Coronavirus update San Antonio, May 4: ‘We’re seeing a real slowdown in the number of cases we are getting,' health officials say

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 Monday night. See the full video in the player above.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 1,652 COVID-19 cases and 48 deaths in Bexar County, as of Monday. This was an increase of 39 new cases. Thirty-four new cases were confirmed at the Bexar County Jail and five in the community.
  • City officials also reported that 57 patients are hospitalized, 33 are in the intensive care unit and 18 are on ventilators.
  • Nirenberg said the county is on a downward trend as far as positive cases of COVID-19. He asked anyone who believes they need a test to call 311 to schedule an appointment for one. He also emphasized that social distancing and preventive measures are working and should continue in order keep the number of positive cases down.
  • Dr. Dawn Emerick, director of the Metropolitan Health District, said, “We’re seeing a real slowdown in the number of cases we are getting.” She although our area is on the other other side of a now-flattened curve, it’s important for leaders to continue monitoring progress and warning indicators laid out by the Health Transition Team.
  • Emerick said the doubling rate of positive COVID-19 cases is now at more than 2.5 weeks. When the emergency orders were first issued, the doubling rate was every three days, she said.
  • Emerick cautioned that things can’t go back to the way they were before social distancing started. She said social distancing and preventive measures have helped with flattening the curve. She also said more positive cases could be possible with easing restrictions as the state begins to reopen.
  • Nirenberg said since the latest executive orders were put in place last week, there have been 63 violations and 34 citations for non-compliant businesses. He said unless a facility is expressly permitted under the governor’s guidelines, then it is not allowed.
  • Nirenberg said the homelessness issue in the city has become much more visible to people. He said homeless hubs have been set up throughout the city, and they provide meals, screenings, masks and sanitation kits to homeless people. He also said no shelters are taking in people right now because it could lead to an outbreak, but there are isolation facilities for homeless people who contract COVID-19.
  • Wolff said there are now 286 completed applications for Bexar County rental assistance program.
  • Wolff said the Economic Transition Team will present a report to the Commissioners Court and City Council on Tuesday.

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.

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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.