San Antonio’s coronavirus numbers continue to climb, with daily cases and hospitalizations setting records even as vaccines remain inaccessible for most.

On Sunday, officials reported the largest number of new cases in a single day since the pandemic began. The 3,002 new cases in Bexar County exceeded the previous record of 2,152 on Jan. 5.

Even more dire is the increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in local hospitals. The number reached 1,407 on Sunday, the sixth straight day of record hospitalizations, according to local health data.

Officials reported no new deaths on Sunday, though 55 previously uncounted deaths from Nov. 26 to Dec. 24 were added to the counts. Bexar County’s coronavirus death toll stands at 1,648.

Of Sunday’s 3,002 new cases, only 70 resulted from clearing a backlog. That’s a stark difference from July, when many of the largest single-day totals were the result of backlogs. Of the 5,501 new cases reported on July 16, for example, 4,810 of them were from a reporting backlog at the State health department.

Sunday’s news comes even as tens of thousands of vaccines flood into the state. State health officials announced this week that another 19,725 doses are headed for San Antonio, where thousands are scheduled to receive doses sent previously at mass vaccination sites. The distribution this week is part of 158,825 doses to go out to major vaccine hubs statewide.

This includes 9,000 doses for the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, which operates the Alamodome vaccine hub, plus another 10,725 to University Health System for its site at Wonderland of the Americas mall. No appointments were available as of Sunday night at either site.

In a Saturday news release, the Texas Department of State Health Services said that “Texas providers will also receive about 500,000 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago” but did not elaborate on when and how these would be distributed.

“Vaccine remains limited based on the capacity of the manufacturers to produce it, so it will take time for Texas to receive enough vaccine for all the people in the priority populations who want to be vaccinated,” the release states. “The supply is expected to increase in the coming months, and additional vaccines are in clinical trials and may be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.”

Bexar County has 50,740 people vaccinated with at least one dose and 5,799 who have been fully vaccinated with two doses, according to state data. That’s out of an estimated 1.5 million people age 16 years or older.

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is the San Antonio Report's environment and energy reporter.