Local officials warn of surge brewing in community cases “most likely due to Delta strain”

Officials and local doctors have acknowledged that we are seeing a surge of Covid-19 cases beginning in our local communities. Medina County’s active COVID-19 cases have risen from 8 active this past June 28th, to 83 active as of this Monday. The current 83 active cases are a stark increase from even a week ago when cases were at 45.
“We can count on that number going up, with the Delta variant likely the predominant cause,” said Medina County Health Unit Director Patricia Mechler. “The Delta variant is more transmissible and has a viral load 1000 times the coronavirus we first dealt with, according to the CDC. If you are not vaccinated, we have doses and you shouldn’t wait any longer.”
Covid Hospitalizations for the local San Antonio Metro area were at 418 as of July 23rd.

“Get vaccinated or come talk to us or your doctor about questions or concerns you have about the vaccine. There is plenty of misinformation out there online and we can help you find information from a reliable source you can trust,” Mechler said.
Dr. Richard Neel commented that “I am slammed again right now at the clinic, and there are always more cases out there than the reported numbers will reflect (because not everyone gets tested). Lately, it’s been the various youth camps where kids have got the virus and brought it back home and affected the whole family in most cases. Weeks ago, I was mainly only seeing this in border patrol agents, and now it is popping up everywhere, so I believe the spread of this variant also has a lot to do with the immigration situation.”
Neel also stated, “It is time to be more cautious of large gatherings, avoid crowds when you can, wash your hands, and wipe the grocery carts off, and that sort of thing. If you want to wear a mask when you are in a place where there is an increased likelihood of transmission, that would be appropriate.”
“We know is that there are a lot of active cases out there right now, and yes, it could be a problem with school about to start if things do not get better before then. On the viral load, I always wish I had more data, more information. Historically, viruses get less virulent, not more virulent. So if it is getting more virulent it concerns me as to why. What I can say is I am continuing to have success in treating most of my patients (with melatonin),” Dr. Neel said.
One of the Health Unit’s greatest concerns is coming into the school year with an already-high case count. Last year, Devine ISD fared better than any other local district that we know of, with only a small percentage of students/staff testing positive for the virus. The district used many tools including plastic dividers between desks, masks, and tracking and quarantines last year. Next week, board members will be discussing what, and IF, any of these precautions will be used in the upcoming year (see separate article). Just exactly a week after the board’s last meeting, local county cases have already doubled.
The Health Unit also sent the following guidance, warning that it is time do what we can to get a hold of the community spread of this virus, before it gets a hold of us.
“It has been a while since we have reviewed COVID guidance, so I wanted to share with you some updates and reminders.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and stay at home while you are sick. The isolation period for a positive COVID person should be 10 days. If you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, you may be able to avoid quarantine if you have been fully vaccinated or had a COVID-19 infection within the last 3 months. However, if you have COVID-19 symptoms you should quarantine and get tested. Being able to avoid quarantine could be a great reason to get vaccinated.”
Medina County Health Unit COVID-19 Vaccine Opportunities:
The Medina County Health Unit is taking walk-ins for COVID vaccine Monday-Thursday, 7:30am-11:00am and 1:00pm-5:30pm. Pfizer doses available upon appointment.
COVID-19 vaccine available: the two-dose Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and older; the two-dose Moderna vaccine for ages 18 and older; and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine for ages 18 and older.

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Walk-in Clinic ALSO IN DEVINE: Crawford Pharmacy in Devine also offers walk-in vaccines including the newest arrival of the Pfizer. It is located in the old Conoly Drug building.
Texas has a current rate of 52.09% of people that are fully vaccinated age 12 and older. Medina County currently has 46.55% fully vaccinated. A total of 223 more people are fully vaccinated this week from last week.
Medina County COVID-19 Vaccine Data as of 7/26/2021 (change from 7/19)
People fully vaccinated: 20,527 (up from 20,304)
People 12 years of age and older in our county who could get vaccinated: 44,092
Estimated coverage: (Percentage of people 12 years of age who are fully vaccinated) 46.55% (up from 46.05%)
Medina County COVID-19 Case Data as of 7/26/2021
Confirmed Cases: 3,582
Probable Cases: 1,369
Fatalities: 107
Active Cases (estimated): 83