355 new COVID-19 cases in Bexar County, San Antonio

No new deaths reported for first time since June 29

Visitors, some wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, walk through downtown San Antonio, Monday, July 20, 2020. Cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay) (Eric Gay, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – As COVID-19 hospitalizations plateau in Bexar County, officials reported 355 new cases on Monday, bringing the total case count to 36,438.

No new deaths were reported for the first time in Bexar County since June 29, officials said, keeping the death toll locally at 323.

Since hitting a peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations on July 13, hospitalization numbers have been on a slight but consistent decline. That trend continued Monday, as officials reported 1,073 patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Of those patients, 431 are in the intensive care unit, which is an increase from Sunday, and 294 patients are on ventilators.

Officials reported 11% of staffed hospital beds and 45% of ventilators are available in Bexar County as of Sunday.

Declining hospitalizations, along with a positivity rate that dropped 5% last week to 17.7%, are encouraging signs rate of infections are slowing. But officials have said there is still a long way to go and that residents should not get complacent with social distancing guidelines.

The goal is to get the positivity rate down to 5%, officials said.

As Texas continues to deal with the pandemic, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a one-week extension to early voting in the 2020 general election. The added time allowed more voters to head to the polls to reduce the chance of gatherings or long lines at polling places.

Abbott first tried an extended early voting period during the runoff election in July, when roughly 10% of registered voters in Bexar County cast a ballot.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa called Gov. Abbott's extension of the early voting period a "bare-minimum decision."

“National public health and voting experts agree: We need expanded mail voting for Texans under the age of 65, more money for county clerks to carry out elections, and leadership from our state leaders that supports voters instead of disenfranchising their rights,” Hinojosa said in a statement.

Read also:

How contact tracing works in San Antonio

Classroom Confessionals: How San Antonio-area parents, educators feel about sending kids to classrooms

World’s biggest virus vaccine put to final test in thousands of volunteers

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.