Three more people have died in Bexar County from the coronavirus, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Sunday, bringing to the total death count to 30. At least one death was “related” to the outbreak at Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which has claimed 15 lives.

“We’ll share additional information about those cases as soon as we are able to get those details,” Nirenberg said. “The [three additional] deaths will be reported in [Monday’s] website update.”

Among the additional 49 who have tested positive for the virus since Saturday, two of them worked at the Bexar County jail: a nurse and a maintenance worker. Two inmates have already tested positive.

“Those [positives] are very dangerous signs,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said during his nightly live update with Nirenberg. “We worry about the spread of this and … it hurting not only people in jail but the guards [who could] transmit it out to the general public.”

Wolff said he met with Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar and University Health System officials on Sunday to develop a “strong, coordinated plan” to better contain the virus. Increased sanitation practices and screening of inmates entering and leaving the jail will continue and the County will start limiting recreation and isolating newcomers for at least 14 days before they enter the general population, he said.

The County is also setting up a COVID-19 “pod,” a room that can hold roughly 40-50 inmates, in case the need arises to isolate positive inmates there, he said.

Due to a shortage of masks, some staff have had to work without them, Wolff added. “We need more of them and we’ve made the request for more.”

There are now 772 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Bexar County, and of those, 135 people have recovered while 89 remain hospitalized, with 52 in intensive care and 40 on ventilators. Thirty have died. As cases continue to increase across the state, Gov. Greg Abbott extended his March 14 emergency declaration for another 30 days on Sunday.

Bexar County has more than 1,000 staffed hospital beds and only 80 percent of ventilators in the area are being used, Nirenberg said.

As of 6 p.m. neither San Antonio Police Department nor Bexar County Sheriff’s Office had reported any violations of the social distancing order at area parks. The City closed parks over Easter weekend to limit gatherings.

“We have not had violations reported to us,” Nirenberg said. “Folks seem to have complied with the orders.”

County parks will re-open Monday at 9 a.m. while City parks, dog parks, and other park amenities will re-open at 5 a.m. Basketball courts, playgrounds, and golf courses will continue to be closed.

The mayor is scheduled to host a Children’s Town Hall at noon Monday to answer the COVID-19 questions of children and their parents. Nirenberg will be joined by Justice Luz Elena D. Chapa of the State’s 4th Court of Appeals, who recently recovered from the virus.

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org