Over the past two days, 45 more San Antonians have died due to COVID-19, city officials said during a briefing Thursday. Officials said 30 of those deaths were reported Wednesday and an additional 15 were reported Thursday. All of the deceased were unvaccinated, said Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
Wednesday marked the most deaths reported in a single day this year and the most since 64 fatalities were recorded on Aug. 11, 2020. The additional 45 fatalities brought the local toll to 3,817. Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff expressed frustration and grief over the new deaths, which Nirenberg said were “100% preventable.”
Wolff said it was distressing to see so many residents not getting vaccinated. Wolff said he and the mayor are frustrated to see that Gov. Greg Abbott has blocked vaccination mandates, mask mandates, and other proactive measures that could help curb the pandemic.
“The governor and the AG do not appear to be interested in the health of Texans or the Texas economy,” Nirenberg said. “As we’ve said before, confusion is the enemy in the pandemic, and the governor has excelled in that. This is all preventable with very simple tools.”
Nirenberg noted deaths are becoming more common in younger individuals than in previous COVID-19 waves. Since Aug. 11, 32% of deaths were among people under age 50, with 17% among those under age 40. In the past, fewer than 10% of deaths were among people under 50, and fewer than 5% were among people under 40, Nirenberg said.
“We know we have a tremendous amount of work to do to get vaccination rates up among the lower age groups,” Nirenberg said.
People in their 20s and 30s make up the largest group of local COVID-19 cases and about 20% of COVID-19-related hospitalizations, officials said during the City Council’s monthly community health, environment, and culture committee Thursday. An additional 1,341 cases of COVID-19 were reported Thursday.
In the past 24 hours, there have been an additional 160 local hospital admissions for patients with COVID-19, bringing the total of local COVID-19 patients to 1,365, Nirenberg said. Of those, 394 are in the ICU and 342 are on ventilators. Nirenberg stressed 87% of patients in area hospitals are unvaccinated, and 29 patients are children.
With only 300 staffed beds left in the region, Nirenberg and Wolff again urged locals to take COVID-19 precautions. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has requested additional nursing staff and has received about 600 Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council nurses in the region, a few hundred of which are dispersed locally, Nirenberg said.
“We still have [bed] capacity, but it’s always dependent on what’s going to happen with your nursing staff and your medical staff,” Wolff said.
“This is a statewide issue,” Nirenberg added. “Every hospital system in the state is stressed right now.”
Jackie Wang contributed reporting.