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More than 60,000 Bexar County residents have been tested for the new coronavirus as of Friday, showing that efforts to ramp up testing have been going well, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at the Friday coronavirus briefing.
But the increase in testing has also led to a backlog of around 6,000 tests pending results at area labs that, once processed, could lead to an uptick in cases, Nirenberg said.
Included in the backlog are people who took the test several weeks ago, San Antonio Metropolitan Health Medical Director Dr. Junda Woo said. Because while testing sites have increased, the number of labs has stayed the same. But the backlog “doesn’t mean there are 6,000 positives,” because the test sites include asymptomatic patients.
Fifty-three people tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, and a woman in her 90s died while being treated for symptoms at a Baptist Health System facility.
Of the 2,636 people who tested positive Bexar County, 575 did not display any symptoms.
Nirenberg said that the community is “going to have to learn to live with this virus in a way that we can manage and maintain it,” which includes businesses following sanitation guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as practicing safe physical distancing and wearing masks when unable to do so.
Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff encouraged businesses working toward reopening to sign the “Greater. Safer. Together.” pledge, where businesses commit to employees using face coverings, providing hand sanitizer, conducting temperature checks, and implementing contactless payment when available.
Wolff said that small businesses outside of the San Antonio city limits can receive personal protective equipment including masks and plexiglass shields at Freeman Coliseum on Monday if they register in advance.
“We want customers to know businesses are getting started in a safe manner and doing the right thing so we can get back on with our economy,” Wolff said.
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People experiencing any COVID-19-related anxiety or stress should reach out to the Center for Health Care Services, the local mental health authority, whose crisis line is working to quell the fears of employees going back to work, families experiencing struggles at home, and other concerns. Crisis responders can be reached at 210-223-7233.
“We just got through Mental Health Awareness Month, and we want to stress that mental health services [for community members] are immediately available to people experiencing trouble,” Wolff said.