Metro Health to make 30,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointments available Thursday
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District will make 30,000 first-dose Pfizer vaccine appointments available starting at 7 p.m. Thursday. Residents can register for an appointment on the Metro Health COVID-19 vaccine registration website. The appointments are reserved for people who meet the current criteria for priority groups 1A, 1B, and 1C unless there are still appointments available on Monday when the state opens up vaccines to all adults. By signing up, they will receive a text notifying them of locations that have appointments available. At this time notifications will be for the Alamodome, Wonderland of the Americas operated by University Health, UT Health San Antonio, and WellMed.
Two Cases of COVID-19 UK variant identified in Bexar County
SAN ANTONIO – The first known cases of the COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant have been identified in two residents of Bexar County, Metro Health officials said. The results of genetic sequencing this week showed that their infection was caused by the UK variant strain. According to studies, this UK variant does not seem to cause a more severe illness. At this time, there are very few cases caused by this UK variant in the United States. Related Stories:Health expert says San Antonio ‘could be in for a world of hurt’ with COVID-19 variantsFirst case of UK COVID-19 variant confirmed in Austin-Travis County
Some second dose COVID-19 vaccination appointments scheduled this week at Alamodome to be rescheduled
A health care worker administers a COVID-19 vaccination at the new Alamodome COVID-19 vaccine site, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County health officials announced Monday that anyone scheduled to receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination at the Alamodome on Tuesday through Thursday of this week will be rescheduled because of a shipment delay from the Texas State Health Department. Second-dose appointments scheduled on Monday and Friday of this week are unaffected by the delay. “We understand that some may be concerned about the extended time between their second dose but we are within CDC guidelines to ensure the vaccine will still work with no issues. Anyone who has had a first dose automatically has a second dose reserved for them.
Metro Health working to identify if new coronavirus variant has made its way to Bexar County
SAN ANTONIO – Researchers are working on learning more about the new variant of coronavirus found in the United Kingdom. In San Antonio, the Metropolitan Health District is working to identify if the variant has made its way into our community. Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director of Metro Health, says the only way to confirm if the mutation has made it to San Antonio is by looking at the genomic sequence, which helps identify the strain. Researchers say all viruses tend to mutate, and the COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be effective against the new variant. RELATED: Vaccines, therapeutics should still be effective against new coronavirus strand, San Antonio doctor says
Coronavirus update San Antonio, Dec. 7: Leaders report 1,210 new COVID-19 cases; positivity rate now 15.7%
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff updated the community about the local response to COVID-19 in the daily briefing Monday night. Nirenberg reported 88,196 total COVID-19 cases and 1,397 total deaths in Bexar County, an increase of 1,210 new cases as of Monday. Nirenberg says the positivity rate has increased to 15.7%, up from 9.2% last week. The overall COVID-19 risk level remains at “moderate.”Kurian says since the hospital stress score has remained static, it has kept the risk level at “moderate” for this week. “If you want to stay open, then you should contact TABC” to be able to serve food, Wolff said to bar owners.
Families hope to reconnect with loved ones living in long-term care facilities after COVID-19 vaccines are distributed
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted 13-1 to recommend priority be given to health care workers and those living in long-term care facilities in the first days of any coming vaccination program. Eryn Morris, whose mother is staying in a long-term care facility in Seguin, is hopeful for what’s to come. “Back in March, they shut all of these facilities down,” Morris said. “Mainly the hospital staff working directly with patients positive or at high risk for COVID-19 and long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents and EMS providers and home health care workers as well,” Kurian said. The CDC’s advisory committee is set to meet again after the FDA announces emergency approval for the vaccine.
San Antonio Indian Nurses’ Association donates more than 1,000 blankets to homeless community
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Indian Nurses’ Association will be visiting homeless camps in downtown San Antonio on Wednesday to deliver about 250 blankets to those without homes. “During this holiday we thought of helping our unfortunate neighbors and this is our kind gesture of giving something from our association to the homeless people,” said SAINA President Dr. Pressanna Parackal. Nurse volunteers along with coordinators from Haven for Hope will be delivering the blankets. It’s happening from 1 to 4 p.m.On Saturday, SAINA will hold its second annual Conference & Gala with the theme “Celebrating superheroes.” During the virtual event they will be donating another 1,000 blankets to various groups including Haven for Hope, Child Advocates of San Antonio, Endeavors, and South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless. Several esteemed guests are expected to attend the event including Dr. Anita Kurian, Assistant Medical Director, City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District along with nurses from 14 different countries.
Coronavirus update San Antonio, Nov. 30: Leaders report 1,117 new COVID-19 cases; positivity rate down to 9.2%
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 Monday night. Nirenberg reported 81,174 total COVID-19 cases and 1,357 total deaths in Bexar County, an increase of 1,117 new cases as of Monday. City officials also reported that 587 patients are hospitalized, 182 are in the intensive care unit and 99 are on ventilators. The positivity rate is at 9.2%, down from 10% last week. Wolff has said he would close bars again if the positivity rate is 10% for two consecutive weeks.
Once a COVID-19 vaccine is available, what will that look like locally? Metro Health discusses plan
SAN ANTONIO – The city of San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District wants to keep people informed when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, which is not yet available. In its effort to educate and inform Bexar County residents about vaccine developments, Metro Health even created a COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Committee. Early in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, there will be a limited supply of the vaccine, health officials said, adding that supply will increase into 2021. Once a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for distribution, Metro Health will follow CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services’ recommendations on vaccine allocation and priorities and will update the local plan accordingly, as needed. To keep the community informed about the changing situation, Metro Health and community partners will host virtual town halls to answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Coronavirus update San Antonio, Sept. 21: Officials report 102 new COVID-19 cases, 1 new death
SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s Note: Watch the entire briefing in the video player above. 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 Monday night. Nirenberg reported 53,443 total COVID-19 cases and 1,062 total deaths in Bexar County, as of Monday, an increase of 102 new cases. City officials also reported that 226 patients are hospitalized, 85 are in the intensive care unit and 45 are on ventilators. Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director of the Metropolitan Health District, said there have been 17 positive COVID-19 cases involving students and 29 involving school staff members since campuses reopened.
Medical professionals gear up for flu season during the COVID-19 era
SAN ANTONIO San Antonio medical professionals are gearing up and changing protocols as the start of flu season nears. Dr. Ralph Riviello, chair of emergency medicine at University Hospital and UT Health San Antonio, says the flu season was moderate in 2019-2020, but he and other doctors are expecting the season to be busier than normal this year. It wasnt the worst I had experienced, but we saw a fair number of patients per day in our emergency department with flu-like symptoms, Riviello said. Medical experts across the country and locally are also looking at the flu results from the Southern Hemisphere, where the flu season is in full swing. Ive read reports out of Australia where theyre undergoing their flu season now, and that was mild compared to other years, Riviello said.
San Antonio to host drive-thru flu shot clinics in the fall
SAN ANTONIO San Antonio health officials are preparing for the flu season amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and coming up with new ways to get people their flu shot while trying to limit the spread of both viruses. What we will be giving is the quadrivalent flu shot, which protects everybody six months and older against two flu A and two flu B viruses, said Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director of the Metropolitan Health District. San Antonio pediatrician urges people to get flu vaccine early to avoid twin pandemicMetro Health will be hosting drive-thru flu shot clinics in San Antonio this fall. Kurian said people who have recovered from COVID-19 can get a flu shot. Anybody six months and older is eligible to get the flu shot, should get their flu shot, so we minimize the medical visits, the hospitalizations, and thereby the subsequent strain on our health care system that might occur, Kurian said.
Metro Health official explains how positive COVID-19 cases are investigated in Bexar County with new system
It dug itself out of a backlog caused by the sudden surge of COVID-19 positive cases that it needed to investigate. Metro Health may be calling you for contact tracingMetro Health says it has 165 case investigators. Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director of Metro Health, during the contract tracing process, positive COVID-19 test results from labs are sent to the Texas Department of State Health Services and Metro Health. Because of the surge in cases, Metro Health contracted Emocha Health to help handle this part of the process. Kurian says with more staff and an updated system, Metro Health has a better handle and turnaround on case investigations.
Coronavirus update San Antonio, Aug. 1: Metro Health working to clear COVID-19 death discrepancies with state
COVID-19 Risk Level: 8/3/20 (COSA/Bexar County)Nirenberg said there is a discrepancy in the deaths reported by the state due to the timing of the reported death. Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director of Metro Health, said the state has asked local jurisdictions to report any discrepancies, but the state cant change its numbers unless a death certificate is amended. So Metro Health has to investigate these cases before reporting the deaths in its count. Kurian said there are 55 deaths the state has reported that Metro Health is working to investigate. Kurian said death notifications are sometimes batched and sent over to Metro Health, which is why some deaths may be reported later than expected.
Coronavirus update San Antonio, July 27: First time zero new deaths reported since late June
SAN ANTONIO Editors Note: Watch the entire briefing in the video player above. 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 Monday night. The mayor said one person came to San Antonio as a hurricane evacuee from the coast this weekend and was helped by the Red Cross. She said the goal is a 5% positivity rate. Track daily spikes in COVID-19 cases in San Antonio, Bexar CountyMORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE FROM KSAT:
Bexar County Hits Record Hospitalizations for COVID-19
Bexar County hit a dubious record on Wednesday with 92 coronavirus-positive patients hospitalized, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. The previous record for the county was 91 patients hospitalized on April 6. Health officials monitor warning and progress indicators in totality, said Anita Kurian, assistant director at the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. As of Tuesday, Tarrant County had 144 deaths, Travis County had 85 deaths, Dallas County had 211 deaths, and Harris County had 221 deaths. Walk-up testing sites open Thursday at San Antonio College at 1819 N. Main Ave. and Highlands High School at 3118 Elgin Ave.therivardreport.com
Community briefs - Northeast Herald
Mills lays out how to execute the plan: Stay home, wash you hands and uphold social distancing. The new schedule, which went into effect Monday, hopes to preserve bus service on 14 of its busiest routes, a news release states. VIA has been adding buses to routes when drivers notify dispatchers that a passenger limit of 16 has been reached. Updates on VIAs response to COVID-19 and related service alerts are posted regularly to VIAinfo.net/covid-19. It will be hosted by country singer Garrett T. Capps live from The Lonesome Rose from noon to midnight May 9.mysanantonio.com
Spurs team up with the city for new 'Go San Antonio Go' COVID-19 public service announcement
Spurs team up with the city for new 'Go San Antonio Go' COVID-19 public service announcementA new public service announcement featuring Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Spurs point guard Patty Mills lays out a "game plan," championing for the city's social distancing efforts, as researchers predict the local peak to come within the next three weeks. less A new public service announcement featuring Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Spurs point guard Patty Mills lays out a "game plan," championing for the city's social distancing efforts, as researchers predict the local ... more Photo: Courtesy, City Of San Antonio Photo: Courtesy, City Of San Antonio Image 1 of / 1 Caption Close Spurs team up with the city for new 'Go San Antonio Go' COVID-19 public service announcement 1 / 1 Back to GalleryThe city is teaming up with the Spurs to get its "save lives by staying home" message out to San Antonio. Go San Antonio Go." pic.twitter.com/O2InbQcdTD City of San Antonio+= (@COSAGOV) April 24, 2020Dr. Anita Kurian, Assistant Director at Metro Health, said the city has managed the number of COVID-19 cases "well," but that does not mean San Antonio is in the clear. If we do not limit our movement and stay home, San Antonio could face a second peak of cases, she said in a news release.mysanantonio.com
Local Coronavirus Cases Rise from 11 to 25 as Testing Ramps Up
Bexar County has 25 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to local surveillance data,All of the local cases can be traced back to travel-related contraction, city health officials said. The increase came as local labs including Quest and Pro Lab reported positive test results to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department. Of the 25 positive cases, eight were travel-related, diagnosed in people who traveled outside of San Antonio, and four were people who were in close contact with someone who was already infected. Metro Health reported testing 135 people for coronavirus in the City-run lab. The increase in positive coronavirus cases locally comes as San Antonio opened a new coronavirus testing site at Freeman Coliseum on Wednesday that has the capacity to administer up to 16 tests per hour.therivardreport.com
New Coronavirus Testing Site Aims To Increase Availability, Decrease Confusion
The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District opened a new coronavirus testing site at Freeman Coliseum on Wednesday that has the capacity to administer up to 16 tests per hour. At the new site, patients are seen by appointment, and their doctor will need to have contacted Metro Health in advance to refer them for a new coronavirus test, Kurian said. But hospital systems, UT Health San Antonio, and private labs also are testing, and doctors also can refer patients there, she said. Greg Abbott announced Monday that Texas would have enough coronavirus testing sites for 10,000 people to be tested for the virus weekly. On Tuesday, Metro Health reported 11 positive cases of travel-related novel coronavirus in San Antonio.therivardreport.com
Diamond Princess evacuees to be released from coronavirus quarantine at Lackland Tuesday
Diamond Princess evacuees to be released from coronavirus quarantine at Lackland TuesdayMayor Ron Nirenberg, left, and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, right, listen to Anita Kurian, San Antonio Metropolitan Health assistant director, talk about the latest developments with the coronovirus evacuees in San Antonio on Monday, March 2, 2020, at Plaza de Armas. Now, only individuals who have been symptom-free for the full 14-day quarantine period will be released. Some of the evacuees are being bused directly to the San Antonio International Airport in small groups based on their flight times. Evacuees will be transported from Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland to San Antonio International Airport in shifts. Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger noted the evacuees set to be released showed no symptoms over the 14-day quarantine.mysanantonio.com
Mayor Declares Coronavirus Health Emergency to Halt Evacuees Release
Mayor Ron Nirenberg declared a local state of disaster and public health emergency related to coronavirus Monday, preventing the release from quarantine of 122 cruise ship passengers evacuated from Japan to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. My default position here is that Texas officials & San Antonio officials need to be the ones to make the call about any releases of anyone into our communities in Texas. Metro Health on Saturday contacted officials at the hotel and the mall, encouraging them to complete a routine wipedown with disinfectants and to notify health officials should anyone begin to develop symptoms of a respiratory infection, Kurian said. However, CDC officials said she had two negative test results 24 hours apart, which they considered appropriate grounds for release. The official tally of confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas remains at nine all of them quarantined at the Texas Center for Infectious Disease.therivardreport.com
After CDC Release, Coronavirus Patient Visited SA Mall, Hotel
Metro Health on Saturday contacted officials at the hotel and the mall, encouraging them to complete a routine wipedown with disinfectants and to notify health officials should anyone begin to develop symptoms of a respiratory infection, Kurian said. Credit: Scott Ball / Rivard ReportHowever, CDC officials said she had two negative test results 24 hours apart, which they considered appropriate grounds for release. City and County officials said they are asking CDC officials to not allow coronavirus patients to be released until they receive three negative test results in a row. Guidance from the medical community has been to ensure that all tests come back before a person is released from quarantine, Nirenberg said. Test results for COVID-19 are typically received 48 to 72 hours from the time they were submitted to the CDC.therivardreport.com
San Antonios Flu Season Off to an Early Start, Claims Life of One Child
Anita Kurian, assistant director of Metro Healths communicable disease division, said that while this flu season got off to an early start, it did not start early and abruptly. Since the health department began tracking flu in October, the increase has been slow and steady throughout the city. We are just seeing flu activity begin to pick up, Kurian said. Peak flu season is typically between December and May, according to the CDC, which maintains nationwide flu activity as reported by county health authorities. The nasal spray vaccine contains a weakened live virus, while the flu shot contains dead influenza virus strains. Dont wait for the flu season to begin, or for it to get worse, Kurian said.therivardreport.com
Increase In State, Local Reporting Efforts Behind Rise In Congenital Syphilis Rates
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released Tuesday has Texas leading the nation for cases of congenital syphilis, with 367 cases, or 92.2 per 100,000 live births. Congenital syphilis occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy, which can cause deformed bones, brain and nerve problems, and severe anemia in children. Since 2013, Metro Healths Healthy Beats program has been working to ensure appropriate testing and treatment for syphilis occurs during pregnancy. The initiative was created to address the countys congenital syphilis rate in 2012, which was 3.4 times higher than the states. Kurian said the program hired a congenital syphilis coordinator to lead the health departments congenital syphilis case review team that meets on a quarterly basis to take an in-depth look at the cases. The group has reviewed 15 cases of congenital syphilis since they began meeting in Nov. 2018.therivardreport.com
Understand: Acute flaccid myelitis and its symptoms
SAN ANTONIO - Acute flaccid myelitis has been around for almost five years and is still a very mysterious disease. We tend to see a spike in cases of acute flaccid myelitis every two years, Kurian said. We strongly believe viruses play an important role in acute flaccid myelitis, Kurian said. Kurian said patients with AFM usually have respiratory symptoms a week before, such as coughing or sneezing or a fever. Some may have symptoms longer than a year, and in severe cases, AFM can be fatal.