Syringes are stacked in preparation for vaccinations at the Wonderland of Americas mall.
Syringes are stacked in preparation for vaccinations at the Wonderland of the Americas mall. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

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As the nation grappled with surpassing 500,000 coronavirus-related deaths in one year, San Antonio passed 2,500 deaths. Nine new deaths were reported Tuesday, for a total of 2,501.

While the rate of new coronavirus cases appears to be on a downward trend with 270 reported Tuesday, City representatives cautioned that the severe weather of last week disrupted testing and reporting so the data might not show the actual current course of the disease.

Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger said the 2,800 coronavirus tests completed Monday represented a steady increase since testing sites had reopened, but the number is “nowhere near the numbers that we were seeing in January, so time will tell whether this is an increase to the new normal.”

As health conditions in the area appear to be improving, local officials have turned some of their attention toward helping residents recover from last week’s winter storms. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff opened the Tuesday briefing by discussing a new $5 million pipe repair program for residents of the unincorporated areas and small suburban cities throughout the county.

The approximately 500,000 residents of those areas will be able to apply for up to $1,000 in funds to help offset the cost of repairs from water pipes that burst in the frigid temperatures of the freak winter storm, Wolff said.

The program will begin “fairly soon,” he said. “I think it’s probably going to be a pretty big demand for that.”

The program will be administered by the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) and will complement the $2 million Community Pipe Repair (CPR) charitable fund for lower-income residents announced Monday by Mayor Ron Nirenberg.

The City also announced that starting Wednesday, a new Emergency Resource Call Center (ERCC) and website will assist residents affected by the storm. Residents are instructed to dial 311 and select option 5, or call 210-207-6000, or visit Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Residents will be directed toward disaster assistance from available programs, including the CPR fund.

Though SAWS has restored service to most of the county, Wolff noted that broken pipes mean a continued need for the free water distribution program currently in place “for the foreseeable future.”

One new distribution site will open Wednesday at 8 a.m. at 28036 Boerne Stage Road, to add to the eight sites currently in operation. Wolf said 11,676 cases of water had been distributed so far, an average of 4,400 cases per day.

“Thank you, Judge,” Nirenberg said. “All hands on deck to help our neighbors in need.”

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

  • 193,961 total cases, 270 new cases
  • 2,501 deaths, 9 new deaths
  • 569 in hospital
  • 208 patients in intensive care
  • 126 patients on ventilators
  • 218,547 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)

Senior Reporter Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with...