Health care workers on Monday administer COVID-19 vaccines to 1,500 residents who signed up via the City of San Antonio's website and 311 line.
Health care workers administer COVID-19 vaccines to 1,500 residents who signed up via the City of San Antonio's website and 311 line. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The local coronavirus caseload is rising at its fastest rate of the pandemic with an average daily increase of 1,769 over the past seven days. The previous high was 1,716 on July 22.

With COVID-19 as pervasive in Bexar County as it ever has been, San Antonians are flooding every opportunity to sign up for the vaccine. Last week the City of San Antonio launched its online (and partially telephonic) registration for the COVID-19 vaccine, and the 9,000 appointment slots filled up in six minutes.

The pent-up demand has been felt throughout the state and nation as health care providers receive fewer vaccine doses than the number of eligible and willing recipients.

Because of that Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced the launch of 28 vaccination hubs, sites throughout the state that will be set up to administer mass vaccinations or existing ones whose supplies will be expanded. Those hubs will receive a majority of the roughly 160,000 vaccine doses being sent to the State this week.

Though all of the vaccination sites allowing members of the public to book appointments are using an honor system and not verifying eligibility, the vaccines are intended for those age 65 or older, adults with health conditions, frontline health care workers, and long-term care residents. Other groups aren’t likely to enter the fold until the late spring, officials have said.

On Monday, another 142 COVID-19-infected people were admitted to local hospitals, and one more death was reported, bringing the local death toll to 1,649. The woman in her 80s was a resident of Ventura Hills assisted living center.

Although Sunday’s 3,000-plus caseload was followed by another increase of 1,585 coronavirus cases on Monday, and COVID-19 hospitalizations keep climbing, the percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus declined for the first time in weeks, going from 23.2 percent to 19.7 percent.

The positivity rate can sometimes portend a surge or a slowdown. Citing predictive models, however, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the earliest Bexar County could see a decrease in cases is likely February.

“The velocity of this virus is extremely dangerous right now,” Nirenberg said. “There is still a tremendous amount of transmission out there. A one-week decrease in the positivity rate is not something that we can get excited or begin to relax about.”

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

  • 135,104 total cases, 1,585 new cases
  • 1,649 deaths, one new death
  • 1,433 in hospital, 14% beds available
  • 392 patients in intensive care
  • 229 patients on ventilators, 46% ventilators available
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.