Bexar County leaders are hopeful recent efforts to bolster the vaccine supply will lead to more inoculations for local residents in the future.
The Biden Administration on Tuesday announced a plan to buy 200 million additional doses of the emergency-approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The extra doses provide a boost to national hopes that life will begin to return to some degree of normalcy by the fall.
In San Antonio for a visit with business leaders on Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said he is requesting additional vaccines from the federal government, adding that Texas has not been receiving its due per-capita allotment. Abbott also said the State would increase the number of vaccine providers and develop mobile units in underserved areas, though he did not provide a timeline.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at Tuesday’s coronavirus press briefing that he was in contact with the White House, which informed him of the coming 16% increase in production of the vaccine. The Biden White House told governors that the extra doses would be delivered beginning next week, thanks to increased manufacturing.
“They’re doing everything they can to put more vaccine out into the communities, and we need to support that effort,” Nirenberg said. “Ultimately, our ask is just to get more [vaccines] down to San Antonio and Bexar County.”
Bexar County commissioners held their first virtual meeting in light of Pct. 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis on Jan. 15. At the Tuesday meeting, Calvert brought forward an item that would require rapid COVID-19 testing at the doors as people enter the Freeman Coliseum, a County-owned facility, for the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, which begins on Feb. 11.
Meanwhile, Bexar County public schools remain under local advisement to limit in-person instruction as the risk of spreading COVID-19 remains high. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday published findings that show coronavirus spread among schoolchildren is low when students wear masks and keep 6 feet apart from each other. Few schools in the San Antonio area are closely following the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s guidance, which calls for limiting in-person schooling to students who have special needs or lack requisite resources for remote learning.
“Our guidance in the health directive actually is very parallel to what the CDC is saying today, which is that in-person learning is a low risk for the students,” said Dr. Junda Woo, Metro Health’s medical director. “So, we still need more data, but I was very happy to see the CDC report today. It does confirm what we’ve been thinking.”
Coronavirus cases in Bexar County increased by 821 on Tuesday, bringing the seven-day average down to 1,497.
Bexar County residents ages 60 to 99 were among the 18 reported to have died from COVID-19 on Tuesday, as the death toll approaches 2,000.
A decrease in local of hospitalizations by nearly 50 brought the COVID-19 patient count down to 1,353.
Here are the local coronavirus numbers as of 7 p.m. Tuesday:
- 162,929 total cases, 821 new cases
- 1,998 deaths, 18 new deaths
- 1,353 in hospital, 11% beds available
- 404 patients in intensive care
- 271 patients on ventilators, 50% ventilators available
- 107,628 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)