Bexar County’s coronavirus count rose by another 50 positive cases and two more deaths, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Friday.

Two residents from the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center died on Friday. The nursing home had 74 residents and 27 staff members test positive for the new coronavirus as of Friday – an increase from the previous total of 67 residents and eight staff members. Those two deaths bring the total number of deaths from the outbreak to 12, and Bexar County’s total death count to 24.

“Aside from Southeast, there are no other localized outbreaks at nursing homes in Bexar County, and we’re grateful for that,” Nirenberg said.

One of the residents who died on Friday was a Caucasian man in his 80s. The other was a Hispanic woman in her 80s. Both had underlying health conditions.

There are now 665 positive cases of COVID-19 in Bexar County. Of those, 92 people have recovered while 89 are hospitalized, 56 are in intensive care, and 44 are on ventilators.

Nirenberg said, though he’s unsure when San Antonio will hit its peak for positive coronavirus cases, he hopes that predictive models specific to the region will be made available by Saturday.

The City also announced Friday that two nursing homes in Bexar County had been cleared out and prepared to receive residents from other area nursing homes who test positive for COVID-19 in order to avoid other outbreaks in nursing facilities. Nirenberg said that Westover Hills Rehabilitation and Healthcare has more than 100 beds, while he’s unsure how many patients River City Care Center can house.

“As a result of the nursing home situations in both Kirkland [Washington] and [what] we’ve seen here in our community, it’s very clear that we need to have facilities made available that are isolated from the general public, but also from residents who are well,” Nirenberg said. 

Neither nursing home has any COVID-19 patients, and the facilities will only be used to isolate nursing home residents who test positive for coronavirus, he said.

Meanwhile, Bexar County Adult Detention Center reported its first case of coronavirus in an inmate on Friday. The inmate reported feeling shortness of breath on April 9 and was found to have a fever over 100 degrees. The inmate has been in custody since March 11, and was placed in isolation in a negative pressure cell when they first reported COVID-19 symptoms.

Though the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office does not know how the inmate contracted COVID-19, two living units at the jail have been locked down while individuals in those units are placed under medical observation. The sheriff’s office has requested COVID-19 tests for all the inmates in those units and all inmates at the jail will wear surgical masks. They will also have time restrictions in the dayroom to maintain social distancing. 

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Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he believed the sheriff’s office was taking all the proper precautions but was still concerned about asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus transmitting to the rest of the jail.

A public safety communications dispatcher also tested positive for COVID-19, the sheriff’s office said Friday. That employee has been at home self-monitoring for symptoms since March 31 after a family member felt sick before also testing positive for COVID-19.

Nirenberg and Wolff also urged faith leaders to avoid hosting in-person worship services for Easter weekend, even if they are allowed to under Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order. Churches that are hosting services in person must follow social distancing guidelines, but the CDC is recommending against in-person meetings, Nirenberg said. 

Wolff said he would be celebrating the holiday with his family virtually.

“All of us are going to get on Zoom and we’re going to celebrate Easter together, but not going to jeopardize each other’s lives,” he said.

Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is a general assignment reporter at the Rivard Report.