Coronavirus update San Antonio, June 11: ‘Take this seriously, please.' Metro Health director discusses what uptick in case numbers means

Briefings only held Tuesdays and Thursdays

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 3,840 COVID-19 cases and 82 total deaths in Bexar County, as of Thursday. Three new cases are from the community, one is from the Bexar County Jail, five are from congregate settings and 183 are under investigation. Two new deaths were reported.
  • City officials also reported that 122 patients are hospitalized, 54 are in the intensive care unit and 25 are on ventilators. There are 79% of ventilators and 31% of staffed hospital beds available.
  • Dr. Dawn Emerick, director of the Metropolitan Health District, said, “The numbers are certainly creeping up." She said while hospital admission numbers are important, all progress and warning indicators need to be taken into consideration. However, she also said, “We are entering a second wave," as other cities in Texas are seeing an uptick in COVID-19 numbers.
  • Emerick said while there had been spikes in the past due to backlogged testing results, the numbers from the last four days were mostly not attributed to those backlogs. She said while it’s not definitive, the spike in cases could be due to people visiting and going out on Memorial Day weekend and also the state allowing for the reopening of the economy.
  • Emerick said when looking at the statewide data, there is a consistency in behavior across the state during Memorial Day weekend. She said a sustained increase in symptomatic positive cases in a large number is a trigger for Metro Health.
  • Emerick urged the public, especially those who have underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, to “take this seriously, please.”
  • Metro Health has issued the following health directive guidelines:
    • Face coverings for people over the age of 2 should be worn when going out. Emerick said it’s not recommended for children under 2 to wear face masks because of suffocation risks.
    • Follow standard health protocols.
    • Stay home if you’re sick.
    • Review U.S. Food and Drug Administration information if you are getting an antibody test.
    • Do not visit nursing homes or assisted living facilities unless there is a critical need.
    • All labs must report testing data to Metro Health.
  • Emerick cautioned that many antibody tests are unreliable and only some are FDA-approved.
  • Metro Health is also having issues with contract tracing due to lack of communication from some patients who test positive. “We’re also finding a lot of people who are not returning our phone call during case tracing investigations," Emerick said. “We can’t stop this disease from spreading if we’re not in partnership with you."
  • Emerick said there will be a better understanding of the current data once Metro Health produces a new epicurve, which will be updated Monday night. She said once people start engaging with contract tracers, there will be more data available for the epicurve.
  • When positive patients don’t communicate with Metro Health after several phone calls, members of the fire department and Mobile Integrated Healthcare program make home visits in an attempt to reach those people. “It’s a small percentage, but, no, we don’t find everyone," Emerick said.
  • The public will have to wait another week before seeing any results from recent protests that have been happening across Bexar County. “It’s too early," Emerick said.
  • Nirenberg said leaders from major urban cities in Texas are going to communicate with Gov. Greg Abbott as a group and show him the available data. “There may have to be actions taken,” Nirenberg said.
  • Two new walkup testing sites have opened at Roosevelt High School and Allen Elementary School. Click here for more information.

Coronavirus data: San Antonio cases stabilizing, but officials urge vigilance to avoid second wave


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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