University Health System reached a milestone Friday afternoon in its quest to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine in San Antonio. In a back room at Wonderland Mall, pharmacy technician Vernice Ver drew six doses of the vaccine from the system’s 100,000th vial. Photos taken on February 12, 2021.
Pharmacy technician Vernice Ver draws doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at University Health's facility at Wonderland of the Americas mall. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

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Bexar County’s coronavirus positivity rate dipped to 7.5%, a decrease of more than 2% from two weeks ago, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at a Monday briefing.

The region also reported only 230 new coronavirus cases, a much smaller number than reported in the days before freezing temperatures descended upon San Antonio. But the winter storms that blew through Texas likely contributed to that decline, as fewer people were tested last week than usual, said Dr. Anita Kurian, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s assistant director.

“On an average, we test anywhere from 60,000 to 70,000 folks,” she said. “Last week, it was only 10,000 people who were tested. … We do expect this limited testing to affect [us] from having a clear picture on the true burden of the disease in our community last week.”

There were no new deaths reported Monday, Nirenberg said.

While having the lowest coronavirus positivity rate among all the major metropolitans in Texas may be cause for cautious celebration, the San Antonio region is still grappling with the aftereffects of a devastating winter storm that caused power and water outages for millions of Texans. The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center lost nearly 3,000 blood donations last week due to electricity blackouts, Nirenberg said.

“The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center reports that more than 1,000 members of our community generously turned out to give blood this weekend, but we still have a long way to go to make up the deficit,” Nirenberg said. “The blood supply is at critical levels – particularly type O, which is used in trauma.”

People interested in donating blood can make appointments online or by calling University Hospital at 210-358-2812.

As the area recovers from utility service disruptions, both the City and County will continue to operate water distribution sites; Nirenberg said the 13 active sites from the City will be open through March 5. Bexar County sites distributed 3,854 cases of drinking water on Monday and will open three more sites on Tuesday, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said. Those are the World Christian Ministries on Walzem Road, Emergency Service District #5 on East 6th Street in Somerset, and Emergency Service District #7 on Highway 16 at Bandera Road.

“People that have got the broken … lines are still going to need water so we want to be sure that we are that we’re taking taking care of that and getting it done,” Wolff said.

People who did not receive scheduled coronavirus vaccines last week from University Health will be able to get them this week, Wolff added.

“We did about 3,000 or so today in vaccines and tomorrow we’ll still be making up with the appointments that were missed before because of the bad weather,” he said.

On Monday evening, University Health opened about 12,000 appointments for next week, filling them in about an hour. UH spokeswoman Leni Kirkman said alerts went out via email and push notification on the hospital system’s app to let people know appointments were available. She recommended people sign up for both forms of notification to learn about future appointments. Sign up for email newsletter/alert subscriptions here:

At the Alamodome, the City had to move 6,353 vaccine appointments scheduled last week, but those appointments were made up through Monday, Kurian said.

“As of close of operations at the Alamodome by the end of today, we will have taken care of every single appointment that was rescheduled,” she said.

The City’s shipment of vaccines that were to be distributed Tuesday have been delayed, so those appointments have been pushed until Thursday.

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

  • 193,691 total cases, 230 new cases
  • 2,492 deaths, no new deaths
  • 608 in hospital, 12% beds available
  • 223 patients in intensive care
  • 100 patients on ventilators, 60% ventilators available
  • 215,527 residents vaccinated (at least one dose)

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.