COVID-19 hospitalizations in S.A. the lowest since last June

Marina Starleaf Riker

With almost 1 million San Antonians vaccinated with at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the number of hospitalized patients on Monday fell to the lowest level in nearly a year.

Hospitals across San Antonio were caring for 171 COVID-19 patients, the lowest volume since the coronavirus surged uncontrollably last summer and 148 patients were hospitalized on June 13, according to Metro Health data.

At the most dangerous point of the pandemic in January, area hospitals cared for more than 1,500 people sick with the virus.

“Continue to get your vaccines, and we will continue to put this pandemic behind us,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

Even after Texas lifted mask mandates, celebrated Spring Break and opened businesses to full capacity, all measures used to gauge the pandemic’s spread have continued moving in the right direction as health providers have continued getting shots into arms.

City officials reported no new deaths Monday for the fifth day in a row, which came a day after Gov. Greg Abbott announced Sunday that the state went without recording a new COVID-19 death for the first time in 14 months. The state on Monday, however, recorded 23 new deaths.

The number of Bexar County residents who have gotten at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is now more than four times greater than the number who have tested positive for the virus.

Officials reported 231 new COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the county’s total since the pandemic began to 221,178. Meanwhile, 969,499 people have received at least one dose of vaccine, of whom 749,957 are fully vaccinated, according to the city.

The federal government last week gave the green light to administer Pfizer’s vaccine to children as young as 12, which means San Antonio’s health providers are now ramping up efforts to get younger teens protected against the virus.

“Now that we’ve expanded vaccine eligibility even to 12 (year-olds), the more people we can get vaccinated, the less likely COVID is to spread,” said Colleen Bridger, an assistant city manager who is overseeing the pandemic response. “So highly, highly recommend it.”

More than 5,600 adolescents between 12 and 15 are now vaccinated in Bexar County, according to state data. On Friday and Saturday, nearly 700 of them were vaccinated at the Alamodome.

After months of scarce vaccine supply, enough San Antonians have been vaccinated that demand for the shots is easing. Starting next week, the mass vaccination site at the Wonderland Mall of the Americas will reduce its hours to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, said County Judge Nelson Wolff.

The Alamodome’s drive-thru clinic, meanwhile, will change its operating hours beginning May 24 to noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

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