Six more Bexar County residents have died of the novel coronavirus. It’s the most fatalities recorded in a single day in almost two weeks.
The increase in deaths, which brought the county’s official death toll to 1,068, is yet another cause for concern as public health officials aim to avoid a new wave of infections weeks after Labor Day weekend.
The deceased, all women, were between ages 30 and 79, and their deaths occurred during the past two weeks, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Tuesday at a press briefing.
When asked whether the recent bump in numbers – the seven-day moving average of new cases has climbed over the past few days and hospital numbers are increasing slightly – can be attributed to the Labor Day holiday, the City’s top public health authority gave a one-word response.
“Probably,” said Colleen Bridger, the interim director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and assistant city manager.
“This is a critical week for us because it also is around the time that schools begin to open up in earnest,” Nirenberg added. “So we want to see things remain relatively stable. I think we’d be fooling ourselves if we thought that there wouldn’t be some increase in transmission, but we want to make sure it doesn’t overwhelm us as it did in July.”
The worry over Labor Day’s impact comes as San Antonio enters its third of four phases of reopening. The relaxed restrictions were in part announced at Monday’s press briefing but include more than the availability of City park amenities and expanding the 10-person limit on gatherings.
As of Monday, basketball courts, skate parks, playgrounds, sports fields, and fitness stations are open and available for use. Residents can also reserve outdoor park amenities for special events with a maximum attendance of 250 through December. Indoor facilities and splash pads, however, will remain closed until March.
The municipal court will partially reopen on Oct. 19 with limited in-person hearings and the availability of contact free-services for court users. Contested cases are set to resume in the fourth phase of reopening.
The Alamodome is again available to host events, with a reduced capacity of 17 percent, and the Henry B. González Convention Center is open for events but capped at 25 percent capacity. Read the City of San Antonio’s press release to learn more about the changes.
Officials reported 196 new cases of the coronavirus in Bexar County, raising the seven-day average from 136 on Monday to 148 on Tuesday. The overall caseload stands at 53,639.
Area hospitals are treating seven more COVID-19 patients Tuesday. Of the 233 Bexar County residents receiving treatment, 86 are in intensive care and 42 are on ventilators. The hospital bed and ventilator capacities in Bexar County stand at 14 percent and 70 percent, respectively.