San Antonio’s health care leaders urged the public Thursday to help reduce the “alarming spike in COVID-19 patients” as local hospitalizations continue to soar

Eight San Antonio health care entities released a joint statement Thursday asking residents to continue wearing face-coverings in public, staying home when possible, and keeping 6 feet apart from people outside their household. 

The statement was signed by representatives from the Baptist Health System, Christus Santa Rosa Health System, Methodist Health System, Southwest General Hospital, University Health System, UT Health San Antonio, the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, and the Veterans Health Administration.

“The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in local hospitals is growing at an alarming rate and on track to surpass the July surge in a matter of days,” the letter stated. “Without action to reduce the spread of the virus in this community, we will reach capacity, and our ability to save lives and care for the sick and injured will be in serious jeopardy.”

The leaders urged the public to “take this threat seriously” and to “do their part to get this virus back under control.”

Pointing to their staffs’ work throughout the pandemic and this latest wave, the eight leaders said the best way to thank local health care workers is by taking steps to slow the spread.

“These people have dedicated their lives to caring for your family members as they would their own,” the leaders wrote. “Without your help, they will face an extremely challenging surge of patients. No one wants that to happen.”

Noting that San Antonio is a “social community,” the leaders said they realize it is hard for residents to stay apart – especially during the holiday season. However, until the vaccine has been more widely distributed extreme precautions must be taken, the letter said.

“That day will come, but until it does, we must remain vigilant to avoid a crisis in our hospitals and further tragic losses of friends and loved ones,” the health care organizations wrote. “We’ve lost too many people already, so let’s do our part to slow the spread. We can do it, San Antonio.”

Lindsey Carnett covers the environment, science and utilities for the San Antonio Report. A native San Antonian, she graduated from Texas A&M University in 2016 with a degree in telecommunication media...