Bexar County COVID-19 risk level ‘severe’ amid 3,800+ case surge, officials say

Metro Health says positivity rate at 27.3%

TOPSHOT - Restaurants are empty on the river walk on April 1, 2020 in downtown San Antonio, Texas, during a stay at home order amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. - The US death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 5,000 late on April 1, according to a running tally from Johns Hopkins University. (Photo by Mark Felix / AFP) (Photo by MARK FELIX/AFP /AFP via Getty Images) (MARK FELIX, Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has raised Bexar County’s COVID-19 risk level to “severe” this week due to an increase in stress on the local hospital system, a rise in daily cases over the last two weeks, as well as a 27.3% positivity rate, according to officials.

Metro Health says the new omicron variant expectedly accounted for 90% to 100% of cases in the county.

There were 3,894 new COVID-19 cases and two new deaths reported Monday. Officials said 506 patients are hospitalized, 22 of whom are pediatric.

“While the case numbers are surging, the data indicate that vaccines are preventing severe illness,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg in a written statement. “Vaccines remain the best defense against any variant of COVID-19. Get vaccinated, wear a mask and stay home if you are sick.”

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said University Health announced Friday that hospitals were going into a critical situation.

“We have asked for 400 nurses and will be asking for more,” Wolff said in a written statement. “People need to help us avoid filling up our hospitals by taking precautions such as masking up, sanitation and avoiding gatherings.”

Nirenberg and Wolff are pushing extra COVID-19 precautions to prevent more virus spread. Masks, social distancing and vaccinations are essential amid a spike in cases to avoid severe illness, officials say.

Metro Health says the City of San Antonio has requested expanded testing capacity at the state’s testing sites. Additional city testing sites will be set up this week, and officials will provide an update when they open to the public. Find no-cost city testing sites by clicking here.

Metro Health is offering the following testing guidelines:

  • Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household.
  • A positive self-test result means that you have an infection and should avoid indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else.
  • A negative self-test result means that you may not have an infection. Repeating the test with at least 24 hours between tests will increase the confidence that you are not infected.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need help interpreting your test results.

Click here to find more city COVID-19 resources.

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility as of 1/3/22 (KSAT)

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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.