Bexar County’s coronavirus cases are growing at a dramatic clip of almost 1,000 cases a day, a rate not seen here since the virus was surging in the summer.

On Friday, the county reported 1,316 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the seven-day average up from 795 on Thursday to 952.

Although the number of patients in local hospitals declined by six on Friday, 22 of the patients discharged call the coronavirus-devastated city of El Paso home. And 84 coronavirus-positive patients, a higher number than has been seen in recent days, were newly admitted at local hospitals over the past 24 hours, officials reported on Friday.

Four more Bexar County residents – two Hispanic women, one white man, and one Hispanic man between the ages of 50 and 80 – have died from COVID-19. The local death toll stands at 1,376.

This latest spike comes too soon, local leaders said, to be attributed to Thanksgiving holiday gatherings. Mayor Ron Nirenberg warned residents to brace for more cases next week as testing throws Thanksgiving weekend’s impact into relief.

“We’re really not into the point in the epidemiological timeline for us to see the effects of Thanksgiving,” Nirenberg said. “I would expect and I would be ready for us as a community to see a lot of infections come in next week. And hopefully that will be short-lived, but we’ve got to do everything we can to protect our loved ones and also ensure that we don’t overwhelm our medical system.”

Asked what has led to the increase if not a Thanksgiving-spurred rise in social gatherings, County Judge Nelson Wolff pointed to the amount of testing now happening in Bexar County. November saw a steep rise in testing with Community Labs ramping up its efforts to test asymptomatic residents and holiday travelers presumably seeking testing before their excursions.

More than 30,000 residents have sought testing each week since the middle of November. In July, when the virus was at its peak in San Antonio, the highest testing week saw about 24,000 residents assessed.

“When we find 1,000-some-odd people with COVID that means that we can isolate them and that we can help protect them,” Wolff said. “That’s why you do more testing.”

With elevated coronavirus numbers in San Antonio, the city’s NBA franchise has decided to begin its 2020-21 season in December without fans in attendance. The San Antonio Spurs are eyeing their Jan. 1 home game against the Los Angeles Lakers to begin welcoming spectators back to the AT&T Center in a limited capacity.

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.