Bexar County has entered an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide temporary shelter for unaccompanied migrant children. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District reported four additional cases of coronavirus in Bexar County on Thursday, bringing the total infected to 29.

Of those cases, six were obtained through community transmission, which means it spread from person to person without anyone having previous exposure to the virus, according to local surveillance data. Previously, all positive cases were travel-related, confirmed in people who traveled outside of San Antonio, or confirmed in people who were in close contact with those individuals.

Eleven cases are still under investigation to determine their origin, according to Metro Health.

“We have been making preparations and implementing prevention efforts over the last two months as the global COVID-19 pandemic continued to grow,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “We are now are entering the most difficult phase in the rapidly-changing battle against this virus and we must stay the course. San Antonio comes together during a crisis and we will get through this as a community.”

Today, the City Council voted to extend the City’s fourth public health emergency declaration through April 18, 2020. Nirenberg made the declaration on Monday in response to a fourth coronavirus diagnosis in San Antonio, advising against any gathering of more than 50 people.

On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott took that action a step further, announcing a statewide emergency declaration — the first in Texas in more than 100 years — that will limit social gatherings to 10 people, prohibit eating and drinking at restaurants and bars while still allowing takeout, close gyms, ban people from visiting nursing homes except for critical care, and temporarily close schools. The executive order is effective midnight Friday through midnight April 3, Abbott said.

Local and state officials have been candid about how the increase in testing both locally and statewide would result in an uptick in positive cases.

Metro Health is reporting positive test results from its City-run lab as well as private labs running tests for local physicians and area hospitals.

The health department was previously reporting the number of test results in the City lab that came back negative, but Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger told the Rivard Report that the local labs were not reporting negative cases to the department, so they don’t know how many tests have been administered locally.

Negative test results received by Metro Health are no longer listed as part of the surveillance data.

So far, the gender breakdown of coronavirus-positive residents skews male with 18 men testing positive and 11 women. The 40-to-49 age group had the most cases with four of the cases affecting people age 70 to 79, and two in the 0-19 age group.

Just over 1,400 Texans have been tested for the novel coronavirus, according to the Department of State Health Services. Of those tests, 143 returned positive.

Three people in Texas have died of complications from the virus, though none in Bexar County.

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Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza

Roseanna Garza reports on health and bioscience for the San Antonio Report.