Coronavirus update San Antonio, March 2: Residents urged to continue wearing masks after leaders report 249 new COVID-19 cases

7-day rolling average is 373

SAN ANTONIO – 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 Tuesday night.

Nirenberg reported 197,065 total COVID-19 cases and 2,670 total deaths in Bexar County, an increase of 249 new cases as of Tuesday. No new deaths were reported today.

The 7-day rolling average is 373.

City officials also reported that 418 patients are hospitalized, 158 are in the intensive care unit and 90 are on ventilators. There are 10% of staffed beds available and 64% of ventilators available.

There were 47 hospital admissions within the last 24 hours.

Wolff said 5,500 COVID-19 vaccines were administered by the county on Monday, and another 5,000 on Tuesday. He said more vaccines are still needed, and the county and city are ready to administer more when they become available.

“That’s another shortcoming from the state,” Wolff said in regard to the vaccine shipments.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced that businesses could open at 100% capacity and the statewide mask mandate would be reversed starting March 10. Andy Segovia, the city attorney, said the city and county cannot issue their own mask mandates and local governments are restricted from doing much to supersede the governor’s order.

County judges may opt to impose stricter mitigation strategies, other than imposing a face mask mandate, if COVID-19 hospitalizations rise above 15% for seven days straight. Click here to read more about Abbott’s announcement.

Nirenberg urged business owners to encourage employees and customers to continue to wear masks despite the mandate reversal.

“We are still going to depend on people’s common sense and humanity,” Nirenberg said. “Universally, I haven’t talked with a soul -- Republican or Democrat -- who thinks this is a good idea.”

Wolff responded to Abbott’s announcement by saying, “We all think it’s a big mistake.”

“We still have a lot of work ahead of us, and this is not the time to let our guard down,” Wolff continued.

Wolff said he believes the number of COVID-19 cases will go up when bars reopen at full capacity.

Larry Roberson, the civil section chief of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, said private businesses may create their own mask rules.

“Any private business is free to enact any operational policy that deems prudent to its own business operations,” Robertson said.

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

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE FROM KSAT:


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.