WATCH: Local leaders discuss COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program and how it will help residents

Coronavirus update from San Antonio Mayor Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Wolff 4/23/20

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s Note: Watch the entire briefing in the video player above. Newsletter recipients can click here to access the video.

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 Thursday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 1,167 COVID-19 cases and 43 deaths in Bexar County, as of Thursday. He said 64 patients are in the hospital, 32 are in intensive care, 20 are on ventilators and 361 have recovered. The county has 80% of ventilators available and 34% of staffed beds available.
  • Nirenberg discussed the City Council’s approval of the $25 million COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program to help those who are not able to keep up with bills, rent or groceries because they were affected by the pandemic. Nirenberg said the city received $270 million from the CARES Act, but there was no instruction on how the city should allocate those funds.
  • Nirenberg said the Pecan Valley Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center has one staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 and another who was exposed to someone with the virus and whose case is under investigation.
  • Lori Houston, assistant city manager, said the COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program will help between 15,000 and 19,000 individuals or families. She said the available funds are based on the city’s budget. Residents who want to apply must show proof that they live in the city of San Antonio and are experiencing hardship because of the virus. Click here to learn more about the program.
  • Nirenberg reminded residents to comply with the safety orders that are in place. He said the city and local police are enforcing the orders. Wolff also thanked businesses for enforcing them.
  • The mayor also discussed the new testing sites on the South and West sides that are open to the public. Click here to learn more about those sites.
  • Wolff said the county jail is doing the best it can in terms of separating inmates to avoid more infections. He also said detention officers are working to make it as safe as possible in the jail, which is not easy to do since there are different levels of offenders.
  • Wolff said Bexar County received $79 million from the CARES Act to help the unincorporated areas in the county. He said a strategic plan is being crafted to find the best use of those funds.
  • Wolff said the Commissioners Court and the City Council will meet Tuesday to discuss the plan on how to reopen the area.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March. The first case confirmed in the U.S. was in mid-January and the first case confirmed in San Antonio was in mid-February.

ADDENDUM TO STAY HOME, WORK SAFE ORDER (Newsletter subscribers, click here to view.)

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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.