A second centenarian has died from the novel coronavirus in Bexar County, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Thursday.

Nine of the 21 deaths reported Thursday occurred between May 24 and Aug. 17. The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District listed them after reviewing death certificates and confirming the deaths as coronavirus-related.

Those who died were ages 50 to 110 and mostly had underlying medical conditions, according to Metro Health. Four of the 21 had “unknown” medical histories. Five of them died at nursing facilities – Huebner Creek Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, the Mission at Blue Skies, Parkway Assisted Living, Memorial Medical Nursing Center, and River City Care Center, which houses coronavirus-positive residents from area nursing homes.

Bexar County reported 185 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the area’s total to 44,641. Though a backlog of cases in state-level reported coronavirus data has caused concern, Nirenberg assured listeners that they can have confidence in the positivity rate reported in San Antonio. Metro Health reports on its website a positivity rate of 11.3 percent as of last week.

Ages and ethnicities of deceased

● 3 Hispanic women between ages 90 and 99
● 3 Hispanic women between ages 70 and 79
● 2 Hispanic men between ages 80 and 89
● 2 Hispanic women between ages 80 and 89
● 2 Hispanic men between ages 50 and 59
● 1 Hispanic woman between ages 100 and 110
● 1 Hispanic man between ages 90 and 99
● 1 white man between ages 80 and 89
● 1 white man between ages 70 and 79
● 1 man of unknown ethinicity between ages 70 and 79
● 1 white woman between ages 70 and 79
● 1 Hispanic man between ages 60 and 69
● 1 Hispanic woman between ages 60 and 69
● 1 white man between ages 50 and 59

“The San Antonio data that’s been presented has a very high standard of accuracy … the standard by which we measure positivity has not changed, as it seems to have been doing at the state,” Nirenberg said. “The positivity rate that we’ve been reporting since this pandemic began is a function of test results that we get back directly from the labs, and we can get them directly from the labs whether they send them to the state or not,” Nirenberg said.

The number of people hospitalized for coronavirus continued to decrease. Area hospitals reported 14 fewer patients on their rolls Thursday, with a total of 532 hospitalized for COVID-19. Among those patients, 239 are in intensive care and 163 are on ventilators. But even as the decline continues, the hospital system still feels the strain. Fourteen percent of patients hospitalized in Bexar County are there for coronavirus-related reasons, Nirenberg said.

“We have 56 percent of ventilators available in our community today as well as 15 percent of hospital beds available, so our hospital system remains under high stress,” Nirenberg said.

When patients do get discharged from the hospital, Baptist Health System makes sure they go to the “most appropriate facility,” said Dr. Lynette Watkins, market chief medical officer of BHS.

“It may be to [the patient’s] home,” Watkins said. ‘It may also be to a post-acute facility, such as a long-term acute care facility – particularly if they need additional help with breathing, with getting back up on their feet and resuming daily activities. So we have a whole arm of our hospital organization called ‘case management,’ who works with both our physicians and clinicians as well as those in outside facilities to help make sure that that transition with the patient and the patient’s family is done safely.”

Like other hospitals, Baptist Health System facilities have redeployed their COVID units for other purposes, Watkins said. 

“We remain ready in order to take care of those patients, so we redeploy our units and our resources, but we always stand ready to ramp up if necessary,” she said.

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is the local government reporter at the San Antonio Report.