Bexar County hit a positive coronavirus milestone Friday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said – 927 people, or more than half of confirmed cases, have been marked as “recovered.”
“That number has steadily increased,” he said. “We want to see that eventually get to 100 [percent recoveries] when we’re all through with this, but it’s going to be some time.”
Nirenberg also reported two new deaths Friday: one man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s. No other details were provided. As of Friday, 56 people in Bexar County have died from the new coronavirus.
Friday also marked the first day hair salons were allowed to reopen after coronavirus-related lockdowns. As more businesses opened their doors to in-person customers, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said he was pleased by the preventive measures his barber, Dora Garcia of Tower Plaza Hair Styles, took Friday morning.
“She did everything that she could possibly think to do,” he said. “She had on the gloves when she gave the haircut. She also had everything washed down with disinfectant. She has gowns that she changes for each person that comes in to get a haircut. So I think she’s doing all the right things; I hope that’s happening in the other barbershops and the other beauty parlors around the city.”
Though Nirenberg did not have an updated number of citations and reported violations of local stay-at-home orders Friday, he urged people to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing when visiting reopened businesses such as restaurants and nail salons. Those measures are what allowed San Antonio and Bexar County to flatten its curve of new coronavirus cases, he said.
“The trouble is, we don’t know the impacts of decisions to loosen up social distancing restrictions until two or three weeks later,” he said.
Bexar County added another 30 positive coronavirus cases Friday, bringing the total case count to 1,835. Two of those cases were from inmates at the jail, while 24 community members tested positive. The Bexar County Adult Detention Center has now tested more than 800 inmates, Wolff said. More than 500 of those tested negative, while more than 300 inmates have tested positive.
There are 63 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19, 33 of which are in intensive care, and 21 are on ventilators.
Nirenberg implored Bexar County residents to think of the people around them when considering whether to wear a mask or stay at least 6 feet away from people not in their household.
“We talk a lot about enforcement and emergency orders,” he said. “Those are important but we’ve been able to flatten the curve because the community in San Antonio wants to keep each other safe, and they want to do the right thing – to save lives and get this economy back on its feet in an effective manner.”
Wolff noted that employers would need to be vigilant on their end and make sure both workers and customers were wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart.
“If they don’t help us on this, then it’s gonna be very, very difficult for us,” he said.
Local officials continue to track coronavirus cases at nursing homes and other congregate settings, Nirenberg said. The Rio at Mission Trails nursing home has the most significant outbreak right now with eight residents and six staff testing positive, he said. All the residents who tested positive have been moved outside of the facility, though he was not sure how many were moved to a hospital or to River City Care Center, the nursing facility chosen to house area nursing home residents who test positive for coronavirus.
As of Friday, 14 residents were being cared for at River City, Nirenberg said.
More than 32,000 coronavirus tests have been performed in Bexar County so far, according to the City’s COVID-19 website. The two walk-up testing sites at Las Palmas Library and Woodlawn Lake Park alone collected coronavirus test samples from 300 people, said Dr. Junda Woo, the medical director of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. She said she expected the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 but don’t show symptoms to increase, as Bexar County had not tested asymptomatic people outside of congregate settings until Thursday.
“There haven’t been enough tests,” she said. “And to go hand-in-hand with that, the CDC guidelines have been very limiting. I think we’re going to get some interesting data.”
Metro Health hopes to increase the testing capability at walk-up sites next week, Woo said. The health authority has not chosen the next testing sites yet. The Las Palmas Library and Woodlawn Lake Park testing sites will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; no appointment is needed.