SAN ANTONIO – Shortly after San Antonio officials confirmed 1,268 COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff gave a blunt assessment of the situation.
“This is an extraordinarily dangerous time,” Wolff said.
Tuesday’s startling daily high capped off a tumultuous June, a month in which Bexar County reported 9,235 COVID-19 cases.
June’s tally alone made up 74% of the county’s cumulative total of 12,504 COVID-19 cases reported this year.
San Antonio also saw its highest monthly positivity test rate in June, the percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive, coming in at 13%.
The numbers indicate a rapid spread of the virus throughout the past month.
While the death toll in San Antonio remains low at 111, the surge in cases has the potential to overwhelm the health care system, medical experts said. Only 27% of staffed hospital beds were available as of Wednesday, with hospitalizations hitting a new high at 1,019.
Methodist Hospital emergency room physician Dr. Robert Frolichstein said he’s worried about eventually having to choose between who gets treated and who doesn’t.
“I don’t think we’re there yet, but it is time to start taking this seriously,” Frolichstein said. “If this rise goes unchecked, then we will reach that point and that, that’s a bad thing if we reach that point.”
In an effort to slow the spread, Wolff issued an executive order requiring businesses and customers to wear face masks inside any business.
Wolff applied additional measures this week, encouraging businesses to also implement temperature and COVID-19 symptom screenings.
“We’re not trying to shut down the economy,” Wolff said.
Experts encourage the public to continue practicing social distancing standards and wear face coverings indoors to reduce the spread of COVID-19.