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The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District on Saturday confirmed an additional travel-related case of COVID-19, bringing the total number of local cases to two.
Metro Health officials said the person who tested positive recently traveled to Japan and had a history of underlying health issues. The individual is currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed location to mitigate symptoms.
“A detailed contact tracing investigation for this individual is already taking place, and the information will be shared with the public when it is complete,” Metro Health said in a statement.
The news of a second local case comes as San Antonio and cities across the nation are flooding to grocery stores, pharmacies, and wholesale stores to stock up on goods needed to weather through the storm should U.S. cities announce lockdowns aimed at minimizing rampant spread of the disease.
In addition to the diagnosis of the San Antonio resident, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Saturday that a repatriated U.S. citizen who arrived at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland last week tested positive for COVID-19. The person was one of two taken to the Texas Infectious Disease Hospital for testing last week.
On Friday Mayor Ron Nirenberg declared a second public health emergency, as a previous declaration on March 2 expired after seven days. The new declaration prohibits indoor and outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more, and “strongly recommends” against gatherings with more than 250 people. However, there are some exceptions, such as churches and shelters.
“We need to have a good time and continue to enjoy life in San Antonio,” Nirenberg said. “We do have to take precautions, though. That’s all that is being suggested, that people use common sense.”
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff also issued a declaration of a public health emergency, which included a directive for rental property owners to temporarily suspend evictions for at least the next 30 days, and a suspension of all jury panels to prevent unnecessary movement of thousands of people in and out of County buildings.
Shortly after this announcement, Gov. Greg Abbott declared the new coronavirus a statewide public health disaster and said testing for the disease would increase across the state. A drive-thru testing service in San Antonio – the first in the state – was being set up Friday, but it was limited to first responders and health care workers and not available to the general public, City officials said.
Nirenberg said test results will continue to come in throughout the weekend, and that opening drive-thru testing to the public “wouldn’t be unexpected” if additional COVID-19 cases continue to pop up among local residents.
On Friday, Metro Health authorized testing for around 10 people, and local labs Quest and Lab Corp are also completing COVID-19 testing, Nirenberg said
The new case confirmed in San Antonio is the 52nd in Texas, not including repatriated cruise ship passengers, according to the Department of State Health Services, which last updated its case count Friday afternoon.