The number of Bexar County residents who have tested positive for the new coronavirus jumped by 189 since Friday, bringing the total to 2,825.

The jump in case numbers is due in large part to a backlog of test results from tests conducted in mid-May, said Mayor Ron Nirenberg at the Saturday coronavirus briefing. Of those 189 cases, 29 are from the community and one is from the Bexar County Jail.

The mayor also reported one new death since Friday, a woman in her 90s who was being treated for COVID-19 at Methodist Hospital. The death toll in San Antonio now stands at 73.

The number of patients being treated in local hospitals, at 83 on Saturday, is down by eight since Friday, the second consecutive day that statistic has decreased.

Six of the newly reported COVID-19 cases are from nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and 153 are pending categorization.  

Testing of residents in all 67 area nursing homes has been completed, Nirenberg said. Over 10,000 tests were administered during a two-week period.

“It’s good news for us here in this community to control the spread of this disease in those congregate facilities as well,” he said.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff presented “staggering numbers” from a Workforce Solutions Alamo report that shows the 13-county region that includes Bexar County has had 187,000 unique claims between Feb. 18 and May 15.

Though the weekly claims numbers have been dropping and jobless claims appear to be spread somewhat evenly across the county, the biggest percentage of those who are now unemployed due to the crisis are those with a high school education or less.

“So you can see why job training is so important. Those that are down at that level … have no training, no education to speak of,” Wolff said, adding that 21 percent of unemployment claims came from people who had worked in hotel and food service, about 10 percent in retail, and 9 percent in health care.

On May 7, commissioners approved spending $39.5 million of federal coronavirus funding on workforce retraining efforts, while the City Council is slated to vote on a proposal next week to spend $80 million for workforce development.

Also on Saturday, thousands of people joined in protests erupting nationwide that were sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The San Antonio crowd marched from Travis Park to San Antonio Police Department headquarters on South Santa Rosa Avenue, and no arrests were made prior to the briefing.

Nirenberg said he hoped demonstration would remain peaceful.

“San Antonio is in many ways the birthplace for American civil rights, and we have a long tradition of peaceful protest, and we hope that’s what we see today,” he said. “Clearly, racism in America is an underlying condition which makes the criminal justice system deadly for communities of color. Reform is the only cure, and we hope that the voices that are lifted up today are done so peacefully.”

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.