As some Texas businesses prepare to reopen this Friday after being shuttered for weeks due to the COVID-19 virus, the confirmed cases in San Antonio increased modestly, with 21 new cases reported in the past 24 hours.
One more person who tested postive for the virus has died, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, a Hispanic woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions that were not publicly disclosed.
The total number of people diagnosed here locally since the beginning of the pandemic stood at 1,275 Monday.
San Antonio’s death toll related to COVID-19 now stands at 44.
On Monday, 59 people were hospitalized locally with COVID-19, Nirenberg said. Among them, 34 were in intensive care units, while 16 were on ventilators to help them breathe.
So far, 531 local patients have recovered from the virus. They account for 42 percent of cases reported.
The number of patients hospitalized at some point during their illness remains near 20 percent, according to San Antonio and Bexar County data. Among all of those who were hospitalized, about half were in ICU for a time, while a quarter were on ventilators.
“The social distancing that you’ve been practicing, the wearing of masks, the work that we’re doing to limit public gatherings is why we have been able to save lives,” Nirenberg said. “Don’t stop doing that. We are not through with this virus. And this virus is not through with us.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that most businesses may reopen at the end of this week under certain conditions and at limited capacity. He noted that Texas has effectively slowed the spread of the virus as the statewide infection rate declined during the past 17 days, the hospitalization rate held steady and testing has expanded.
Business owners may choose whether to reopen or stay closed.
The governor’s statewide stay-at-home order is set to expire Thursday.
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More than 25,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Texas. As of noon Monday, state health officials reported 666 new cases had been diagnosed across the state in the previous 24 hours.
Statewide, 663 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic. The state’s death toll has risen by more than 100 since Thursday.
On Monday, nearly 1,600 COVID-19 patients were being cared for in Texas hospitals. More than 11,000 Texans have recovered from the virus so far.
Harris County, where Houston is located, continues to lead the state with the most diagnosed cases and the largest number of deaths. More than 5,700 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed there since the beginning of the pandemic, far more than any other Texas county. Harris County’s death toll stands at 93.
Bexar County is ranked fifth among Texas counties with the most cases and fourth among those reporting the most deaths.
Recovery rates have been strong in Comal and Guadalupe counties, according to data shared by the public health departments there.
In Comal County, the home of New Braunfels, 49 people have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. Among those patients, 35 have recovered and six have died.
In Guadalupe County, the home of Seguin, 64 people have tested positive in recent weeks. So far, 44 of them have recovered. No deaths have been reported.
The number of sworn officers at the San Antonio Police Department who have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus remains at six. The number of SAPD employees in quaratine has declined — only two sworn officers and four civilian employees were in isolation Monday.
At the San Antonio Fire Department, six uniformed employees have tested positive for the virus and 48 uniformed employees remained in quarantine.
Peggy O’Hare covers demographics, the census and occasionally crime and general assignment stories in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. To read more from Peggy, become a subscriber. firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @Peggy_OHare