The positivity rate is climbing, but it remains to be seen whether Labor Day weekend had an impact on local coronavirus infections.
The positivity rate is climbing, but it remains to be seen whether Labor Day weekend had an impact on local coronavirus infections. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

San Antonio’s recovery from its worst bout with the coronavirus pandemic appears to be hitting a plateau.

The rate of positives among Bexar County residents getting tested for coronavirus increased Monday after several weeks of decline.

Going from 6 percent last week to 6.4 percent this week, the positivity rate remains above the 5 percent threshold that public health officials have said is crucial to relaxing pandemic restrictions. Achieving a positivity rate of 5 percent or less would, most notably, give school districts the go-ahead to reopen their campuses and expand beyond the current 25 percent classroom capacity.

Anita Kurian, the assistant director of Metro Health, said it’s unclear whether the slight upward bump in the positivity rate is from Labor Day activities. Kurian and her colleagues have been awaiting the results of the holiday weekend to see whether another wave of coronavirus is approaching. That data should begin to crystallize in the next week or so.

“It’s very difficult to say exactly why [the positivity rate] went up,” Kurian said. “It may be a one-time glitch, or it could be an early, early effect of the Labor Day weekend. … When things are reopening – life is getting back to near-normal – we do expect cases to go up, positivity to go up. But what remains to be seen is [if Bexar County will see] that sudden, consistent incline like we’ve seen when we were at the peak.”

Local hospital metrics remain steady overall. Because of that, the City on Monday announced it would reopen some of its park facilities, including sports fields, playgrounds, skate parks, and fitness equipment. The City has also nixed a prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more in City parks, and outdoor park amenities are available for reservation again.

“However, I want to caution you that we are still in the middle of a pandemic,” Nirenberg said Monday. “So as we begin to open things up, our success and our safety depend on you.”

Officials reported one COVID-19 death on Monday, bringing the toll to 1,062. An additional 102 coronavirus cases brought the overall caseload to 53,443 and the seven-day moving average to 136.

Of the 226 COVID-19 patients in area hospitals, 85 are in intensive care and 45 are on ventilators. Hospital bed capacity stands at 16 percent while ventilator capacity is 72 percent.

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.