Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced three new deaths from COVID-19 at a televised briefing Sunday night, bringing the Bexar County death toll to 69 people.

A Hispanic male in his 50s, a Hispanic female in her 50s, and an Asian American male in his 90s died at Methodist Hospital, Nirenberg said.

The mayor also reported an increase of 24 positive coronavirus cases from the previous day, bringing the total number of cases that have been confirmed in the area to 2,442. The majority of the new cases remain under investigation as to how the person became infected with coronavirus.

There are 79 COVID-19 patients in local hospitals, 41 patients in intensive care, and 20 patients on ventilators. Seventy-seven percent of ventilators remain available and 33 percent of staffed hospital beds are available.

Joining Nirenberg Sunday evening was County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez (Pct. 2) who spoke about how the City and County plan to support residents who may be at risk of eviction now that the Texas Supreme Court has lifted its moratorium on evictions.

Rodriguez expects local courts to resume eviction hearings by mid-June. Both the City and County will reach out to those on the eviction hearing dockets to offer assistance, Rodriguez said.

“There’s still dollars in [rental assistance] accounts to make sure leading up to an eviction, hopefully we can nip it in the bud [and] get in touch with these folks,” Rodriguez said. “It helps them pay rent, stay in their homes, but it also helps the landlord by getting some rent.”

The City and County also will have officials present at the eviction hearings to make sure “no one is put out on the street,” the county commissioner said.

Rodriguez estimated about half of the County’s $4 million contribution to rental assistance programs remains available and Nirenberg estimated about half of the City’s $25 million contribution has been subscribed already. Both officials said more money would be added to the funds.

Speaking to the public on the second day of the Memorial Day weekend, both Nirenberg and Rodriguez underscored the need to maintain social distancing and wear masks if necessary while venturing out.

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Friday was the first day bars were allowed to reopen with up to 25 percent capacity. City officials received a few complaints against bars perceived to be out of compliance with the capacity rule and the police department conducted “proactive visits” to the establishments, the mayor said.

Several warnings were issued in the first 48 hours bars could reopen, Nirenberg said. He did not have an exact figure of how many warnings were issued.

However, the mayor emphasized local governments are charged with enforcing the State’s guidelines related to occupancy and physical distancing. They can enforce the orders through warnings, citations, or shutting a business down, should it be necessary.

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.