Mayor Nirenberg says Texas Capitol protests are ‘pure ignorance’ and dangerous; residents urged to donate more blood, plasma

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s Note: Watch the entire briefing in the video player above. Newsletter recipients can click here to access the video.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff updated the community about the local response to COVID-19 in their daily briefing Saturday night.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Nirenberg reported 992 COVID-19 cases and one additional death, a man in his 50s, bringing the death toll in the county to 38, as of Saturday.City officials also reported 256 patients have recovered from the virus so far, 78 patients are currently hospitalized, 44 patients are in intensive care and 24 patients are currently on ventilators. Currently, 74% of the city’s ventilators are available for COVID-19 patients.Nirenberg reminded the public that the San Antonio Spurs will provide free Wi-Fi, beginning Monday, in Lot 3 of the AT&T Center parking lot for those that may not have access. The internet will be available from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily. Those who want to utilize the free Wi-Fi must stay in their cars and do so in the parking lot.Wolff said Gov. Greg Abbott is likely to make more decisions on April 27 regarding how to go about reopening Bexar County and the state of Texas as the pandemic begins to lessen its impact. He said as more decisions are made, officials will take the necessary precautions needed to reopen the city of San Antonio going forward.Dr. Anita Kurian, assistant director of the Communicable Disease Division of the Metropolitan Health District, is urging those that have recovered from COVID-19 to donate plasma or that all citizens should give blood to help combat the blood shortage during the pandemic. Nirenberg agreed and said blood donations are needed at the blood bank and if you’re able to donate, you’re urged to do so.Nirenberg said the Saturday protests at the Texas Capitol building are “extremely dangerous,” careless, reckless and are posing a health hazard to the public, as someone can be carrying the virus without even knowing it. Nirenberg said the protests are “pure ignorance” and it’s important for the city of San Antonio to maintain social distancing and to stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. He said the emergency orders are temporary once the virus gets under control, but until then, it’s necessary to abide by the health precautions.Kurian said if the “stay at home” orders were not in place, the county would see a steep increase in COVID-19 cases and it would overwhelm the city’s medical resources.Nirenberg reassured residents that the city of San Antonio will not make any moves to open things prematurely without proper health guidance. Nirenberg said they need an all-clear sign from health professionals and said he “will do everything in my authority to protect the lives of our residents.”Nirenberg also reminded citizens that they can make contributions to the risk mitigation fund by texting, “HousingHelpSA” to 41444 to provide financial relief for the Emergency Housing Assistance Program. Businesses, companies or groups can donate by emailing COVID19@SAAFDN.org to connect with the San Antonio Area Foundation.

WATCH: Bexar County judge provides update on COVID-19 situation at jail

Wolff talked about the increase of jail inmates who tested positive for COVID-19. He said all 15 inmates are in separate cells, and new inmates are being held in a different location than the general population for 14 days.Wolff said every inmate in the Bexar County Jail was provided a face mask, but they were asked to use them for 2-3 days, as the supply at the jail is limited. He said when the county receives more personal protective equipment, they will try to get inmates a new mask every day. It’s unclear when the county will receive a new shipment of supplies.Wolff said inmates still have daily temperature checks twice a day. He said any inmate that shows signs of the virus will be isolated. He also said he expects to see more inmates test positive for COVID-19.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

ADDENDUM TO STAY HOME, WORK SAFE ORDER (Newsletter subscribers, click here to view.)

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE FROM KSAT:

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