SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio and Bexar County has more than 1,120 people in the hospital and 122 dead because of the coronavirus as of yet, and city leaders are still working to get a grip on the spread in the community.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg joined Leading SA Sunday to discuss the recent surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, state leadership decisions and what the school year could look like.
“We started opening up Texas in May. At the same time, we began to open up very quickly through the governor’s orders without the benefit of the data showing us, you know, the effects of the previous decision opened up in each phase,” Mayor Nirenberg said.
The mayor said it wasn’t just the early reopening phases in the state that led to the surge in cases and hospitalizations.
“You had that coupled with the fact that there were a lot of mixed messaging about things like face mask wearing, and I think it encouraged people to let their guard down,” Mayor Nirenberg said.
He said despite the mixed messages from different local leaders, the simple act of wearing a mask can make an impact in slowing down the spread of the virus and saving lives.
“Until there’s a vaccine or therapeutics, we just have to continue to be on guard and and make sure that we’re mindful of what the medical professionals are telling us. That, you know, protect yourself, protect your family, make sure that we’re not complicating the medical system and we can get through this together,” Mayor Nirenberg said.
Hospitals in Bexar County are inching closer to meeting capacity as COVID-19 cases continue to spike. Mayor Nirenberg said city leaders are working with the South Texas Regional Advisory Council to track capacity in San Antonio hospitals, but there is a plan in place in case capacity is reached.
“In the event that one or two or even the whole hospital system gets overwhelmed, there’s a place that we can offload patients. So that’s where you’ve been hearing things like... about the Freeman Coliseum and other ways that we’re reducing elective surgeries. So there’s capacity in the hospitals, but it really comes down to us working together to limit the spread of the infection,” Mayor Nirenberg said.
In Bexar County, residents are required to wear face masks when out in the community, bars have closed their doors and some restaurants have opted to close their dining rooms to help contain the spread of COVID-19. We asked Mayor Nirenberg if there was a chance the city could have another “Stay Home, Work Safe,” order if the upward trend of cases and hospitalizations continue.
“We don’t want to see that happen, but it’s not outside of the realm of possibility. Right now, though, the governor is controlling what opens and closes in terms of what’s considered essential activity and what’s considered a reopened activity. So what we can do here locally is make sure that people are are exhibiting those behaviors and know the best guidance from the public health professionals,” Mayor Nirenberg said.
Mayor Nirenberg said he is continuing to work with state leadership in keeping Texans safe through the pandemic.
“I think the governor has realized that some things have been happening too fast. And so, you’ve seen some of these the reopening plans rolled back, which I think is a good decision.”
You can tune in to the full interview with Mayor Ron Nirenberg in the video player above.