As San Antonio area residents slowly begin to leave the safety of their homes, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and County Judge Nelson Wolff urged patience and asked people venturing outside to continue maintaining a 6-foot social distance from others and wearing masks to help ensure there’s no outbreak of the deadly disease in the community.
There were 108 new cases of COVID-19 reported Saturday, pushing the total to 1,585 since the pandemic started in mid-March.
Of those new cases, 65 came from Bexar County jail, where there are ongoing efforts to test all inmates and county personnel because the virus is sweeping through the facility. But that means the other 43 new cases were in the community, higher than the 12 new cases reported in the community Friday.
No new deaths were reported for the third day in a row. The death toll stands at 48.
On ExpressNews.com: Get the latest update on coronavirus and a tracking map of U.S. cases
Wolff noted that once again many of the inmates who tested positive Saturday had shown no signs they had the disease.
“We’re testing everybody even those who don’t have symptoms,” the county judge said, adding that everyone who tests positive is being isolated from those who don’t have it. “That’s important. You may think you’re OK but then … you have it.”
Wolff said it’s still not known how asymptomatic people spread the disease.
“That’s why we preach and preach over and over again,” Wolff said. “Stay 6 feet away. Wear the mask. Everybody just needs to use common sense.”
So far, 288 inmates out of about 3,000 in the jail have been tested; 187 have been positive for the virus. Also, 249 employees have been tested; of those, 48 were positive, officials said.
There are other signs that Bexar County is holding its own. The number of people in the hospital with the virus dropped by two to 58 on Saturday. Of those, 37 were in intensive care and only 20 were on ventilators, leaving 79 percent of ventilators available citywide.
And more people are recovering, Nirenberg said, with 725 people now reported to be in good health after falling ill with the virus.
Nirenberg said the city has seen widespread compliance with social distancing measures at businesses that reopened Friday following Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order initiating the first phase of a statewide economic reopening.
Businesses were allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity on Friday with other safety measures in place, such as mask-wearing and physical spacing. Nirenberg said the city had received a handful of complaints about social distancing at businesses, but there were no egregious violations.
“People are really paying attention to the public health guidance and taking this very seriously, which they should,” Nirenberg said. “We hope they continue that, because that’s going to build consumer confidence and get our economy going again.”
On ExpressNews.com: San Antonio health experts at adds with governor on timing of reopening
About 6.2 percent of people tested in Bexar County have come up positive for COVID-19 — significantly below the national rate. Since March 1, 18 percent of people tested for COVID-19 nationwide have tested positive.
Bexar County’s rate also is below the state rate, which is 8 percent. Texas records show there were 1,293 new cases reported Saturday, the second-highest increase since the pandemic started. Like Bexar County, though, the state has seen increased testing in recent days.
Statewide, there have been 847 deaths.
Harris County, the state’s largest population center, has by far the most cases and the most deaths of all counties in Texas. Saturday, the county, where Houston is located, reported 157 new cases for a total of 6,708 cases. There were seven more deaths reported; the death toll now stands at 129 in Harris County.
There are still 42 counties out of Texas’ 254 that have had no cases of COVID-19.