The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District announced Tuesday the launch of a community coronavirus survey designed to give health officials a different look at how San Antonio has been impacted by the novel coronavirus.

“We know that the most optimal way of getting information about COVID in our community is through testing,” Emerick said. “But we think that there are other ways that we can try to take the temperature of our community.”

The survey will ask respondents whether they have experienced coronavirus symptoms, whether they have been tested, whether anyone around them has gotten tested, and whether they have been exposed to the virus. Emerick said health officials will keep the survey open for two weeks, analyze the data, wait another two weeks, and then reopen the survey again for two weeks. Metro Health hopes to gather data over three months with this pattern, she said.

“[It will] help us figure out if we need to change programming, or how we offer testing, or where we offer testing,” she said.

People can take the survey online here, or call the Metro Health hotline at 210-207-5779 to take the survey over the phone in Spanish, English, or other languages using Google Translate software. Canvassers who visit hard-to-reach communities to share information about coronavirus prevention and testing also will have tablets on which to record survey responses while out in the field, Emerick said.

Bexar County reported 2,480 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, a one-day increase of 31 cases. The county reported seven new cases on Monday. The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 has also increased to 87 patients, which is three more patients than were in area hospitals being treated for the disease Monday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

“We don’t want to see [hospital numbers] tick up,” he said. “We have seen a slow, gradual increase over the last week or so, and we are watching that closely, although our other progress indicators remain very strong.”

Forty-four of those hospitalized were in intensive care Tuesday, and 19 were on ventilators. There were no new deaths to report, Nirenberg said.

On Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott also announced guidelines for the reopening of additional types of businesses. Driver education programs and mall food courts can resume operations immediately, while water parks can open with 25 percent occupancy Friday and adult recreational sports programs can start practices Sunday.

As more businesses reopen and people interact with each other more, Bexar County can expect additional cases of the coronavirus, Nirenberg said. 

“What we want to make sure is that the severity of those cases doesn’t also increase, and that we’re able to treat those who do become ill,” Nirenberg said. “But it does concern me that there’s a level of activity that is unnecessary.”

Nirenberg said he was concerned by an increasing number of reports of businesses violating social distancing guidelines and capacity limits over Memorial Day weekend. Bars reopened Friday, and the mayor had said police would be monitoring bars and restaurants over the weekend for violations. From Friday to Monday, the county recorded 116 calls reporting violations to City departments and the San Antonio Police Department. No citations were issued over the weekend, but 51 businesses received warnings.

“We want to remind folks again, this virus is out there,” Nirenberg said. “In order to protect you and your family and your neighbors, wear your mask, maintain social distance, [and] do the things that the health providers and health professionals are telling us we need to do.”

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.