SAN ANTONIO – Publisher
San Antonio, Texas
7/10/2020 4 p.m.
San Antonio health officials are continuing to report a surge in COVID-19 cases, resulting in an alarming hospitalization rate and a grim death toll.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Thursday reported 17,679 total COVID-19 cases and 165 deaths. A total of 1,216 patients are hospitalized, 399 are in the intensive care unit and 231 are on ventilators.
Across Texas, hospitals are scrambling to address limited space, as state officials reported a new high for hospitalizations on Thursday. More than 9,600 patients are hospitalized in Texas, and about 11,000 beds remain open, although availability varies by region.
Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff have banned gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, of 100 people or more, with some exceptions. Businesses like amusement parks, waterparks and museums, as well as religious services and youth camps are allowed to stay open despite the 100-person rule. View the full list of exemptions here.
Due to the surge in cases, events that had been planned for the summer and fall have been canceled or moved to a virtual format.
On Friday, officials announced Fiesta is officially canceled for 2020. It was pushed to November from the originally scheduled dates in April.
Diwali SA on Friday announced it will shift its festival into a virtual experience.
This week, Mala Luna Music Festival announced it will cancel the fall concert that typically sees thousands of people. The Texas High School Coaches Association Convention and Coaching School has said it will move its San Antonio event to online only.
In San Antonio, those 10 years or older must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in a public place where it is difficult to social distance. Coverings can include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas or handkerchiefs.
Gov. Greg Abbott has mandated that Texans in counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases must wear face coverings in public. Those who do not follow the mask order can receive a $250 fine following a verbal warning.
The latest data shows that the city has 11% of staffed beds, or 429, available. About 45% of ventilators, or 335, are available as of Thursday afternoon.
Texas education officials have announced schools will be required to offer five days of in-person instruction to students per week. Districts must offer virtual instruction for parents who are requesting their students remain out of the classroom.
Students older than 10 and in counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases will be required to wear face masks when they return to campus.
Teachers and staff will be required to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before arriving to campus.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas, SeaWorld San Antonio and the San Antonio Zoo are open at a 50% capacity limit, as allowed by Abbott.
The Zoo announced it will expand its drive-thru experience on select dates for families who wish to social distance. Starting July 12, guests can purchase tickets for $65 per vehicle or $32 per vehicle if they are pass holders.
Businesses and facilities
Commercial entities must implement a health and safety policy that requires face masks for employees and customers, and the prominent display of COVID-19 symptoms, according to the mayor’s orders.
Local businesses are encouraged to follow the “Greater. SAfer. Together” pledge that commits to using face coverings, using hand sanitizer, implementing contactless payment when possible, social distancing, taking temperature checks and training staff on safety protocols.
Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease specialist at the UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, said workplaces need to follow a set of protocols to help curb the spread of COVID-19, including informing employees of an infected person and closing for at least 24 hours to allow cleaning.
VIA Metropolitan Transit has increased measures to ensure its buses are thoroughly cleaned. As of Thursday, 42 operators, 15 administrative employees and 23 maintenance staff have tested positive for the virus. The latest information on the employees can be found here.
How to help
If you’d like to help those in need during the coronavirus pandemic, here’s a webpage of stories with resources and tips.
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