The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus increased by 23 from the previous day, Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced Sunday evening during a televised briefing. He also reported no additional deaths and the death toll remains at 43.
Sunday’s announcement means there are 1,254 confirmed coronavirus cases in the area and 531 people have recovered from the virus. An additional 680 people are still fighting coronavirus.
Fifty-eight patients remain hospitalized and 33 are in intensive care. Seventeen of the ICU patients are on ventilators.
The majority of the cases, close to 1,000, come from either close-contact with someone already infected or community transmission, when officials can’t determine the infection’s origin.
Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff spoke less than 24 hours in advance of a Monday announcement by Gov. Greg Abbott that will likely outline steps to reopen portions of the Texas economy. Officials in Abbott’s office have said an announcement would take place at 2:30 p.m. on Monday.
“San Antonio is preparing to hear some orders from the governor,” Nirenberg said. “We are very focused on making sure the actions that we take here in San Antonio are guided by public health first, medical guidance, to make sure that as we begin to enjoy activities a little bit farther down the road, we are also mindful of doing them in a safe manner.
“The worst thing we can do is put all of that work that we’ve been doing together for social distancing, keeping each other safe by staying home, to waste if we do our next steps carelessly.”
In a series of radio interviews last week, Abbott previewed the opening of a variety of businesses including hair salons and retail establishments, according to reporting from the Texas Tribune.
Nirenberg said reopening the local economy would be done in a more phased approach, with an eye to the number of infected residents.
“I think it would be a mistake to think that all of a sudden next week or the week after or whenever the governor starts opening things up it is going to be done like a light switch,” Nirenberg said. “This will be calibrated as our ability to contain new infections is demonstrated.”
The mayor noted that cities and areas around the county and state will likely operate on different reopening timelines.
During a radio interview, Abbott said he would take geographic differences into consideration prior to his announcement.
San Antonio has a smaller number of confirmed cases than its peer major metropolitan areas around the state. However, Anita Kurian, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s assistant director of the communicable disease division, said some of this might be due to a slower pace of testing.
“Currently in our community, we can test up to slightly over 1,600 specimens a day but we are only seeing anywhere from 650 to 700 tests being performed,” Kurian said.
She did not know exactly why everyone who needed a test was not coming to be examined but guessed that it could have to do with the initial messaging that encouraged residents to stay home if they had minor symptoms.
Between Metro Health and other local labs, 21,383 tests have been administered, with 93 percent of tests coming back negative, according to data posted on the city’s website.