NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — A New Braunfels man with the coronavirus has died, representing the eighth death in Comal County since the pandemic started. Officials say the man was in his 70s, and had underlying medical conditions.
County-wide, there are now 36 people hospitalized with the virus. More than 400 others are recovering at home.
Meanwhile, doctors in New Braunfels are asking for help from those who aren't sick. Blood and plasma donations are needed from the public, especially from those who have recovered from COVID-19 earlier this year and whose bloody is rich with antibodies that can help current patients fight their symptoms.
Christus Hospital Santa Rosa hospital in New Braunfels is caring for a number of coronavirus patients as the crisis reaches new heights in Comal County.
“Initially, the number of severe illnesses were low and that's starting to change,” said Dr. Bryan Fisk, the medical director for the intensive care unit at Christus Santa Rosa, New Braunfels. “Unfortunately, most of those 19-to-29-year-olds have family members who are older—parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Now we're starting to see (the virus) filter over into that age group and, unfortunately, the ones who have more severe illness. Our hospital admissions and ICU admissions have had a sharp increase over the last one to two weeks.”
Doctors are using a medication called dexamethasone to treat some patients. Convalescent plasma is also being used.
“We've actually done quite a few patients already with convalescent plasma and we have seen improvements,” Fisk said. “Instead of the patients just progressing and going onto the ventilators, we've been able to kind of halt that in a lot of patients and then they start to slowly recover after that.”
Since New Braunfels falls outside of Gov. Greg Abbott’s medical facility mandates at this point, the hospital is performing emergency and elective surgeries along with treating coronavirus patients.
With a variety of procedures taking place inside their walls, the need is increasing daily for blood and plasma donations from anyone who is healthy.
“As a community, we all need to come together and help one another,” Fisk said. “This is something that everybody can do. Donate blood and, hopefully, that blood can then be used to save another life.”
Donations can be set up through the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center.
The New Braunfels Donor room is accepting appointments and can answer questions about the process, upcoming blood drives and when a recovered coronavirus patient is able to donate plasma.
You can also call (830)625-5401 for more information.