Bexar County is seeing a record number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals.
Bexar County is seeing a record number of COVID-19 patients in its hospitals. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Good news: The coronavirus is turning up at lower rates in local residents’ tests. Bad news: COVID-19 hospitalizations are at an all-time high in Bexar County, reaching 1,520 patients on Monday.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the shift in Monday’s COVID-19 patient count was the county’s largest single-day increase. Almost 38 percent of all local hospital patients have the disease.

After many consecutive days last week in which it had fallen, the COVID-19 patient count at local hospitals has now climbed by 126 in three days. It’s an alarming trend as hospital systems in other parts of the state such as Abilene, Bryan–College Station, and Laredo reach intensive care capacity.

Nurses from other parts of the country have been deployed to San Antonio to help fight the ongoing surge in cases. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said on Monday there were 1,441 nurses from outside the area assisting in the local COVID-19 response.

“[Hospitals] are gearing up, and they’re making sure they’ll be able to handle” the rise in hospitalizations, he said.

Wolff added a silver lining to Monday’s news was that the positivity rate, often an indicator of where the coronavirus case trend line is headed, declined again. It fell from 19.7 percent last week to 17.5 percent this week. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District determines the positivity rate on a weekly basis.

Although the virus is less present than it has been in recent weeks, one of the first cases among local elected officials was confirmed on Monday, as Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert (Pct. 4) told TV station KENS-5 that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Monday, Metro Health reported 1,281 new cases of the coronavirus, as the cumulative total approaches 150,000 cases. The seven-day average dropped for the second consecutive day, to 2,028, after reaching a pandemic high of 2,261 on Saturday.

With three more deaths caused by COVID-19 reported on Monday, the local toll stands at 1,812. The deceased included two Hispanic men, one in his 50s and one in his 70s, and a Black man in his 80s. They all died in their homes.

After delaying COVID-19 vaccination appointments on Monday and Tuesday because of a behind-schedule delivery of 9,000 vaccine doses, Nirenberg announced that appointments would resume on Wednesday as the vaccines arrived on Monday.

Here are the local coronavirus numbers as of 7 p.m. Monday:

  • 149,836 total cases, 1,281 new cases
  • 1,812 deaths, three new deaths
  • 1,520 in hospital, 12% beds available
  • 437 patients in intensive care
  • 260 patients on ventilators, 52% ventilators available
  • 78,598 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)
JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez is a columnist at the San Antonio Report. A former reporter and editor at the SA Report, he currently works as a project manager for New York City-based Advance Local.