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Coronavirus update San Antonio, July 17: Bexar County sheriff gives details on COVID-19 jail numbers, protocols

5 deputies in local hospitals

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 Friday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 27,525 total COVID-19 cases and 240 total deaths in Bexar County, as of Friday, an increase of 478 new cases. Eleven new deaths were reported today. (Note: The city’s briefing graphics erroneously showed the death toll at 244.)
  • City officials also reported that 1,166 patients are hospitalized, 436 are in the intensive care unit and 298 are on ventilators. There are 11% of staffed beds available and 45% of ventilators available.
  • Wolff said there has been a four-day decline in the number of hospitalizations.
  • Nirenberg said Metropolitan Health District Medical Director Dr. Junda Woo issued a health directive to make sure schools provide online learning until Sept. 7. The mayor said Woo met with several key stakeholders over the past few days and issued the directive on Friday. The news was supposed to come next week, but leaders decided to release it sooner to help with planning.
  • Wolff said the local faith-based community is doing everything it can and believes they will be handling their schools safely.
  • Dr. Colleen Bridger, interim director of Metro Health and assistant city manager, said the health authority’s new task force will morph to be more data-focused.
  • Wolff and Bridger said a new supplemental order issued by Bexar County prevents staff members at nursing homes from working in multiple facilities. They said the temporary order is in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said there are currently 3,600 inmates in the jail. He said the facility has between 70 and 80 positive cases. Masks are still mandatory in the jail, and inmates get a new one every day, the sheriff said.
  • Forty-eight deputies are positive right now, Salazar said. There are five deputies currently in the hospital with COVID-19, according to the sheriff. One is on a ventilator and another is on an ECMO machine, he said.
  • Salazar said the jail hit its peak in May when it had 300 positive cases, many of which were asymptomatic. He said that number came down over the course of a couple of weeks.
  • Salazar said the jail is being cleaned three times a day, and a specialized mist is being sprayed twice a week. He also said all deputies must wear personal protective gear at all times.
  • Salazar said his deputies have visited more than 2,200 businesses to date to ensure compliance with local emergency orders. He said citations have only been issued within the last few days, and only 12 citations have been handed out.

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

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