A sign advising people to adhere to social distancing measures is pictured in the foreground of an event where those protocols were largely ignored.
A sign advising people to adhere to social distancing protocols is largely ignored at an Oct. 21 political rally in Bulverde. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The county saw an increase of 247 coronavirus cases on Friday, and although the number pales in comparison to the startling spike of mid-June, health officials said they’re worried about the possibility that a third wave could hit San Antonio.

With the additional cases, the seven-day moving average in Bexar County rose to 177 on Friday. That represented the highest single-day increase in October and the highest seven-day average of the month as well.

“We’re always up here asking people to be vigilant, but it’s more important now,” said Dr. Junda Woo, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s medical director. “It’s in your hands whether we have a big and long surge or whether it’s a surge at all. We can make a difference this early on, if it is a surge, by our behaviors today.”

An updated curve model, a predictive tool used to forecast the worst or best possible scenarios in the local outbreak, was not available as of this week, Woo said, but Metro Health is working toward its own data-driven index that will give local health officials a better idea as to the trajectory of the outbreak. Officials will have a better sense of the local trend when the weekly positivity rate is released on Monday, she said.

Texas, like other parts of the nation, is in the midst of a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic – with cities such as El Paso receiving emergency help from the state as cases spike. El Paso County saw more than 100 COVID-19 hospitalizations and nearly 1,000 new cases on Friday.

However, much of the state’s most urban areas have been spared the effects of the nascent third wave thus far. Cities such as Austin, Dallas, and Houston – in addition to San Antonio – remain in relatively stable situations.

“We are prepared for a surge,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at a press briefing on Friday. “Hopefully we can avoid one; hopefully everyone does their part, and we can keep this flat and push it out as long as we can. … All the work that’s been done over the last few months has been important and is going to hopefully prove useful in the event that we see infections rise in other parts.”

No COVID-19-related deaths were reported in Bexar County on Friday, as the local death toll remained at 1,232 for the second consecutive day. Metro Health is investigating an additional 154 deaths reported to the State.

Of the 208 COVID-19 patients in area hospitals, 85 are in intensive care and 36 are on ventilators.

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez is the San Antonio Report's audience engagement editor.