Most tables at Casa Rio on the River Walk are filled the weekend before Memorial Day.
The politicization of mask usage continues to be an ongoing threat to the coronavirus response. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The downward trend in coronavirus cases has hit a plateau.

Bexar County had been seeing a gradual decline in coronavirus cases since early February, but in recent days that decline has stalled as the county continues to see daily increases, albeit much smaller than the numbers experienced at the peak of the winter surge. Plateaus tend to be followed by spikes in cases.

The most important metric right now is hospitalizations, and the hospital census remains on the downslope, though some in the local medical community worry about the ramifications of Texas’ reopening and mask mandate removal.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against spring break gatherings, and federal officials have pleaded with the public to stay home until a greater share of the country has been vaccinated. But that hasn’t stopped the droves of spring breakers from descending on the sandy shores of Florida and Texas.

In addition to the images of maskless revelers at the beaches of South Texas that you’ve probably seen, a video of Austin’s Sixth Street – in which few club-hoppers were pictured with their faces covered – is making the rounds.

We’ll know more about the effects of spring break in about two weeks.

If you are looking to book a vaccine appointment, a new tool from the CDC and Boston Children’s Hospital features a searchable database that will find vaccine providers near your zip code. The site allows users to filter by proximity as well as vaccine brand. When I ran a search for my zip code (78202), about 20 providers with available vaccine supply came up within a 10-mile radius. It’s called VaccineFinder, and anyone can use it.

According to a San Antonio Metropolitan Health District presentation on Tuesday, many of the zip codes with a high percentage of vaccinated residents are in the city’s northwestern suburbs on the western perimeter of Loop 1604. The Alamo Heights zip code of 78209 also is in that category. Here is the map.

With 194 new cases of the coronavirus reported on Tuesday, the cumulative total now tops 201,000 cases since the pandemic began. The seven-day average stands at 174.

The death of a Hispanic woman in her 70s brought the local COVID-19 death toll up by one on Tuesday, as coronavirus hospitalizations have fallen to their lowest level since Oct. 20.

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

  • 201,008 total cases, 194 new cases
  • 2,991 deaths, one new death
  • 206 in hospital, 12% available
  • 84 patients in intensive care
  • 47 patients on ventilators, 70% ventilators available
  • 369,379 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)

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