WATCH: Officials discuss progress, warning indicators to follow as San Antonio, Bexar County begin to reopen

Coronavirus update from San Antonio Mayor Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Wolff 4/30/20

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 1,374 COVID-19 cases and 48 deaths in Bexar County, as of Thursday. He said 638 patients have recovered.
  • Nirenberg spoke about the City Council’s decision to extend the San Antonio “Stay Home, Work Safe” order until May 19. Read more about the city and Bexar County orders by clicking here.
  • Nirenberg said hospital numbers are still in good shape. He also said hospital transports related to COVID-19 calls have been declining over the past few days.
  • Dr. Colleen Bridger, assistant city manager, spoke about the Health Transition Team’s four progress indicators and three warning indicators as the area begins to reopen.
  • The four progress indicators include the following:
    • A sustained decrease in number of positive COVID-19 cases over a period of two weeks. Bridger said the area is continuing to see a sustained decline.
    • The ability to perform tests on all people with symptoms of COVID-19, their close contacts and people in public facing roles. Currently, the Metropolitan Health District has the capacity for 1,600 tests per day, but leaders want to grow to be able to administer 3,000 tests per day by June, Bridger said. She said Metro Health has some slack in the testing capacity now and is encouraging those who believe they need a test to set up an appointment.
    • The ability to have effective contact tracing. Bridger said the goal is for Metro Health to have 175 contact tracers by June. She said as testing increases, more people will be brought on for those jobs.
    • A good Health System Stress Score. This score includes the number of hospital beds, staff members, ventilators, ICU beds and personal protective equipment available in the area. Starting Monday, the city will start adding the score to its COVID-19 page, Bridger said.
  • The warning indicators include the following:
    • Health experts will look at how quickly the number of positive COVID-19 cases double in a short period.
    • They will look at the increase in the percentage of tests that are positive. That number is currently a little less than 7%, according to Bridger. She said if it goes over that figure, that is a warning sign.
    • Experts will also look at Health System Stress Scores that are yellow, red or purple as warning indicators, Bridger said. She said leaders will need to take steps to reduce the spread if this happens.
  • Wolff spoke about Bexar County Deputy Timothy De La Fuente, a longtime Bexar County jailer who was found dead Thursday morning and had tested positive for the novel coronavirus the day of his death. Read more about that story by clicking here.
  • Wolff said jail officials are taking steps to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at the facility. He said he’s still seeing an escalating number of cases despite these efforts. Bridger said the jail is using a phased approach for testing inmates and deputies as capacity expands.
  • Wolff said residents of the county will be able to apply for rental assistance starting Friday.
  • Complaints for reopened or essential businesses not adhering to the state’s 25% guidelines can be submitted through SAPD’s non-emergency line at 210-207-7273. Nirenberg said civil penalties still apply for businesses not following the orders.
  • Nirenberg thanked the faith community for continuing online services, practicing social distancing and following local guidelines to keep churchgoers safe.
  • Wolff said Bibliotech will open at 9 a.m. Monday. Residents will be able to get resources for learning there. Click here to learn more.

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.

Read Bexar County’s updated executive order below. Newsletter recipients: Click here to read the order.

Read San Antonio’s updated executive order below. Newsletter recipients: Click here to read the order.


About the Author

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.

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