Coronavirus update San Antonio, Aug. 3: Metro Health working to clear COVID-19 death discrepancies with state

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 Monday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Nirenberg reported 41,138 total COVID-19 cases and 370 total deaths in Bexar County, as of Monday, an increase of 56 new cases. Two new deaths were reported today.
  • Nirenberg said the low number of new cases is due to a transition to a different reporting system. He said it’s important to look at the daily average, which is currently at 760, because it’s a better reflection of trends.
  • City officials also reported that 886 patients are hospitalized, 350 are in the intensive care unit and 238 are on ventilators. There are 16% of staffed beds available and 51% of ventilators available.
  • Nirenberg said the city’s risk level was between severe and critical. (See graphic below.) He said most of the indicators were moving in the right direction, but they’re still not where they need to be.
COVID-19 Risk Level: 8/3/20 (COSA/Bexar County)
  • Nirenberg said there is a discrepancy in the deaths reported by the state due to the timing of the reported death. He said the Metropolitan Health District investigates if there is a COVID-19 diagnosis before reporting a death.
  • Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director of Metro Health, said the state has asked local jurisdictions to report any discrepancies, but the state can’t change its numbers unless a death certificate is amended.
  • Kurian said some of the death discrepancies from the state arise when there is no supporting lab data to prove a person had COVID-19 or if the person’s address was marked as being in Bexar County, even if they haven’t lived in the county for six months or longer, or if they lived in an area where a ZIP code spans over two counties and were marked as living in the wrong county. So Metro Health has to investigate these cases before reporting the deaths in its count.
  • Kurian said there are 55 deaths the state has reported that Metro Health is working to investigate. Metro Health needs to track down the facility where the death occurred, the certifier of the death certificate and the family of a person who died to make sure the death was related to COVID-19.
  • Kurian said death notifications are sometimes batched and sent over to Metro Health, which is why some deaths may be reported later than expected.
  • Kurian said the current data has been cleaned as the city transitions to a new reporting system, and she doesn’t expect duplicate cases to be a problem moving forward.
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.

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