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Coronavirus update San Antonio, May 23: City leaders say coronavirus is not a hoax, nor a political issue

‘I think there’s many people that are trying to make this pandemic a political issue, but it’s not.’

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 Saturday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 2,418 COVID-19 cases and no new deaths in Bexar County, as of Saturday. The current death toll remains at 66.
  • City officials also reported 12 new cases from the community, 3 new cases from the Bexar County Jail and 1 case from other congregate settings. Ten cases are under investigation. Health officials continue to monitor progress and warning indicators to make sure the county is in good shape in terms of infections.
  • Area hospitals are still seeing a bit less of COVID-19 patients, according to Nirenberg. As of Saturday, 70 patients are in local hospitals, 38 patients are in intensive care and 19 patients are intubated on ventilators. A total of 76% of ventilators are available and 32% of hospital beds.
  • In terms of congregate settings, Nirenberg said as of Saturday, 38 of 65 nursing homes have been 100% tested for coronavirus. The tests will continue through next week as part of Governor Abbott’s order, Nirenberg said. On Saturday alone, officials tested over 800 nursing home staff and residents.
  • After video surfaced online of Bexar County GOP Chairwoman Cynthia Brehm stating that the coronavirus is a “hoax” or essentially “a political issue,” city leaders weighed in on the comments. Judge Wolff said Brehm was a good example of “a crazy person” running for office. Mayor Nirenberg said in part, “I think there’s many people that are trying to make this pandemic a political issue, but it’s not.” Nirenberg finished his statements by quoting Gov. Greg Abbott, who reminded Texas residents to “wear a mask.”
  • With Memorial Day weekend in full swing and several bars around town opening at 25% capacity under Governor Abbott’s orders, Mayor Nirenberg said city officials have received some complaints of some businesses and customers not abiding by the health guidelines. Nirenberg said the city has received reports of businesses going over the 25% capacity rule and some citizens not social distancing. City leaders said any residents that witnesses a business not abiding by the health guidelines should make a report with San Antonio police.
  • Mobile testing sites in San Antonio were close to reaching their testing capacity on Saturday, according to Nirenberg. Both sites were just nine tests away from hitting their maximum amount of tests for the day. City leaders and health officials hope this response continues. For more information on where to get tested, click here.

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