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San Marcos coronavirus testing site sets new Texas high-water mark for single-day swabs

Health researchers in neighboring Comal County are keeping a close eye on what’s happening with their neighbors to the north.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — A coronavirus testing site in San Marcos set a Texas record after swabbing more than 700 people in one day, the most at any site in the state during the ongoing pandemic. 

While participants are likely waiting on test results, Hays County reported 155 new cases Tuesday night.

Additional testing locations are being offered in Hays County this week.

Meanwhile, health researchers in neighboring Comal County are keeping a close eye on what’s happening with their neighbors to the north.

“Hays County is really a scary county for us,” said Dr. Anil Mangla, an epidemiologist for Comal County, at a commissioners court meeting back in May.

At that point, Mangla was already concerned about the health status in various Hill Country counties. As an epidemiologist, he researches the spread of the novel coronavirus and helps with contact-tracing investigations in Comal County.

“The counties surrounding us (are) a threat to us because of their numbers, their cases,” Mangla said. “The virus has no borders, no boundaries. It's going to move back and forth with these individuals. So we got to be careful with what we (are) surrounded with.”

Hays County is in its toughest week yet, with hundreds of new cases being confirmed daily. As of Wednesday afternoon, at least 766 people were sick with the virus. 

Many of those ill are in their 20s, living in San Marcos, Kyle or Buda.

San Marcos is home to Texas State University and plenty of river recreation spots. Census data shows the city has a large population of young adults, many in their 20s.

“It’s important to remember that we are still in a global pandemic,” said Hays County Epidemiologist Eric Schneider. “Warm weather and a sense of cabin fever may play a part in people not continuing to do the things we all need to do to slow the spread of the virus.”

Comal County had fewer active cases, at 107, on Wednesday. Local leaders are hoping the community and visitors will take guidelines seriously to avoid catching up to Hays County numbers.

New Braunfels Mayor Rusty Brockman issued a statement Wednesday, encouraging the community to take precautions.

“During the past couple of weeks, New Braunfels has seen an increase in positive COVID-19 tests. More and more of our community members are being directly impacted by this virus or know someone who is. The most important thing we can do to slow the spread is to commit to practicing safe habits. We must be diligent in protecting ourselves, our families, our coworkers, and those we come in contact with. Wearing a mask when out in public, washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, practicing social distancing, and using proper cough etiquette are things we can and should all be doing. Following these simple guidelines can have a major impact on slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. 

"Businesses also have a responsibility to help curb the transmission in their establishments. They must follow the protocols issued by the Governor and any additional requirements from their licensing agency. It’s imperative that they provide a safe and healthy environment for their patrons and for their employees. While life is starting to get back to normal, we all need to recognize it is a new normal. Masks, social distancing, and diligent handwashing must be part of our everyday routines. Putting an end to this virus is up to all of us. We all have to do our part to stop COVID-19.”

Hays County has free coronavirus testing available this week:

  • Simon Middle School, 3839 East FM 150, Kyle – Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Uhland Elementary, 2331 High Road, Uhland – Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • McCormick Middle School, 5700 Dacy Lane, Buda – Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Bowie Elementary, 4020 Monterrey Oak, San Marcos – Saturday, June 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Additional Location Details May be Forthcoming)

Appointments are required for the drive-up testing with registration starting 24 hours in advance of the test date. To make an appointment, call 512.883.2400 or visit www.txcovidtest.org. Appointments for walk-ups are also recommended to expedite the process but not required.

Results are expected to be available to participants 10 to 25 days following the testing which is being administered by the Texas National Guard.

Looking for more info on FREE COVID-19 testing this week? Check out ... these flyers. Testing is for those ages 5 and up. To Register 24 Hours in Advance: Visit TXCOVIDTEST.ORG or call 512.883.2400. Registration is needed for drive-thru testing and recommended for walk-up testing.