SAN ANTONIO – Metro Health sent a text alert to Bexar County residents Wednesday afternoon recommending that everyone wear masks indoors, including those who are fully vaccinated.
The recommendation is in line with updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that also advise people to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccine status. The move back to stricter guidelines in regard to mask-wearing is due to the increase in cases and hospitalizations.
Bexar County is now at a moderate risk level for COVID-19 and the community positivity rate has risen to 17% this week, according to Metro Health.
“Due to the highly contagious delta variant, it is extremely important that people mask in public facilities to once again slow the spread of this virus. The vaccine is also the best tool we have to continue the fight against COVID. It is safe, effective, and free,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.
There were 585 COVID-19 patients in Bexar County hospitals and 182 in the ICU as of Tuesday, with 76 patients on ventilators.
According to data released by Metro Health, at least 95% of those hospitalizations are people who are unvaccinated.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff announced Wednesday that they plan to send a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott requesting the ability to enforce wearing masks in schools and government buildings in an effort to help quell a resurgence in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Read more on that here.
Metro Health officials are still urging people to get vaccinated and recommends that fully vaccinated persons ages two and up wear masks in public indoor settings.
“We continue to urge you to get vaccinated. Once you are fully vaccinated, the vaccines are effective against the coronavirus as well as the Delta variant,” said San Antonio Metro Health Director Claude Jacob. “This will help relieve the pressures experienced by area hospitals further downstream.”
To date, Metro Health is reporting 236,382 total cases and 3,601 deaths with 62.5% of Bexar County residents fully vaccinated.
“COVID-19 vaccines are available and can help our children remain as safe as possible from the virus, so they can focus on learning,” Jacob said.