Nine more people have died from the novel coronavirus, according to data provided by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department on Sunday. In Bexar County, 184 people have died from the virus to-date.

Five of the people who died were women and four were men. All had underlying health conditions, according to a spokesman for Mayor Ron Nirenberg. One of the women was in her 50s, one was in her 70s, and the other three were in their 80s. Two men were in their 70s and the other two in their 80s.

Bexar County added 511 news cases, bringing the total case count to 19,648. Of that number, 6,182 are considered “recovered” by Metro Health, but 13,282 remain ill, according to the City’s coronavirus surveillance data. COVID-19 now has “a foothold” in San Antonio, Nirenberg wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.

In the post, Nirenberg warned San Antonio residents to “stay at home to the greatest extent possible.”

“Prolonged face-to-face contact is the easiest way to transmit COVID-19,” he said. “Don’t throw house parties. Don’t throw large social gatherings. This virus is nothing to celebrate.”

The warning against parties comes after one of the deaths in Bexar County made the rounds on national news over the weekend. A man in his 30s died after attending a “COVID party” and while he was hospitalized told a nurse, “I think I made a mistake.” Jane Appleby, chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital, said the man who died originally believed the virus was a “hoax,” KSAT reported on Friday.

Hospitalizations also rose by 44 new patients, according to officials. There are now 1,265 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Bexar County area hospitals. Of those, 419 are in intensive care and 246 are on ventilators.

The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC), a network of hospitals and first responders who maintain the regional trauma and emergency health care system for San Antonio and nearby counties that is managing the local response to the pandemic, maintained Bexar County’s “health system stress score” as “high” on Sunday; it was first marked as “high” on June 22 and the number of hospitalizations continues to grow. The council calculates that score using space available in emergency rooms and ICUs as well as staff loss and other factors.

“We cannot let up now,” Nirenberg said on Facebook Sunday. “Stay home, save lives. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Practice physical distancing. If you have no need to travel to a public space, don’t.”

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.