The Bexar County Adult Detention Center’s push to test inmates and deputies for coronavirus continues to result in a rise in confirmed cases.

Bexar County added 103 new coronavirus cases to its total count, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Friday. Of those, 91 came from the jail, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. He pointed out that only 12 cases came from the general population, the lowest number of new cases since March 30.

“We are testing everybody that’s asymptomatic, and the numbers are running kind of high,” Wolff said. “Again, we don’t know for sure how they pass it on to someone else. So we are segregating [COVID-19 positive inmates] to be safe and to make sure they’re in a separate place.”

As of Friday, the jail has had 155 inmates test positive; 20 of those inmates have recovered so far. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office also reported that three more detention deputies have tested positive, bringing the total number to 52.

Bexar County had 1,477 coronavirus cases as of Friday. Sixty of those are hospitalized, 42 are in intensive care, and 21 are on ventilators.

Friday also marked the first day restaurants, retail stores, malls, movie theaters, museums, and libraries could reopen to in-person customers at a maximum of 25 percent of the facility’s occupancy. Assistant City Attorney Liz Provencio said the City is monitoring businesses not specifically mentioned by the governor’s Monday executive order as operations that could reopen. Flea markets, for example, will not reopen, she said.

“The short answer is anything that doesn’t fall squarely within the governor’s orders does raise a question in terms of interpretation,” Provencio said.

“But we do have guidance from our health transition team in terms of what is recommended from the health perspective and what should guide our decisions at a local level from the health perspective,” she added.

The City will continue to evaluate the San Antonio Zoo as it operates on a drive-thru basis, she said.

But San Antonio and Bexar County are still under stay-at-home orders, Nirenberg reminded residents.

“We have done a good job limiting the spread,” he said. “We need to continue to do that. And so there are more services listed that we can enjoy, but we’ve still got to stay focused on limiting the spread by staying home.”

Nirenberg said he was encouraged by reports of restaurants that chose to reopen Friday following social distancing and health guidance.

“I think the small business community in San Antonio understands very well that in order for us to get started again, people have to feel comfortable going out, and they’ve been listening to the health guidance and they know what works,” Nirenberg said. “Social distancing has worked to help us flatten the curve and limit the spread of the infection. People want to see that when they go out to places that have been closed down for a while.”

Nirenberg said he would still wait a little while longer before eating at a restaurant in person. Not Wolff.

“I would not fear going to eat at a restaurant if I knew their reputation, if I’d been there before, and if I’ve trusted them, and if they’re keeping the social distance and they’re spreading their tables out,” he said. “I plan to go to my first restaurant Monday.”

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.