The number of coronavirus cases in San Antonio remained unchanged Friday, according to updated surveillance data, as three of the previous cases turned out to be from outside the county, and three more tested positive.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s lab processed a total of 69 tests on Thursday, returning only one positive. Two more came from private labs.

Of the 29 known cases, two that were under investigation were determined to be community spread, meaning transmission could not be traced to a known exposure to the virus.

Metro Health updated its reporting measures to include cases by gender and age group. Of the positive cases reported by private and City-run labs, 18 males and 11 females in San Antonio contracted the virus, and 31 percent of the total number of cases were found in people age 40 to 49.

Four cases remain under investigation by the local health department to determine if they are community spread or travel-related cases.

While there was no change in the number of cases, additional testing began taking place in San Antonio on Wednesday.

Coronavirus takes a minimum of 48 hours to diagnose. In addition, private labs are not required to report negative test results to Metro Health, so the number of tests administered locally each day is not available.

The case count update comes as local businesses are working to address the potential impact of a dramatic uptick in cases locally.

The Regional Health Medical Operations Center on Friday said that all hospital systems in San Antonio jointly agreed to limit all non-essential planned surgeries and procedures, including dental procedures, in compliance with the recommendations set forth by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare.

“San Antonio area hospitals will also begin limiting any visitors to hospitals with exceptions for special patient” circumstances including childbirth, end-of-life care, pediatric patients, and visits by military personnel departing for deployment,” said Michelle Jones, director of communication for the South Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC), a network of hospitals and first responders who maintain the regional trauma and emergency health care system for San Antonio and the surrounding 22 counties.

The number of health care workers who tested positive or are under investigation for coronavirus has increased in San Antonio in recent days.

A physician tested positive for coronavirus at North Central Baptist Hospital in the Stone Oak area, a Baptist Health System official announced Friday.

On Wednesday, officials with University Health System said two physicians and one nurse tested positive for the virus.

All of the health care workers appear to have been exposed to the virus through recent travel, not from their work.

Testing for coronavirus was expanded to more San Antonio residents Wednesday, when a new testing site at Freeman Coliseum opened and extended testing availability to VIA bus drivers and any resident whose doctor calls Metro Health to confirm a need for testing. Testing was previously available only to first responders, health care workers, and seniors over age 60 with a temperature of 99.6 degrees or higher.

While the new site offers the capacity to test up to 160 people per day, Anita Kurian, assistant director of Metro Health’s communicable disease division, said with available testing, the health department has the capacity to test only 200 total people as of Wednesday. But hospital systems, UT Health San Antonio, and private labs also are testing, and doctors can refer patients there, she said.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the Rivard Report.