The San Antonio area is seeing a new peak in coronavirus cases.

The seven-day moving average of coronavirus cases in Bexar County has risen above 200 for the first time since mid-August when the county was just recovering from its worst peak of the pandemic. On Wednesday, local officials reported 281 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest single-day increase since Aug. 12. The cumulative total has now surpassed 65,000 cases in Bexar County since the pandemic began.

Several areas in Texas and around the nation are experiencing a recent spike in cases. How high that spike goes locally will depend on whether San Antonians observe pandemic precautions during Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, and any upcoming holidays that might tempt residents into gathering with friends and family.

“This is a very critical time for us to be doing our part, wearing a mask, complying with the other orders in terms of physical distancing, having gatherings at home – which is an extraordinarily dangerous thing to be doing right now with people who don’t live in your house,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at a Wednesday press briefing. “We’ve got to all cooperate, and that’s what we’re doing together. It’s not just officials and doctors, it’s every one of us doing our part to slow the spread of the virus.”

News of increasing numbers was also paired with the announcement of three new deaths from COVID-19 on Wednesday. They are the first pandemic fatalities reported in Bexar County this week. Among the deceased are a Hispanic woman in her 70s, a Hispanic woman in her 30s, and a man in his 90s – all of whom had underlying health conditions, which can range from pregnancy to diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol. The local death toll now stands at 1,250.

Hospital numbers, however, have fallen from Tuesday to Wednesday, from 238 to 225, and fewer COVID-19 patients are critically ill. On Wednesday area hospitals were treating 84 patients in intensive care and 44 on ventilators.

Over the next two weeks, area hospitals will accept intensive-care patients from El Paso medical facilities as that city grapples with a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. The San Antonio region has received five patients from El Paso thus far, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Wednesday at a press briefing.

Twenty-six bars have opened in Bexar County in light of County Judge Nelson Wolff allowing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to reinstate the certificates of establishments that generate most of their revenue from the sale of alcoholic drinks. Wolff on Wednesday said none of the businesses have violated the additional coronavirus restrictions the county enacted for bars.

The City of San Antonio is expanding coronavirus testing to local hotspots, with Edgewood Shopping Center, Our Lady of the Lake University, and South Park Plaza among the five new testing sites. Free testing for those without symptoms is available at the Cuellar and Ramirez community centers and the Walmart store on West Military Drive. For a full list of local testing sites, visit the City’s website.

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez is the San Antonio Report's audience engagement editor.