Bexar County counted 36 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total count to 1,231, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Saturday. No new deaths were reported.

There were also more than 100 people added to the recovery list, Nirenberg said. There are now 497 people in Bexar County who have fully recovered from COVID-19, 40 percent of the county’s total reported cases.

No additional cases were reported at the Bexar County Adult Detention Center, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. On Saturday, the San Antonio Fire Department started testing deputies as they reported for duty, testing around 90 deputies over the course of the day, Wolff said.

He acknowledged the difficulties that come with preventing further coronavirus spread at the county jail. With more than 3,000 people incarcerated there living in close quarters and officers coming and going, there is a chance detention deputies could bring the virus into the jail themselves, Wolff said.

“Then we also have a compounding effect that every day there’s new bookings,” Wolff said. “I think yesterday, we had 79 new bookings coming into the jail. We’ve been doing the temperature [checks] twice a day now, and everyone is watching for anybody that has symptoms. But it’s a real challenge and unlike anything else that’s facing the city.”

Wolff said he was also unsure of when inmates would start universally getting tested for coronavirus, but that it was an eventual goal of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s department said Saturday that testing would continue each day until all staff and inmates have been tested.

“In recent cases, many of the inmates and staff working at the jail who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic carriers; by testing everyone, it will provide data on what percentage of the staff and inmate population have actually contracted COVID-19,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

Dawn Emerick, the director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, also said the San Antonio region will see more test results as two new testing sites open up at a Westside Walmart and Texas MedClinic urgent care center. The Walmart site started testing Saturday, Emerick said.

“I don’t have any numbers for them, but I think that as long as we continue to see more people setting up really sound, evidence-based testing sites, then we’re going to see our numbers increase, which is really great,” Emerick said.

She also said that the status of San Antonio’s nursing homes is in “really good shape and it’s being controlled.” As of Saturday, there were seven people housed in the River City Care Center, the nursing home that accepts residents from other area nursing facilities that test positive for COVID-19.

“In a nursing home situation, one positive is an outbreak to us because of the vulnerable situation that is in the nursing homes,” Emerick said. “One positive – whether it’s staff, or whether it’s a resident – is an outbreak, so we’re being very, very cautious with that.”

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.