Four more people have died in San Antonio after testing positive for COVID-19, and the number of diagnosed cases continues to rise with a total of 1,167 as of Thursday.
That’s 41 new cases in the past 24 hours, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said at the daily city-county briefing.
“The problem is far from over,” County Judge Nelson Wolff said.
The four people who died were a Hispanic woman in her 80s, a Hispanic man in his 60s, a white woman in her 90s and a white man in his 80s. All had underlying health conditions, Nirenberg noted.
The death toll stands at 43.
Nirenberg noted one positive sign: the number of people in the hospital for COVID-19 dropped significantly, down to 64. Of those, only 32 were in intensive care and 20 were on ventilators to help them breathe. That leaves 80 percent of the city’s ventilators available and 32 percent of the staffed hospital beds available.
Nearly 20 percent of people sickened by the virus locally have been hospitalized at some point during their illness. About half of those who have been hospitalized have been in intensive care.
So far, about a third of those who became ill — 361 people — have recovered.
Across Texas, nearly 22,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday. More than 1,600 patients with the virus are hospitalized and 561 people have died.
More than 8,000 Texans have recovered from the illness as of Thursday.
On ExpressNews.com: Get the latest update on coronavirus and a tracking map of U.S. cases
Bexar County is ranked fifth among Texas counties reporting the most COVID-19 cases. Harris County, the home of Houston, holds a wide lead with more than 5,200 confirmed cases.
Dallas County ranks second with nearly 2,700 confirmed cases of the virus.
Among Texas counties reporting the most deaths related to COVID-19, Bexar County is ranked fourth. Harris County leads the state with 80 deaths, while Dallas County has reported 65.
Two new drive-thru testing sites are launching operations in underserved and minority communities of San Antonio, city officials said.
One of those drive-thru operations, handled by Texas MedClinic, opened Thursday at 2530 SW Military. It will remain open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
Before getting tested at the Texas MedClinic drive-thru site, patients are asked to call 210-233-5970 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to be screened. If that screening determines a test is necessary, the patient will be scheduled for a test at the Freeman Coliseum or Texas MedClinic drive-through sites. The test is free.
Walmart will open a drive-thru testing site Saturday in its store parking lot at 8923 W. Military Drive. This testing location will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week if weather permits. Testing will be reserved for those showing symptoms of COVID-19. All health care providers and first responders can be tested there as well, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms.
Those eligible for testing at Walmart’s new drive-through site can sign up for an appointment through eTrueNorth at www.doineedacovid19test.com by clicking on the “register or log on” prompt.
On ExpressNews.com: Some San Antonio retailers starting curbside pickup Friday
The city, the county and the South Texas Regional Advisory Council continue to offer COVID-19 testing at Freeman Coliseum. An appointment is required. Patients can register for a testing appointment online at www.sanantonio.gov or by calling 210-233-5970.
COVID-19 tests also are being offered at Texas MedClinic and Alamo City Urgent Care offices. Patients may also be tested at a CommuniCare clinic if they meet certain criteria.
Comal County reported its 48th confirmed case of COVID-19 on Thursday in a New Braunfels resident, who is isolated at home. The county’s largest share of diagnosed cases has surfaced in the New Braunfels area.
Comal County is also expanding COVID-19 testing for the general public by opening a drive-through testing center that will be run by private physicians with support from the county, the city of New Braunfels and other agencies.
The testing location was not disclosed, but anyone needing a COVID-19 test can call 830-312-7980 and will be set up for a telemedicine appointment. Patients who meet the testing criteria will be tested.
“We want to make sure everyone in our community who needs a test can get one, regardless of whether they have immediate access to a doctor,” said Cheryl Fraser, Comal County’s director of public health.
Comal County’s Office of Emergency Management has received thousands of masks, face shields and gloves that will be distributed to primary care physicians who might treat COVID-19 patients or who conduct coronavirus testing in unincorporated areas of the county, as well as the cities of Bulverde, Garden Ridge and Spring Branch.
The equipment from the Texas Division of Emergency Management includes 8,000 masks, 2,000 face shields and 2,000 nitrile gloves. Physicians should call the Comal County Office of Public Health at 830-221-1150 to make arrangements to pick up the equipment.
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