Full vaccinations now outnumber the total number of coronavirus infections in Bexar County.
Bexar County employees could receive up to a $1000 health insurance premium rebate for getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Over the weekend, Bexar County crossed an important threshold in its effort to rid itself of COVID-19.

The number of fully vaccinated residents, 206,000 as of Monday, has now exceeded the number of cumulative coronavirus cases in the county.

It wasn’t all good news on Monday. Bexar County’s positive COVID test rate jumped three percentage points and is now up to 5.6%. When the positivity rate is below 5%, the risk of coronavirus spread in the community is generally lower.

After beating back a months-long coronavirus surge in the winter, U.S. officials including the country’s leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci are closely watching what is happening in Italy.

The country, which became the first in the West to experience the harrowing effects of COVID-19 last year, is instating a new lockdown – from now until at least Easter – amid a new wave of cases there. The uptick is due in large part to the rapid spread of the more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in Great Britain.

Italy’s slower-than-expected COVID-19 vaccine rollout is also partly to blame, as fewer than 2 million Italians, roughly 3% of the population, have been vaccinated. That’s what makes the continued acceleration so important in the U.S., especially in Texas, where Wild West-style coronavirus measures are allowing some San Antonio bars to permit bare-faced patrons.

Dr. Junda Woo, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s medical director, has said maskless interactions can lead to higher transmission rates, which lead to more variants. The more variants there are, the higher the chances are for a dangerous mutation in the virus, she said.

Methodist Hospital held a vigil on Saturday to mark the anniversary of when it admitted its first coronavirus patient and to honor the lives that have been lost to the deadly disease. The hospital has treated more than 3,200 coronavirus patients over the course of the pandemic.

The confirmation of 154 new coronavirus cases brought the seven-day average in Bexar County down 11 cases, to 171. The county reported no new deaths on Monday.

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

  • 200,814 total cases, 154 new cases
  • 2,990 deaths, no new deaths
  • 215 in hospital, 16% available
  • 90 patients in intensive care
  • 53 patients on ventilators, 72% ventilators available
  • 364,179 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)

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