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WATCH: Health leaders discuss Bexar County’s COVID-19 peak

Coronavirus update from San Antonio Mayor Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Wolff 4/28/20

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 Tuesday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 1,307 COVID-19 cases and 44 deaths in Bexar County, as of Tuesday. He said 56 patients are in the hospital, 33 are in intensive care, 16 are on ventilators and 31 cases remain under investigation.
  • Nirenberg and Wolff discussed the City Council and Commissioners Court’s joint meeting that happened Tuesday afternoon. They said local governments are working to expand contact tracing and testing as the state begins to reopen. Nirenberg said more information on contact tracing efforts is expected this week.

Explained: How San Antonio, Bexar County plan to reopen businesses, activities

  • The mayor and county judge say they are working on new orders that will follow guidelines that were announced by Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday. Nirenberg said the new orders will contain guidance on face coverings.
  • Wolff said the Economic Transition Team is expected to present a new report next Tuesday.
  • Nirenberg said the city has a new COVID-19 website that is very user-friendly and has all the available local data. You can access the page at covid19.sanantonio.gov.
  • Dr. Barbara Taylor, with UT Health San Antonio and the COVID-19 Health Transition Team, said the transition team has provided guidance and suggestions to the city and county based on health data. She said that guidance overlaps and intersects with Abbott’s plan for reopening the state.
  • Taylor said many models seem to imply San Antonio is past its peak for COVID-19 infections, but she said there are still outbreaks to deal with, like the one at the Bexar County Jail. She said the pandemic is not over, but she is optimistic that the area is moving in the right direction.
  • Wolff said the jail has a supply of face masks to last a couple of months.
  • Taylor said health officials will need to keep an eye on hospitalizations for COVID-19 coming from nursing homes and other places where outbreaks can occur. Nirenberg said new guidelines would need to be implemented if there is an increase in the number of new cases.
  • Dr. Dawn Emerick, director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, said her department is working to expand testing. She said one way it’s doing that is by increasing mobile testing sites soon. She also said another large drive-thru testing site is coming to expand access points.
  • Emerick said the city and county will need additional testing supplies and capacity.
  • When asked about Fiesta, Nirenberg said the event is still scheduled, but the city will have to monitor the situation closely before making any major decisions.

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.

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