‘I’m cautiously optimistic we can open schools, businesses,’: UT Health San Antonio doctor says on COVID-19 trends

The seven-day average of new confirmed cases in San Antonio is below 200 as of yet

‘I’m cautiously optimistic we can open schools, businesses,’: UT Health San Antonio doctor says on COVID-19 trends

SAN ANTONIO – As COVID-19 related hospitalizations continue on a downward trend in San Antonio, one local doctor believes we are going in the right direction as in-person school reopenings and Labor Day nears.

Dr. Robert Leverence, of UT Health San Antonio, joined Leading SA on Sunday to break down the COVID-19 numbers and projection models for the area.

“So, I’m cautiously optimistic we can open schools, businesses,” Leverence said.

The seven-day average of new confirmed cases is below 200 and as of this weekend, there are less than 400 people in the hospital because of COVID-19.

“I think probably the clearest indication of the virus activity is the hospitalizations, because it doesn’t depend on things like how much testing we’re doing or small outbreaks in a certain area. And we continue to see a continued decline in the number of hospitalizations. So we continue to be encouraged by that, although cautiously encouraged by that, because we know it’s completely dependent on our behaviors, what we do,” Leverence said.

With in-person school reopenings, Leverence said models predict San Antonio will see a stream of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations; however, it won’t be nearly as severe as the surge from the July 4th holiday.

“What the models are currently telling us is that we will continue to see a stream of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations during and after schools reopen. On the other hand, though, they’re not anticipating a near overwhelming surge like we saw in July, and that’s the good news. Of course, it’s all predicated once again on our own individual behaviors, whether we’re wearing masks, whether we’re socially distancing, whether avoiding large groups, whether we wash our hands. It’s completely dependent on that. So we need to move away from an all or nothing response that sometimes we’re prone to have. We can’t pretend that virus is not out there. On the other hand, we can’t all stay home and in shelter forever in fear of the virus... It’s going to need to be a continued mitigated approach,” Leverence said.

Despite the downward trend in infection rates and hospitalizations, Leverence said it’s important to keep following the health guidelines to keep these numbers low.

“It’s critically important that we don’t let down or let down our guard, even though we’re still on a downward slope of this last surge. This virus can bounce back at any point in time, depending on what we do,” Leverence said.

You can watch the full Leading SA interview with Leverence in the video player above.

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About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.