San Antonio continues its long winter fight against the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout, though additional federal aid is on the way for those facing eviction.
Health officials reported 2,507 new cases in Bexar County on Thursday, bumping the seven-day average to 2,063. The new cases bring the total number to 155,588 since the pandemic began.
Thousands of new people are receiving vaccines every day, though doses remain out of reach for most who want to obtain them. Of the 235,400 doses allocated for Bexar County, 112,954 have been administered to 91,015 people, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
As of Thursday night, no appointments are available at the City’s or University Health’s mass vaccination sites.
“Here in San Antonio we are capable of delivering more vaccines,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at Thursday’s media briefing. “We just need more supplies.”
Local leaders are encouraged to see $46.7 million in federal funding for rental assistance headed to San Antonio, far greater than the $6 million they had anticipated.
San Antonio has made housing assistance a core part of its coronavirus coping strategy since April. Nirenberg said the program “will not run out of funds if there is need in the community that requires it.”
Still, the federal funding provides an unexpected boost, with 90 percent of the funds required to go directly to paying residents’ rent and utility bills
“This money is specifically to help people in need,” Nirenberg said.
Another slightly encouraging number is the count of coronavirus patients in Bexar County hospitals, which declined to 1,419 on Thursday from an all-time high of 1,520 on Monday.
Health authorities reported 17 new deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, bringing the total to 1,857 community-wide.
As Editor Robert Rivard discussed in his most recent column, most of those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 in San Antonio have been anonymized. Officials typically only share an age range, sex, ethnic or racial category, and the location of death.
But sometimes, officials share little more about how this virus has ravaged the community. That happened twice on Thursday.
During the briefing Thursday, Bexar County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez (Pct. 2) spoke about the recent death of Saul Acevedo, a “longtime lawyer” and former justice of the peace.
“I certainly want to relay my condolences to his family,” Rodriguez said.
Earlier, at a City Council meeting, City Manager Erik Walsh talked about the death Thursday of a 35-year veteran assigned to the San Antonio Police Department. Walsh didn’t reveal the person’s name but said the officer was assigned to the overnight shift in the Central patrol division.
Council members held a moment of silence for the officer.
Here are the local coronavirus numbers as of 7 p.m. Thursday:
- 155,588 total cases, 2,507 new cases
- 1,857 deaths, 17 new deaths
- 1,419 in hospital, 11% beds available
- 426 patients in intensive care
- 255 patients on ventilators, 52% ventilators available
- 86,536 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)