How San Antonio celebrates Fourth of July will impact COVID-19 wave, officials say

'Keep us safe so we can keep you safe,' hospital officials urge

SAN ANTONIO – Large gatherings during Memorial Day kicked off a COVID-19 surge two weeks later, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, which wiped hospital capacity and resulted in 9,000 confirmed cases in June.

On Thursday, with Fourth of July weekend around the corner, Nirenberg urged the public to prevent that from happening again.

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“We cannot withstand a similar surge within two weeks,” he said during a news conference held with local hospital leaders.

The hospital officials were there to help Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff emphasize the importance of maintaining social distancing guidelines over the holiday.

Although doctors are doing what they can to maximize capacity, options are limited, and only 13% of staffed hospital beds were reportedly available on Thursday.

“What’s really frightening is there’s very little we can do,” said Matt Stone, CEO for the Baptist Health System.

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People who aren’t worried about getting infected should still follow all precautions, Stone said.

“Keep us safe so we can keep you safe,” Stone said.

In an effort to help reduce the spread, Bexar County parks will be closed throughout the holiday weekend to restrict larger gatherings.

While a few celebrations are still going on around the city, Wolff urged residents to stay at home.

“We don’t want another spike on top of the spike we’re getting,” Wolff said.

The spread of the virus hit Texas hard in June, leading Gov. Greg Abbott to reverse course and issue a mask mandate ahead of the holiday weekend.

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“There will be many more Fourths of July if we work together to keep our friends and family safe,” Nirenberg said.

About the Author:

Fares Sabawi has been a journalist in San Antonio for four years. He has covered several topics, but specializes in crime, courts, open records and data visualization.