How Bexar County’s social distancing efforts compare to other Texas areas

SA had 23% decrease in distance traveled, TX had 20% decrease

Coronavirus in San Antonio | Illustration by Henry Keller
Coronavirus in San Antonio | Illustration by Henry Keller (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County could do a better job at social distancing during the novel coronavirus pandemic, but the effort by locals is generally better than the rest of Texas, according to a database.

A social distancing scorecard by Unacast, a website that graphs out location data, gives a grade of A-F for counties and states based on mobility during the outbreak. The charts are based on distance traveled from “pre-COVID-19 days," using cell phone data compiled by Unacast.

Unacast said it wanted to create the scorecard so organizations and people can “measure and understand the efficacy of social distancing initiatives at the local level.”

Bexar County received a "C" grade, with a 23% decrease in average distance traveled as of March 24, according to Unacast.

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Data shows that the percentage of distance traveled reached its lowest so far on March 21. On that day, there was a 43% decrease, according to Unacast. Since then, the change slowly increased to the 20-30% mark.

The “Stay Home, Work Safe” emergency order was issued for San Antonio and Bexar County on March 23. The order directed non-essential businesses to close and urged residents to shelter at home with the exception of crucial errands and job duties.

The change in average mobility in Bexar County, according to Unacast. (KSAT)

Other counties that received the same "C" distinction include Kendall, Harris, Brazoria, Galveston, Dallas and Tarrant. Three counties in rural areas — Cottle, Brewster and Real — were the only ones that received an “A.”

Several major Texas cities have some sort of stay-at home orders as the virus spreads.

Texas itself was given a “D,” as residents decreased their travel distance by 20% as of March 24. On that day, the state recorded 197 new positive cases of the coronavirus.

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Texas now has at least 2,500 confirmed positive cases, resulting in 34 deaths, Gov. Greg Abbott said Sunday. Bexar County has reported 157 cases and five deaths.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Sunday urged locals to maintain a proper social distance, as more than one-third of local cases were contracted by community spread.

He said the city may force the closure of parks after groups were seen congregating over the weekend.

“It’s just one of those things that we have to do as we get through the heart of this community spread,” Nirenberg said Sunday in his daily briefing.

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Residents across the U.S. have decreased their average travel distance by 25% as of March 24, according to Unacast.

The latest Unacast data precedes President Donald Trump’s latest push to restrict social distancing.

Trump announced Sunday that he will extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April while bracing the nation for a coronavirus death toll that could exceed 100,000 people.

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COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.


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