The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District reported 56 new coronavirus cases on Monday, which comes as reporting measures are changed at the state and local level. 

The total number of coronavirus cases reached 41,138 on Monday, which includes a reduction in cases following an audit of paper files kept by Metro Health as it prepares to transfer to an online system supported by the Texas Department of State Health Services. 

As the health department shifts to a more standardized model, discrepancies in numbers are continuing to be worked out, said Colleen Bridger, assistant city manager and interim director of Metro Health. Metro Health removed 600 duplicate positives that dated back to March, and the online system will continue to weed out more. 

Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Sunday said that there were more than 2,500 duplicate cases of coronavirus reported, but those cases had not been reported more than once to the state by Metro Health, Bridger said, because they were flagged by the online system. 

The 600 duplicate cases found by contact investigators reviewing files before the information was transferred into the new system are the only cases removed from the state system. 

The discrepancy between the state and local coronavirus tracking system is also seen in the death count, which for Bexar County increased by two on Monday, bringing the total to 370. 

Ages and ethnicities of deceased

2 Hispanic women in their 50s

Metro Health is investigating 177 deaths to determine whether they were related to COVID-19, said Anita Kurian, assistant director. The state is reporting 55 cases of COVID-19-related deaths in Bexar County that Metro Health believes should not be included in the local data, she said. 

Kurian said that a lack of COVID-19 testing following death and inability to confirm symptoms as reported by those close to the deceased is why Bexar County is refuting the 55 deaths attributed to COVID-19 that are still under investigation. 

Nirenberg said that while there is a discrepancy in what’s being reported, the hospital system in Bexar County should be viewed as one of the more reliable measures, as San Antonio grapples with reducing its total positives. 

The hospital system is between severe and critical, Nirenberg said, and while indicators are moving in a positive direction, “everyone still needs to do their part,” which includes wearing masks and social distancing ahead of the school year. 

Of the 886 people being treated for symptoms of COVID-19 at area hospitals, 350 are in intensive care, and 238 are on ventilators, Nirenberg said. 

Sixteen percent of hospital beds are currently available, along with 51 percent of ventilators.

Two more deaths were reported, bringing the toll to 370.

Nirenberg said that while numbers have shifted, he trusts the work being done by the health department. 

“The level of accuracy and precision demonstrated by Metro Health from testing of patients to the reporting of positive cases to now,” is reliable, Nirenberg said, and if people are questioning the data, they should check the Metro Health website for precise data.

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the San Antonio Report.