Guadalupe Regional Medical Center

The number of COVID patients in the local hospital has increased to 35 as of Tuesday afternoon, officials have said.

The number of hospitalizations increase by nine over the 26 reported last week, Guadalupe Regional Medical Center spokesperson Elizabeth McCown said in a statement.

The hospital’s seven day moving target averages of new COVID-19 admissions and hospitalizations sat at five per day and 29 per day, respectively, McCown said.

According to the statement, Guadalupe County had reported 6,429 cases of the disease. The total included 5,128 recoveries, 878 probable recoveries, 238 confirmed active and 136 probable active cases, the statement read.

Additionally, the hospital announced it expects to receive 800 Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, though not for distribution to the general public, McCown said. However, a state agency said wider distribution of vaccines is on its way.

“GRMC has no information on COVID-19 vaccinations for the general public,” the statement read. “Medical personnel that provide direct patient care are the highest priority for initial distribution.”

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services Region 8 daily update, the state expects to receive more than 600,000 does of the vaccines — 465,500 doses manufactured by Moderna and 159,900 by Pfizer to 1,100 healthcare providers in 185 counties during the second week of distribution. Front-line healthcare workers are at the top of the list, along with residents in long-term care facilities, DSHS said.

The first tier of vaccine recipients also includes long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable and high-risk patients, EMS providers who engage in 9-1-1 emergency services and home health workers who work directly with vulnerable and high-risk patients.

“On Monday, Dec. 21, the Department of State Health Services announced that the next phase of vaccine allocation will focus on people who are 65 years and older and individuals with comorbidities,” the state agency’s statement read. “Protecting these higher-risk individuals is of the utmost concern in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. This phase will also include vaccine for higher-risk peel who work in front-line and critical industries so they can be protected from COVID-19 while on the job.”

Heading into Christmas, GRMC adjusted visiting hours.

The patient tower lobby will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Christmas Day. GRMC is allowing one visitor to accompany patients receiving inpatient or outpatient services, the statement read.

“Texas Health and Human Services continues to require that hospitals screen each person entering the facility and restrict visitor access as the hospital determines necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19,” it read. “COVID-19 patients (and suspected COVID-19 patients) will not be allowed visitors.”

Everyone entering the hospital are allowed to wear a mask and are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and contacts. Visitors exhibiting symptoms are denied entry.

Dalondo Moultrie is the assistant managing editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at dalondo.moultrie@seguingazette.com .

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