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Coronavirus update San Antonio, July 14: Hospitals have started using refrigerated trucks for bodies, officials say

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 21,067 total COVID-19 cases and 201 total deaths in Bexar County, as of Tuesday, an increase of 854 new cases. Six new deaths were reported today.
  • City officials also reported that 1,237 patients are hospitalized, 417 are in the intensive care unit and 260 are on ventilators. There are 11% of staffed beds available and 44% of ventilators available. Nirenberg said nearly 30% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 in the area had no underlying conditions.
  • Dr. Colleen Bridger, interim director of the Metropolitan Health District and assistant city manager, said there is a plan in place for when hospitals can ask for refrigerated trucks to hold bodies that can no longer fit in their morgues. She said the trucks are already in use in the area by facilities, but she did not specify how many or where they were being used.
  • Dr. Bryan Alsip, with University Health System, said most hospitals don’t have large morgues, so the refrigerated trucks are needed to handle any overflow of bodies. He said University Hospital may need the trucks.
  • Nirenberg said 62 patients, a bulk of whom were asymptomatic, and 13 staff members tested positive for the virus at the Huebner Creek Health & Rehabilitation Center. He said a second facility for COVID-19 nursing home patients is now operational. Bridger added that another facility was interested in also allowing COVID-19 patients within the next week, and some facilities want to establish wings for coronavirus patients.
  • Wolff said 66 patients and 42 staff members at Windsor Mission Oaks have now tested positive for the virus.
  • Wolff said there have been almost 130 violations of the local orders. He said 62 of those violations were related to businesses not following the orders, and 67 of them were related to gatherings. Only nine businesses have received written citations. “We’ll be citing a lot more, I’m sure,” he said. Nirenberg said the city and county are doing proactive inspections to look for possible violations and are investigating calls from tipsters.
  • Nirenberg said he would support school districts’ needs for flexibility to ensure children are learning in a safe environment. Bridger said Metro Health would not unilaterally make a decision to call for a closure of schools but would instead need to make that decision with local leaders and school districts.
  • Bridger said in the next couple of days, we should be able to understand the new July 4 numbers and see if any measures taken during that time helped ease the spread of the virus.
  • Bridger said lab testing wait times have improved, but some are taking longer than three or four days.

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

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