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This article has been updated.
Gov. Greg Abbott extended the state’s disaster declaration on Saturday in response to the coronavirus pandemic that continues to ravage the state.
The declaration, which provides a variety of resources to curb the spread of the coronavirus, was originally issued on March 13, when there were less than 50 confirmed cases in the state. As of Friday, there were more than 480,000 confirmed cases, according to state officials.
“Renewing this Disaster Declaration will provide communities with the resources they need to respond to COVID-19,” Abbott said in a statement. “I urge Texans to remain vigilant in our fight against this virus. We will overcome this challenge by working together.”
Ages and ethnicities of deceased
6 Hispanic men ranging in age from 30 to 79
3 Hispanic women ranging in age from 40 to 89
1 white man in his 60s
With 232 new coronavirus cases in Bexar County, the total reached 42,531 on Saturday. Ten new deaths were recorded dating back to July 2, officials said. The death toll is now 432.
Forty-seven people were released from area hospitals on Saturday, bringing the total hospitalized in Bexar County down to 743. Of those, 328 are being treated in intensive care and 229 are on ventilators.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at a Friday briefing that, while local hospitalization rates have seen a slow decline, hospitals are still under severe stress, with around 20 percent of all hospital admissions related to COVID-19.
Officials are keeping a close eye on trends in local numbers, including the positivity rate, doubling rate, and rate of decline as schools plan for a return to in-person schooling. The current positivity rate is around 15 percent, but local officials want it to be closer to 5 percent when kids go back to campus. The seven-day average positivity rate in Texas is 19.3, according to the Coronavirus Resource Center at Johns Hopkins University.
Metro Health Assistant Director Dr. Sandra Guerra said that it is “highly unlikely” that there will not be confirmed coronavirus cases among students within the first 30 days of a return to campus because there continues to be consistent community spread.
“This is so prevalent in San Antonio at the moment that it is likely to end up in schools as well,” Guerra said. “How the school manages that is really going to be dependent on the advice that’s coming from the advisory councils.”
At a San Antonio warehouse stocked with personal protective equipment (PPE), Abbott on Tuesday said that local officials “know best” whether schools should reopen and that the state has enough PPE to meet every school’s needs when kids return.
“There continue to be new deliveries as we speak, on an ongoing basis, to make sure that all of the PPE supplies, of all of the schools across the state of Texas, will have their needs met at no cost to the local schools,” Abbott said.
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The state distributed more than 59.4 million masks, 24,000 thermometers, 568,000 gallons of hand sanitizers, and 511,000 face shields to Texas schools in advance of the return to in-person learning, Abbott said.
But Texas State Teachers Association President Ovidia Molina said in a statement that the PPE delivered is “a drop in the bucket compared to what will be needed.”
Molina said that “59.4 million masks are roughly 11 masks per student. That might get students through the first week of school.”