WATCH: Metro Health team working to identify racial, income disparities in county to get community proper COVID-19 resources

Coronavirus update from San Antonio Mayor Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Wolff 4/13/20

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s Note: Watch the entire briefing in the video player above.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff updated the community about the local response to COVID-19 in their daily briefing Monday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 794 COVID-19 cases and 33 deaths in Bexar County, as of Monday. He said 88 patients are in the hospital, 52 are in intensive care, 37 are on ventilators and 135 have recovered. Fifty-two cases are under investigation.
  • Nirenberg said new data would be released Tuesday, and it will show models of where the county may be headed in terms of infections. He said there have been 5,000 tests processed at Freeman Coliseum, and 8,000 tests have been processed in total in Bexar County. There are 1,800 test results that are from federally-contracted labs from which the city and county have not received information.
  • Dawn Emerick, director of the Metropolitan Health District, gave the public new information during Monday’s briefing. She said a team with members from several agencies has case rate data and is studying where infections of the virus are occurring, racial disparities and emergency medical services calls. She said the team is looking at the data and coming up with an equity score to see which areas need additional outreach to help stop the spread.
  • Emerick said it’s important for the team to identify low-income areas that need more access to testing. She said the Metro Health teams are doing a lot of outreach in those areas to educate the public and find out what resources those communities need.
  • Emerick said the isolation facilities for the general public do not come at a cost to those who are eligible. She said those who need more information should call 311 to learn more.
  • The leaders said the county and city are working to identify trends in cases to identify how much protective equipment and hospital beds are needed when the area reaches its peak with coronavirus cases. They said the county is well-stocked with personal protective equipment and ventilators for hospitals at this time.
  • Emerick said if the data allows, Metro Health could loosen criteria for requirements on COVID-19 tests. She said the team at Metro Health is also looking at areas with more people who have underlying health conditions and trying to allocate adequate resources for those communities.
  • Emerick said more testing and the orders in place in the county and city are helping with reducing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Wolff said the county still has $3 million available to help small business owners stay afloat. He also encouraged them to apply for SBA loans and the Paycheck Protection Program.

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.

County executive order in effect until April 30:

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About the Author:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes breaking news, COVID-19 coverage, personal finance stories on the "Money: It's Personal" series, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" series.