Coronavirus update San Antonio, June 23: COVID-19 hotline receives 50,000+ calls; Metro Health working to expand testing access points

Briefings to be held on weekdays

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 7,467 total COVID-19 cases and 100 total deaths in Bexar County, as of Tuesday, an increase of 311 new cases. Three new deaths were reported today.
  • City officials also reported that 518 patients are hospitalized, 146 are in the intensive care unit and 79 are on ventilators.
  • Nirenberg said Tuesday saw the most significant increase in one day of people on ventilators.
  • Nirenberg said he and Wolff updated the city and county emergency orders to limit outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more after Abbott allowed local governments to limit them. Nirenberg said, however, “(local governments) don’t have the level of local control that we need.”
  • The city’s COVID-19 hotline received it’s 50,000th call today. The mayor thanked those who are working to answer those calls.
  • Dr. Dawn Emerick, director of Metro Health, said the health authority is looking at different access points for testing each week and also asking providers to help find vulnerable communities in need. She said the announcement of a new, big access point would be coming sometime this week or next week.
  • Emerick said Metro Health is working with labs to keep up with demand for testing. She said one lab is seeing a backlog due to increased demand. She also said this puts a lot of pressure on Metro Health to educate people and ensure they stay home while they wait for results in order to decrease the possibility of more spread. “We have a choice as a community to change our behavior,” she said.
  • “A second wave -- we haven’t really hit that yet,” Emerick said. Though she acknowledged that she has referred to the current increase in cases as a second wave, today, Emerick said, “We’re in a spike.”
  • Emerick said a second wave is possible, but she’s not sure what that will look like. “We’ll worry about the second phase when we’re over this,” she said.
  • Emerick shared the following statistics:
    • She said 81% of positive cases in Bexar County are symptomatic. She also said if you are asymptomatic, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get tested. However, she said there should be priority access for those who have symptoms or underlying conditions.
    • 93% of cases in Bexar County are attributed to close contact
    • 58% of cases are close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19
    • She said 50% of calls from case investigations are not being answered. “If you get a number that says 210-207, pick up the phone,” Emerick said.
  • Wolff reminded business owners that the county will be distributing masks this week. Click here for more information on registration.
  • Wolff and Nirenberg said they are discussing measures to try to slow down the spread of the virus during the July 4 holiday.

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.