SAN ANTONIO – Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are continuing to surge in San Antonio following recent holiday celebrations.
At the same time, medical professionals are also working to administer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to those who are eligible.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg joined Leading SA on Sunday to discuss the current state of the city during its fight against the pandemic and what we can expect to see in the coming weeks.
“Well, the situation with the pandemic in San Antonio is still very difficult and dangerous. But I will say that as we look into the new year and even right now, we’re starting to reach a turning point. We know that the holiday season is unfortunately in many ways behind us, and we are getting to now a more rigorous part of the vaccination process. So as our health care workers, front line workers and others begin to get vaccinated, we all need to continue to exhibit patience and do our part to slow the spread of the virus. If we do that, the turning point will work in our favor,” Nirenberg said.
As more coronavirus cases are reported in the Alamo City, more patients are seeking treatment in area hospitals.
Nirenberg said with the uptick in cases, the situation in local hospitals is worsening as more beds are filled.
“The local hospitals are in command of their situation, but it’s very serious. They are stressed. They are seeing record numbers of admissions every single day with regard to coronavirus, much higher than even we saw during the summer,” Nirenberg said.
Although the case and hospitalization numbers are reaching record highs for COVID-19 in San Antonio, Nirenberg said this peak is different in terms of severity.
“The other thing that we’re hearing is that the severity of cases is different than it was this past year or excuse me, this past summer. The length of stay for the average COVID admission is significantly shortened. And I think it’s because we know more about the virus. And also, regular residents in general know more about the virus. They’re attuned to the symptoms and are seeking medical help more quickly. That allows the doctors and the medical experts to get in front of it on an individual basis, just as we are trying to do so with the pandemic in general,” Nirenberg said.
As coronavirus cases are spiking in the area, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are still being distributed to those who are eligible.
Mayor Nirenberg said front line health care workers are first to get vaccinated, and then more vulnerable populations will be next in line.
“Obviously, first, it’s frontline health care workers and those who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients, and then we get into more vulnerable populations that are susceptible to severe effects of the illness, those over 65, et cetera. And eventually we’ll be getting into the general population,” Nirenberg said.
Although there’s more than one vaccine available, the distribution process hasn’t been smooth sailing so far, according to Nirenberg.
“Right now, we’re coordinating a very discoordinated system of vaccine distribution that starts with the federal government allocating to states and then the states to the locals,” Nirenberg said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of work over the next several days and week to help the providers. There’s over 90 of them in town that have been allocated vaccine resources. We’re going to be working with those providers to provide a more seamless way to administer the vaccine here locally.”
In the meantime, Mayor Nirenberg said it’s still crucial for residents to be patient and to continue following the health guidelines put in place to lessen the spread of the virus.
“We’re asking folks to be patient, do their part, everything that that someone does to limit the spread in their own household, washing hands, wearing a face mask when they go outdoors, keeping physical distance between themselves and people who are not part of their household. Everything that they do in that regard is saving lives and it’s also limiting the stress that’s on our local hospital system. So continue to do your part and we will get through this this year,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
You can watch the full interview with Mayor Nirenberg in the video player above.