The COVID-19 death toll is approaching 3,000 in Bexar County.
The COVID-19 death toll is approaching 3,000 in Bexar County. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Now that some nursing homes have fully vaccinated residents, the facilities are beginning to welcome back family and friends who were unable to see their loved ones for more than a year.

Isolation has been the unfortunate outcome for many residents whose long-term-care facilities were under strict protocols since the pandemic began, but the threat to life was immense given their particular vulnerability to COVID-19 and how rapidly the coronavirus spread throughout nursing homes facilities all over the country.

On March 10, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a new set of guidelines for the first time since September. Indoor visits could be restored in facilities with vaccinated residents and declining coronavirus infections, per the guidance. Here’s reporter Shari Biediger with more on the hope the vaccine has provided nursing home residents and their loved ones.

Lawmakers at the state capitol have taken the first step toward enacting legislation that would allow nursing home residents to claim an “essential caregiver,” who would be allowed to visit the resident in-person during public health emergencies. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has designated the bill a priority.

In Brazos County, home to the city of Bryan, about 70% of the 177 new local cases have been among people in the 18-24 age bracket. Twenty-somethings are the age group with the greatest proportion of coronavirus cases in Bexar County, but that rate has held steady at 21% of all cases, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. The 20-29 age group accounts for 16% of the local population, he said.

Local laboratories are seeing a decline in demand for testing, likely due to an increasing number of vaccinated residents, but with the lifting of the mask order and many ignoring health precautions amid spring break, I suspect we could see a hike in people seeking tests.

Community Labs still provides free COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic people at four locations. You can book your test here.

With 186 new cases of the coronavirus reported on Wednesday, Bexar County’s seven-day average stood at 187, an increase after the case rate had seen steady decline.

Four more have died from COVID-19 complications, including a Hispanic woman in her 20s, a Hispanic man in his 60s, a white man in his 60s, and a white woman in her 80s.

The COVID-19 patient count increased by two from Tuesday.

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

  • 201,196 total cases, 186 new cases
  • 2,995 deaths, four new deaths
  • 208 in hospital, 11% available
  • 74 patients in intensive care
  • 42 patients on ventilators, 70% ventilators available
  • 378,521 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)
JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

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