Coronavirus update San Antonio, July 15: Metro Health creates task force to come up with guidelines for students to return to campus

Asst. Metro Health director says refrigerated trucks not in use, despite interim director saying they were during Tuesday's briefing

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 Wednesday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 21,546 total COVID-19 cases and 208 total deaths in Bexar County, as of Wednesday, an increase of 479 new cases. Seven new deaths were reported today.
  • City officials also reported that 1,231 patients are hospitalized, 438 are in the intensive care unit and 274 are on ventilators. There are 11% of staffed beds available and 43% of ventilators available.
  • Nirenberg said the Metropolitan Health District has created a task force of educators, students and other community members to come up with guidelines for reopening campuses safely in the San Antonio area. He said discussions will begin Thursday, and the task force should have some guidance by next week.
  • Nirenberg reminded the community that there are 17 school districts in the area, so the task force needs to figure out what works best for students who may not have access to certain resources off campus. “Schools are not ready to open in August in person,” the mayor said.
  • In contrast to Metro Health interim Director Colleen Bridger saying Tuesday that refrigerated trucks were being used in the Alamo City, Metro Health Assistant Director Mario Martinez said Wednesday that the trucks were not being used. However, he said the trucks are available for facilities to request.

WATCH: Metro Health director says refrigerated trucks now in use during July 14 briefing

  • Martinez also said Metro Health is working to get more health professionals to assist with the workload needed for nursing homes.
  • Dr. Paul Hancock, with Methodist Healthcare System, said he’s seeing an increase of patients in the ICU and on ventilators.
  • Hancock said he’s seeing some COVID-19 patients staying in the hospital for weeks due to a longer recovery period.
  • Hancock said the Methodist emergency rooms are far from overwhelmed and are quiet. He said some people may not being going to the ER out of fear. However, he said doctors are able to perform surgery on those who need it most.
  • Hancock said Methodist is not using refrigerated trucks, and the health care system is managing its morgue situation.

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.