Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said Monday the San Antonio area is in good shape as Gov. Greg Abbott’s new reopening guidelines take effect but cautioned the public to continue following health recommendations to prevent coronavirus spread.

“In terms of us being able to … assess, treat, isolate all of the infections that might occur in our community as things begin to open, we’re in a strong position,” Nirenberg said. “Now, with regard to the effect of opening things up, we know there’s going to be more physical interaction, so there’s going to be more potential spread of this virus.”

Abbott issued a new executive order Monday that allows personal care businesses and day care facilities to open immediately while bars and other businesses can open with limited capacity starting Friday. In his announcement, he urged Texans to continue “maintaining safe distances, wearing a mask, sanitizing your hands.”

“It is a fact that these safe practices … save lives,” Abbott said. 

Nirenberg echoed Abbott’s message, asking San Antonians to keep their fellow community members’ health in mind. He said local health officials will continue to monitor data to make sure indicators such as new coronavirus cases continue to trend in the right direction.

“Now, if there is a conflict between the health professionals’ guidance into how we work to contain that and what the state would have us do, that’s a bridge we would have yet to cross,” he said. “We hope there isn’t a conflict if we get to that point.”

Bexar County reported 2,213 cases Monday, an increase of 93 since Friday, Nirenberg said. Twenty-three of those came from the community and 37 from the Bexar County jail. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District did not provide new daily coronavirus case numbers on Saturday and Sunday.

There were no new deaths to report, Nirenberg said, but there are 77 COVID-19 patients in the hospital – 36 in intensive care and 18 on ventilators. The hospital capacity data is trending in the right direction, Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger said. Local health officials continue to monitor three progress indicators: the rate of positive COVID-19 tests, the number of new cases, and testing capacity. And San Antonio has upped its daily testing capacity to 3,000 tests, though testing demand averages around 1,500 per day, Bridger said.

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The governor mentioned only two out of the four indicators during his Monday news conference: hospital capacity and positivity rates.

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“But even when you look at all four of the progress indicators that we have, they’re all great,” Bridger said. “They’re all in good shape.”

This article has been updated to correct the total number of positive coronavirus cases reported in Bexar County.

Jackie Wang

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