
AND NEXT WEEK
Next week, we're offering a strong slate of shows with Precinct 2 Commissioner's Court candidates coming in to chat with us. We'll have Rich Paces on Monday, Stan Kubenka on Tuesday and Sonya Hooten on Friday. We're still working to get interviews with Jack Pratt and John Sheffield. More to come on that front.
Texas reeled off another 44,000 new cases on Tuesday, including at least 46 here in Kerr County. The positivity rate continued to climb — 34%. The only good news in all of this is that hospitalizations didn't rise dramatically on Tuesday.
At Peterson Regional Medical Center, the number of hospitalized climbed to 15, with one person in the intensive care unit. Once again, if you go back to last January and last September during those surges, you would have seen hospitalizations of 30 people or more. That hasn't happened this time around, but there are so many cases — along with so many unvaccinated — it will be challenging to minimize the impact.
"COVID, specifically omicron, is spreading rapidly," Peterson Health President and CEO Cory Edmondson said in an email. "It has impacted our community and staff. COVID admissions are increasing at Peterson and we are concerned. Thankfully, we've been managing this for two years and we know how to treat patients; however, that doesn't make it easy on our staff. We still require masking in the hospital and take precautions to help mitigate the spread. We don't know what to anticipate or how long this 4th wave will last, but we pray it is short-lived."
The number of active cases remains difficult to pin down because of the inconsistent reporting metrics. We estimate there are more than 200 active cases — just based on Peterson's testing.
IN ANOTHER UNSURPRISING MOVE
Gov. Greg Abbott filed a lawsuit against President Joe Biden about vaccine mandates for the National Guard.
FEDERAL DOLLARS HAVE FLOWED INTO KERR COUNTY TO HELP FIGHT COVID-19
One of the storylines to close out 2021 was the relentless protests by a handful of Kerr County residents over a commissioner's court plan to accept $10 million in federal aid for COVID-19 relief. However, it's only about 10% of what county businesses, agencies and local government have already received.
The $10 million the commissioners are considering accepting is nothing compared to the federal loans and aid Peterson Regional Medical Center has received — more than $33 million. As the threat of COVID-19 emerged, the federal government propped hospitals up with interest-free loans designed to boost cash flow through accelerated Medicare payments.
In an email to The Lead, Peterson Chief Financial Officer Lisa Medovich said the hospital will pay back a $24.6 million loan by August. Last August, Peterson received $9,242,799 from the Health and Human Services Administration to help offset costs.
Since the pandemic's beginning, federal COVID-19 spending has touched almost every business, nonprofit and government entity. Small and medium-sized businesses received millions in forgivable paycheck protection loans.
There are more than 70 Kerrville-based businesses or organizations that collected more than $40 million in federal aid from the PPP. When the second round of funding was made available, 27 Kerrville-based companies asked for another loan. Another 800 Kerr County businesses and business owners accepted smaller forgivable loans.
The cities of Kerrville and Ingram received American Recovery Program Act funding. Kerrville received more than $5 million, while Ingram received more than $400,000.
Schreiner University received more than $3 million in PPP funds and collected more than $3.5 million in funding from the Department of Education to help offset COVID-19-related expenses.
OUR E-EDITION IS HERE
If you like a traditional news magazine, you're going to enjoy the January edition of The Lead. We've got 26 pages of content this month, including our Outlook 2022 coverage. https://indd.adobe.com/view/34d6e403-6d7b-4b62-b594-f189cbf8189c
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