Coronavirus update San Antonio, June 16: ‘This is what we were trying to avoid.’ Officials urging community to follow health guidelines amid case spike

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 Tuesday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 4,873 COVID-19 cases and 89 total deaths in Bexar County, as of Tuesday, an increase of 436 new cases.
  • City officials also reported that 187 patients are hospitalized, 72 are in the intensive care unit and 33 are on ventilators. There are 77% of ventilators and 24% of staffed hospital beds available.
  • Nirenberg said there is an exponential surge in cases, and the city’s progress and warning indicators are starting to show that. However, he also said the county’s hospital system is currently in good shape. Click here to see those indicators.
  • “It is by far the worst crisis we’ve had since it started," Wolff said. He said if the community doesn’t take health precautions, “we’re going to be in a lot of trouble.” Nirenberg also urged residents to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines to avoid more infections.
  • Nirenberg said it’s very clear what’s happening in San Antonio and is also happening in other Texas urban areas that are seeing a rise in infections. “We need cooperation from the state to make it happen," he said. Gov. Greg Abbott’s order supersedes any local order, according to Nirenberg.
  • Wolff said there are only 30 cases in the jail that are not recovered. He said because the jail is a more controlled environment, officials have been able to lower the number of positive cases in the facility as opposed to in the community where people are free to travel.
  • Dr. Dawn Emerick, director of the Metropolitan Health District, said, “This is the largest (spike) we’ve seen since (the pandemic) started ... but our beds are filling up.” She said the local hospital systems are taking the spike very seriously, and there’s consistency across the system.

WATCH: Contact tracers working to understand spread of COVID-19 in San Antonio

  • Emerick said Metro Health is in need of more contract tracers due to the spike. “This is what we were trying to avoid," she said. She also said case investigation is done by the health authority, but contact tracing is done through a third party.
  • Contract tracers and Metro Health call positive patients to continue their investigation and reach all those infected, Emerick said. She said residents are called at least four times before there is a home visit to try to reach a positive patient. “It literally ties our hands from doing our job" when people don’t answer those calls, Emerick said.
  • Emerick said she’s not sure if younger people heading to reopened bars contributed to the spike. She also said Metro Health should have the results of those who recently protested and got tested by sometime this week. She reminded residents that testing sites remain open to the public. See those sites by clicking here.

Track daily spikes in COVID-19 cases in San Antonio, Bexar County


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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