As the local coronavirus outbreak stabilizes, the death toll continues to sharply rise.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District reported 26 deaths on Wednesday, including previously known fatalities confirmed as part of an ongoing discrepancy in deaths reported by State and local authorities. The deaths occurred between June 12 and Aug. 11. The death toll now stands at 545.

With 710 people currently hospitalized at area hospitals for COVID-19-related symptoms, the hospital system remains under high stress, with 53 new admissions Wednesday, officials said.

The stress score monitored by the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC) factors in space available in emergency rooms and intensive care units, availability and usage of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as staff loss related to treating COVID-19 patients. STRAC downgraded the area stress score from severe to high on Monday.

Ages and ethnicities of deceased
  • 7 Hispanic women between age 50 and 99
  • 5 white men between age 60 and 99
  • 4 residents of unknown ethnicity between age 70 and 95
  • 4 white women between age 50 and 99
  • 3 Black men between age 70 and 99
  • 3 Hispanic men between age 40 and 89

“We’re starting to see our [hospital] admission levels daily remain stable,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

Of the 710 COVID-19 patients in area hospitals, 309 are in intensive care and 213 are on ventilators. 

With the number of daily coronavirus cases stabilizing, local authorities are meeting the need for contact tracing and investigating, said Mario Martinez, assistant director of Metro Health. 

With 291 new coronavirus cases reported Wednesday, the total is now 43,455, bringing the seven-day average to 259 cases per day. 

According to STRAC’s monitoring of local cases, the numbers are moving in the right direction, Nirenberg said; they’re just not moving very quickly. 

“Even once we get the transmission level down we want to see the positivity rate below 5 percent before we really feel like it’s under control,” Nirenberg said. The local positivity rate hovers around 13 percent. 

Bexar County parks will be closed over Labor Day weekend, thanks to an executive order Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff issued on Wednesday. The closure will begin Sept. 4 and end Labor Day, Sept. 7.

Wolff and Nirenberg issued similar orders during the Easter and Fourth of July weekends.

“We want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to make it as safe as we can here,” Wolff said.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the San Antonio Report.