A pregnant woman in her 20s was among the COVID-19 deaths reported in Bexar County on Thursday.

She was 35 weeks pregnant, had been hospitalized at University Hospital, and had underlying medical conditions. Because of patient privacy laws, officials declined to provide further information such as whether the baby survived.

The woman was one of 16 deaths reported on Thursday. Eleven were from a review by local public health officials of death certificates provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services. The fatalities occurred between July 14 and Sept. 2 and brought the death toll in Bexar County to 851.

A day after reports surfaced of a plan to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine beginning as early as late October, the White House’s vaccine chief cast doubt on that timeline. In an interview with National Public Radio, Dr. Moncef Slaoui said the availability of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of October is “extremely unlikely but not impossible.” Slaoui maintained, however, that 20 million people could be immunized by the end of the year.

As Labor Day weekend approaches and brings cooler weather with it, local elected officials at a Thursday press briefing warned community members against large social gatherings.

Ages and ethnicities of the deceased

• 6 men between ages 60 and 79

• 4 women between ages 20 and 89

• 2 white men in their 50s

• 2 Hispanic women between ages 50 and 69

• 1 Black woman in her 60s

• 1 Hispanic woman in her 70s

County and City parks will be closed throughout the holiday weekend from Friday at 11:59 p.m. to Tuesday at 5 a.m.

Although COVID-19 hospitalizations have declined to their lowest level in months, Mayor Ron Nirenberg reminded residents that observing pandemic precautions is paramount to avoid another spike in cases. A surge in hospitalizations following Memorial Day weekend brought the local health care system to the brink, Nirenberg said.

“Although the number of cases have dropped, coronavirus is still present throughout our community,” he said. “So we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones this Labor Day by wearing masks, keeping 6 feet of distance from others, and avoiding large crowds.”

Residents who plan to gather on Labor Day should choose an outdoor location and avoid areas with poor ventilation, Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff (Pct. 3) said. Wolff also recommended against doing a family-style spread; instead, residents gathering for shared meals should package them individually.

Coronavirus cases in Bexar County increased by 157 on Thursday, bringing the overall caseload to 47,070. Fewer than 350 Bexar County residents were in the hospital on Thursday, with 155 in intensive care and 87 on ventilators. Just 24 COVID-19 patients were admitted to area hospitals in the past day, the lowest number in quite some time, Nirenberg said. The hospital bed and ventilator capacities in Bexar County stand at 13 percent and 65 percent, respectively.

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