Coronavirus update San Antonio, May 17: City leaders urge residents to donate blood, plasma for COVID-19 patients

Currently, the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center’s blood bank is down to just over a two-day supply

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 Sunday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Mayor Nirenberg briefly reviewed the COVID-19 case counts in Bexar County, saying the two days with the highest amount of cases in the community was May 1 and May 2, each of which saw more than 100 new cases. As more tests for the virus become available, Nirenberg said that’s largely why the numbers of positives are going up. He said with increased case numbers, that doesn’t necessarily mean we are seeing another peak.
  • Nirenberg also said the county’s positive COVID-19 test percentage is starting to drop and that is it half of what it was in April. To learn more about the city’s statistics on COVID-19, click here.
  • Hospital numbers in Bexar County continue to be stable. Mayor Nirenberg said there are 88 COVID-19 patients in area hospitals, with 70 COVID-positive patients and 18 under investigation. There are also 31 patients in the intensive care unit and 16 patients on ventilators. Hospital capacity is at 78% and 33% of hospital beds are available, according to city leaders.
  • The outbreak at the Bexar County Jail is still stable, according to officials. As of Sunday, 1,611 inmates have had test results returned so far and of those, 1,218 have tested negative, 319 inmates were positive for the virus without symptoms and 74 were positive with symptoms. No inmates are hospitalized, officials said.
  • Governor Greg Abbott is anticipated to announce more reopenings Monday afternoon for the state of Texas. To learn more click here. City Council is also scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss small business relief, housing assistance and workforce capacity, Nirenberg said.
  • Paul Basaldua, recovered COVID-19 patient, urged residents that have tested positive for COVID-19 and that have fully recovered to donate plasma in an effort to assist those still fighting the virus. Just one bag of plasma can last up to 12 months, according to Basaldua. Donations will be accepted at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center.
  • Basaldua said the first patients that received plasma in San Antonio were on ventilators and had life-threatening cases of the virus. However, after receiving donated plasma, they were able to leave the hospital within two weeks.
  • The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center is holding a blood drive at the Alamodome May 21-23. Those that wish to donate will need to make an appointment. For more information, click here.
  • Elizabeth Waltman, with the STBTC, said there is a critical blood shortage in Bexar County. Before Mayor Nirenberg opened the city for non-emergency surgeries, the center had a seven to eight day supply of blood. However, with all of the procedures happening in local hospitals, the center has just over a two-day supply of blood, officials said.
  • Nirenberg said small businesses in the community with less than 25 employees can receive assistance from the city. Some businesses can receive essential items bags, which include a touchless thermometer, masks, gloves and plexiglass. For more information, click here.

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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