Coronavirus/utilities update San Antonio, Feb. 18: 695 COVID-19 patients hospitalized; SAWS working to lift boil water notice

SAWS CEO says company working with TCEQ since notice was precautionary and no contaminants were found

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff updated the community about the local response to COVID-19 and the winter weather in their briefing Thursday night.

Nirenberg reported that COVID-19 case data is not available at this time due to the severe weather this week. New case and death numbers are expected on Friday.

The mayor also reported that 695 patients are hospitalized, 257 are in the intensive care unit and 149 are on ventilators.

There were 69 hospital admissions in the last 24 hours, Nirenberg said.

Wolff and Nirenberg both spoke about the rescheduling of COVID-19 vaccine appointments at the Wonderland Mall and Alamodome administration sites. Click here to see the latest information for all vaccination sites.

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Winter Weather Response Update

CPS Energy

Nirenberg gave a CPS Energy update from their leadership during the briefing. He said the company has not completely restored power to all customers, but there has been significant improvements in the company’s efforts.

Currently, some 6,000 customers still don’t have power, mostly due to damaged equipment, Nirenberg said.

CPS Energy leadership continues to push the conservation of energy to maintain stability of the statewide grid.

San Antonio Water System

San Antonio Water System CEO and President Robert Puente joined Nirenberg and Wolff during today’s briefing to update the community on the current water situation.

Puente said certain neighborhoods are still impacted with a lack of water pressure. He said broken pipes at some businesses and other areas have contributed to the lower pressure.

SAWS is in the process of creating distribution centers for those who don’t have water and will also provide bottled water to those who need it. Click here to see the bulk water distribution locations.

Puente said SAWS would be helping customers with their bills, since water was used to keep spouts leaking to avoid pipes bursting in homes and businesses. Click here to learn more.

The president and CEO says SAWS is working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to try to waive certain requirements to lift the water boil notice. He said there were no line breaks, no contaminants and SAWS uses a closed system, so the thing that triggered the notice was TCEQ’s regulations on water pressure notices.

Puente says about 20% of the SAWS system has no water and 20% has low pressure. He also said pump stations are fully operational, bringing more pressure to more people.

Winter Weather Deaths

Dr. Junda Woo, medical director of the Metropolitan Health District, said the city’s health department is working with the medical examiner’s office to find out how many people died due to complications caused by the winter weather.

Watch the entire briefing in the video player above to hear more from city and county leaders.

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About the Author:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio for four years. Using his graduate degree in business from UTSA, he developed "Money: It's Personal," a weekly series that airs on GMSA at 9 on Tuesdays. The series breaks down personal finance topics into easy explainers. Before living in SA, Ivan covered border news in the Rio Grande Valley.