WATCH: Officials announce decontamination facility for up to 80,000 N-95 masks daily in San Antonio

Coronavirus update from San Antonio Mayor Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Wolff 4/24/20

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 Friday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 1,195 COVID-19 cases and 43 deaths in Bexar County, as of Friday. He said 63 patients are in the hospital, 32 are in intensive care and 383 have recovered. Forty-seven cases remain under investigation.
  • Nirenberg announced the creation of a decontamination facility at Freeman Coliseum for N-95 masks.
  • San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood joined Nirenberg and Wolff to discuss surge capacity. Hood is overseeing surge capacity at Freeman Coliseum -- where an alternative care facility has also been set up -- the isolation facilities built for COVID-19 patients, and the mask decontamination facility.
  • Hood said the San Antonio Fire Department is managing the transport of possible COVID-19 patients from nursing homes. He said the department is notified anytime a nursing home patient is transported to the emergency room via ambulance.
  • Hood said the mask decontamination facility should be set up by Monday. He said it will have the capacity to decontaminate 80,000 N-95 masks per day. He explained that hospitals would have workers put their initials on their masks and then send them over to the decontamination facility for cleaning. More information about the process is expected to be released on Monday.
  • Hood said six COVID-19 nursing home patients are now at the River City Rehabilitation Center, where there are 94 beds available. He said River City is “the safest nursing home in the city," and the owners have made a lot of modifications to make the facility safer for the community. He also said he doesn’t believe the facility will reach capacity.

WATCH: How the River City Rehabilitation Center has prepared for COVID-19 nursing home patients

  • Wolff said the county is seeing a downward trend of COVID-19 patient hospitalizations. He said the county is doing a good job with social distancing and following mask guidelines.
  • Wolff said the Bexar County jail is still having issues with being able to send inmates to prison due to issues within the prison system.
  • Nirenberg and Wolff said the city and county will work to come up with another strategy after Gov. Greg Abbott announces new guidelines to reopen the state on Monday. They said they’re still uncertain about what the governor’s guidelines will include.
  • Nirenberg discussed the city’s new public service announcement campaign with the San Antonio Spurs. Learn more about those PSAs by clicking here.

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.)

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE FROM KSAT:


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.