Bexar County saw its highest-ever increase Sunday in the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care and requiring ventilators.

The number of new coronavirus cases rose by 495 Sunday amid a trend of increasing caseloads, including a record-setting jump of 795 infected people on Saturday.

While the rise in overall cases was less severe than the day before, Bexar County hospitals reported increases of 46 patients in intensive care and 26 patients on ventilators as of Sunday, the highest rise of both in a single day since San Antonio Metropolitan Health District coronavirus data collection began. Hospitalizations rose from 730 to 802 on Sunday, with 265 patients in intensive care and 138 on ventilators.

“The truth of the matter is we still don’t know when it’s going to end,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a Friday briefing. “It’s June, folks, and we’re in the highest peak we’ve ever had. If we don’t get a handle now, I shudder to think what it’s going to be in the fall.”

Two more people were reported dead from the virus, bringing the total in Bexar County to 109.

San Antonio and other Texas cities are facing their worst-ever rises in cases, with the total number of people reported still ill in Bexar County reaching 6,888. Health officials have logged 10,147 total cases here since the crisis began, including 3,150 people who have recovered.

As of Sunday, 1,270 out of 4,713 – 27 percent – of staffed beds in local hospitals were available, with 433 out of 604 – 72 percent – of ventilators available.

The trends led North East Independent School District to close its offices this week and require employees to work from home. Employees won’t be expected to return to district facilities until July 13.

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Superintendent Sean Maika told staff in an email that the closure is “due to the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in our area and in the interest of safety.”

People ages 20 to 29 make up the largest share of San Antonio’s cases, with more than 2,500 people in that age group testing positive. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has focused on places perceived as hot spots for younger people flaunting physical distancing measures, including bars and river outfitters. Abbott closed both types of businesses on Friday, along with restricting restaurants to 50 percent occupancy from a previous order allowing 75 percent.

The City on Saturday banned gatherings of more than 10 at its parks and plazas and indefinitely postponed the planned reopening of its pools and splash pads.



Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is the Rivard Report's environment and energy reporter.