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Top Kerrville officials are urging residents to wear face coverings indoors when around people not of the same household, and they also urged people to get tested if they feel sick. 

During a community-update broadcast by the city of Kerrville on Friday, Nov. 20, Kerrville Fire Chief Eric Maloney, who also serves as the head of emergency management for the city, said the county is about where it was in July in terms of active COVID-19 cases. There were at least 186 positive cases locally on Friday, compared to 186 on July 11, said Maloney.

“What changed at that point in July was the governor’s mask order came in on July 3, and after that is when we started to see a decrease in the number of cases since then,” Maloney said. “However the mask order has been in place since then, and yet we are back to 186 cases.” 

Since Thursday, 30 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Kerr County, and the week has been one of the worst since the pandemic started with 92 cases and a positivity rate of 14.6%. 

On Thursday, Peterson Regional Medical Center had a record number of people hospitalized with 15, but that number fell to 10 on Friday. 

Kerr County’s death toll, according to the Texas Department of Health Services, stands at 20. Residents died on Nov. 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10. The death on Nov. 10 marks the county’s 20th death from COVID-19, and more are expected in the coming days. 

The death toll does not include eight possible deaths at Kerrville-area nursing homes.

All of this comes as the state of Texas wrestles with the worst outbreak of the virus yet, especially in the western and northern parts of the state. On Thursday, Texas had more than 12,200 cases. 

Notably absent from Friday’s meeting were any Kerr County officials, who are supposed to take the lead on the coronavirus response. However, the message was clear from the county’s medical professionals on Friday. 

Maloney said the increase in active COVID-19 cases has occurred because not enough people have been wearing face coverings in the right situations. He said masks are “the key to reducing the spread of the virus.” 

“Be smart and accountable over the holidays, and we’ll enjoy even better holidays next year,” Maloney said.

Dr. Mack Blanton, the chief medical officer at Peterson Regional Medical Center, also participated in the community update and expressed alarm about the increase in positive cases.

“I would like to make a plea for the use of masks,” Blanton said. “We’re in the midst of a significant surge in our country, state and community, and although masking is not 100% effective, (we) highly encourage it. Outdoors in open air (they’re) probably not needed unless you are within 6 feet of everybody else or in a group setting where you cannot social distance.”

Kerrville Mayor Bill Blackburn echoed this sentiment and took a stronger stance, relating personal anecdotes. He had a good friend whose father died from COVID-19 on Saturday.

“This thing is real, and it is dangerous,” Blackburn said. 

Recently, Blackburn was at a restaurant and noticed waitstaff wearing their masks improperly — their noses were exposed, he said — and a cook’s mask was “completely under the chin.”

“Folks, that’s dangerous, and I just want to make another appeal: Please wear masks, do social distancing, wash the hands, do the basic things to make a difference,” Blackburn said.

(19) comments

Cheryl Hansen

The only way to be fully protected against any virus is to wear a Hazmat suit.

In regards to the laws of physics and fluid dynamics, which is what we’re talking about here, the physicists/scientists all seem to be in agreement on one thing; there are too many variables involved to make a generalized statement.

Here are just a few of the variables: The thickness and porosity of the material of the mask. The duration of contact with a Covid positive person. The distance between the people. The air filtration system where they come in contact. How many people in said environment are wearing masks? Temperature and air movement.

I spent a whole lot of time today researching articles, dissertations and studies performed by some of the top people in this field. Not light reading and NO, I am not going to site and annotate every article I read. Do your own research.

There are three effective things that are unanimously agreed upon:

1. Face masks should be worn.

2. Social distancing should be used.

3. Hygiene, such as hand washing and wiping down surfaces, should be used.

Mike Gentry

I tried to delete my last post, but could not. The last part, "1. Face masks should be worn", was copied and pasted from Cheryl's post, and was not deleted as I had thought. I stand by the rest of the post.

JC Mehner

If the Mayor wants to see why people are wearing mask he should look at the pictures in this newspaper of the chamber event. Not a mask in sight with 70 people all in a small area - can you say super-spreader event. Then look at the business opening pictures - nos mask! Businesses aren't doing anything in Kerrville to slow the virus spread.

Mary Lou SHELTON

GENE here: or you could check out 1) www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/11/11/933903848/wear-masks-to-protect.

2) health.clevelandclinic.org/new-study-highlights-new-evidence-that-masks.

or 3) www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-mask/, for an alternative view on masks.

Mike Gentry

“What changed at that point in July was the governor’s mask order came in on July 3, and after that is when we started to see a decrease in the number of cases since then,” Maloney said. “However the mask order has been in place since then, and yet we are back to 186 cases.”

Question: If we have been wearing masks since the Governor's order, and masks work, why the increase in Covid? Shouldn't all the mask wearing have either slowed or stopped the virus? Or, are the few that do not wear masks, the problem. Are they the ones becoming infected? Or, are the mask wearers becoming infected? This type of information might be helpful.

I worked in the filtration industry. Masks don't stop viruses! Please, don't take my word for it. Read the manufacturer's labels that state that very fact. Masks are not designed to filter viruses. So, my logical question becomes, if masks are not designed to filter viruses, how can they suddenly, miraculously, do what they are not designed to do? And, yet, there seems to be very little curiosity over this basic question. If something could suddenly, miraculously, overcome the law of gravity, might you not become curious? Filtration is subject to the laws of physics, just like gravity. So, how can this be true?

I've heard and read all about "masks are to protect others, not yourself", "it is to keep droplets from escaping", etc. Then logic rears it's ugly head again, and I have to ask, If masks stop the virus from escaping and infecting others, why not just reverse the mask and protect yourself. The answer is obvious. The mask doesn't stop the virus going from either direction. A human hair is about 10 microns in size. The virus is reported to be from .6 to 1.2 microns in size. In order to filter a particle that size, the weave in the mask would have to be so tight, as to not allow you to breathe. Plus, I believe that the latest proclamation from the CDC is that the virus is aerosol... which means it doesn't rely upon droplets for spreading. The truth is... no one knows for sure... they are all taking their best guess based upon the information they currently have. And, I understand that.

But, I believe in personal freedom. I have no problem with people wearing masks or businesses that require a mask for service. My basic problem comes with government dictating actions not backed by science or logic.

I am not posting this to get people to not wear masks. I am posting it to let people know that if someone isn't wearing a mask, it might be for the reasons I stated above and not that they don't care about Covid, or people becoming infected. They just might have a different understand with regard to the efficacy of wearing a mask.

Jeff Tanner

There a several good filtration studies I've read recently that are published by research engineers at MIT and Stanford that conclude masks due filter viruses. The % effectiveness depends on the materials they studied, all of which are currently being used by the public and medical professionals. The answer to your question is obvious - large numbers of Kerrville citizens still ignore the mask mandate. Look around at grocery stores, hardware stores, gyms, bars, restaurants, etc.

Mike Gentry

Maybe you shop at different stores than I do. Mostly, I shop at HEB, Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes. But, the percentage of people without masks, that I have seen, is less than 5%, and that's being generous. So, those 5% are the ones getting and spreading the virus? Honestly, I have my doubts. But, I'm always open to science. Please site those "good filtration studies", so that we can evaluate the validity of their results. Personally, I would like to see how the masks in question overcame the law of physics.

JC Mehner

We're back to 186 cases because people are not wearing mask or keeping their distance. Yes a cloth mask is not as good as an N95 but it also about dosage. Stop 30% and your inhaling less virus. #WearYourMask and stop trying to make people feel good about endangering others.

Mike Gentry

Sorry, but "trying to make people feel good about endangering others" is not my intent. My intent is pretty straightforward. I believe that more information is always better when trying to ascertain truth. And, I prefer science and provable facts to misinformation. Mask construction is subject to the laws of physics, and as such, can not suddenly, or miraculously overcome those laws. Anyone suggesting otherwise, should provide scientific evidence to the contrary.

Jeff Tanner

I'm not going to create a bibliography for you when a simple google search of mask efficacy (i.e., MIT, Stanford) will direct you to numberous studies, both from a materials engineering perspective and an empirical one. So, following your silly 'physics' excuse all medical staff are kidding themselves by wearing N95 masks (one study cites over 95% effectiveness in filtration) around critical ill Covid patients. Yeah, good luck convincing Doctors and staff of your argument. Also, every single major U.S. medical institution in the US has the same recommendations : wear a mask, socially distance, and wash your hands. All of them - Mayo, Harvard, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Boston General, Houston Methodist, CDC, NIH etc. etc. They all must be wrong. Congratulations, you've dismissed all of their evidence, research and work based on your experience in the filtration industry. People are tired of taking precautions after months of Covid and are letting their guard down. The current wave shows this clearly.

Kimberlee Keller

Yup...but it's also due to lack of concern, ignorance, and an "I don't care" attitude. Results of this attitude will likely show up after the holidays.

Mary Lou SHELTON

GENE here: almost everything I found in several hours of research backs up what you posted. I did find some conservative sites who moaned about freedoms being taken away, and some fringe sites attempting to debunk masks. only probable was that they either deliberately distorted or simply did not understand statistics.

there is also history from the "Kansas flu" epidemic of a little over a century ago.

NANCY Tofflemire

I am a visitor to Kerrville, here to pack and move my mom to MO. Ignorance of the Mask Ordinances surprise me. Many who are exempt choose not to wear one if they are 6 feet from others. That is allowed in the exemptions. If you unhappy that employees in stores are not wearing masks correctly, ask to speak to a manager. At Walmart, it is ground for firing. No one knows what physical health condition a person has who is not wearing a mask, or has the nose uncovered. Ask without the arrogance. Common courtesy has gone out the window. Whether you are pro mask or anti-mask, you can still be cordial. Talk to a store manager if you are concerned. Where I live, there have been thousands of cases. One of the hospitals have 5 Covid floor. When they fill up, more beds are added. We are inundated with information about wearing masks and social distancing. Our kids could only go to school 2 days a week in our large city. Just now K-8 can go to school 4 days a week which reduces the days of virtual learning. Wednesday is a Covid cleaning day. They must wear masks. Adults have more choices. Be civil. Be polite. Words matter. From what I've read and heard, all employees are required to wear masks when dealing with the public.

Tom Killian

With covid really going up in Kerr county, is there a community testing site set up in the near future? I’ve talked to quite a few symptomatic persons who would be interested in knowing!

George R. Lambright

What Chief Maloney needs to understand is that if the "requirement" is not enforced, it means nothing - like a fire code that is not enforced. Why should anyone be surprised if there is a fire in a business that does not pass the fire code. It is too bad that the mask "requirement" is not enforced as well as the fire codes. I was in a Gibsons yesterday and saw a man checking out who had no mask. To my dismay he was being checked out by a clerk who never said a word about his not wearing a mask. I then noticed that the clerk was not wearing her mask over her nose. I mentioned it to the clerk and she did not seem to care. This is not rare. This morning I was in HEB on Main St. and saw three employees not wearing a mask over their nose. I mentioned it to one and he said is slipped off, yet never attempted to pull it up. People without masks should be asked to leave, or not waited on at the check-out counter, and employees should be given one warning then fired. As long as the "requirement" has no backbone people who do not understand simple science will continue to vaunt it, and get sick. I just hope these people getting sick have good medical insurance. Hard working taxpayers should not have to pay for ignorant folly. I wonder how many people who do not wear masks would do volunteer work in Sid Peterson’s Covid ward without wearing a mask.

Kimberlee Keller

You took the words right of my mouth, Mr. Lambert. What good is it to have a mask order if it's not being enforced?! Businesses have a right to refuse service to those who choose not to comply, but, are being told not to argue, so of course, that sends mixed messages. I, for one, do not support any business, especially a restaurant that does not require masks. To me, that shows they don't really care about protecting their employees' health as well as their customers. I am surprised that Mayor Blackburn remained in the restaurant. I would have gotten up and left. Wearing a mask shows compassion, caring, and consideration towards others. But, unfortunately...selfishness, inconsideration, and lack of caring seem to be the rule right now, which will bring severe consequences. It would be nice if our officials would "put their foot down" and enforce the mask order and too bad if people don't like it. It's the right thing to do as citizens have a right to be protected. Maybe our "chief" and mayor should be inundated by a lot of emails in support of enforcement. Something needs to be done, because what is being done now is not working and this County could be at high risk for a surge in cases, especially after Thanksgiving. Scary!!!

Alan Pazdernik

can not believe the officials finally realize this virus is real - most Americans knew this in Feb and March of this year that it was real and WOULD not just kill 14 to 15 people and then just go away still wonder DO THEY CARE

Tom Killian

Is there a community testing set up anytime soon?

Kimberlee Keller

I think maybe they have been denial until they realized that our cases have been surging up due to selfishness, inconsideration, and uncaring behavior as well as lack of enforcement on their part. They need to "step up" and do their part in protecting the citizens of this county before it gets too much out of hand, which I fear, it already has for our small county. Scary!!!

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