Bexar County’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases jumped to 140 on Saturday, increasing by 20 from the previous day. In a scheduled evening briefing, Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported zero additional deaths, meaning the death toll remains at five.
Roughly half of the 140 confirmed cases were caused by travel or close contact with someone already diagnosed with coronavirus. Forty-six cases were spread by community transmission, meaning it cannot be determined how the patient came into contact with the virus, and the remaining 23 additional cases are under investigation.
There are 37 hospitalized patients whose “symptoms are severe enough that they are requiring acute care,” Nirenberg said. Overall, there are 92 people hospitalized who have received positive coronavirus tests or are awaiting a test result.
The Texas Department of State and Health Services reported 2,052 COVID-19 cases and 27 deaths statewide as of 11:45 a.m. on Saturday.
The United States reported more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country. As of Saturday afternoon, the U.S. reported more than 120,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 2,000 deaths, according to data complied by the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.
As new coronavirus cases tick upward in Bexar County, the anticipation of a shelter-in-place order looms over San Antonio. But what does that mean?
Nirenberg warned San Antonio residents Saturday night that the City will likely see a large jump in the number of positive cases in the near future as more test results become available.
“We’re working with private labs to secure the number of private tests they have performed as outlined in our emergency health orders,” Nirenberg said. “We don’t have the total tonight because there has been a lag in private labs sharing their data, but we will in the coming days. There has also been a bottleneck at the lab where federally provided tests are being sent, which is slowing down the accumulation of results.”
Since Sunday, the testing site at Freeman Coliseum has conducted 898 tests. Private labs have conducted more, and Metro Health has conducted roughly 550 additional tests, Nirenberg said.
The City of San Antonio published detailed information for the first time Saturday night about where patients with coronavirus diagnoses reside, broken down by zip code.
“We need to put more information out there and err on the side of transparency,” Nirenberg said. “I think that people are in their homes, they are expecting more information, … and we want to make sure we put out the latest information in a way that gives them what they need to protect themselves.”
This is the first weekend San Antonio and Bexar County residents have been living under a “stay home, work safe” order. Nirenberg and Wolff announced the order Monday night and the restrictions went into place Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.
The order was put in place to emphasize social distancing as a way to slow the spread of coronavirus. Grocery stores and other essential businesses remain open, but residents are expected to remain home unless they are traveling to an essential business or work at one.
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Since last week, the police department’s non-emergency line received 557 calls about potential violations of the order. As a result, the City found 417 violations and, in each case, the business owner agreed voluntarily to comply with the order, the mayor said.
San Antonio’s school districts are closed through April 24. Superintendents announced the extension of at-home learning last week, having previously emphasized that parents and family members should prepare for long-term closures.
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Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff indicated the need to social distance will alter San Antonio’s normal traditions in coming weeks, including the Easter tradition of camping at Brackenridge Park.
“That is going to be one of the traditions we’re going to have to put a pause on because of the spread of this disease,” Nirenberg said. “I want that to continue but it can’t continue when we have COVID-19 spread in our community.”