By Scott Huddleston, Staff writer
The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases and people in the hospital with the disease in Bexar County continue to drop as San Antonio officials work on a plan to reopen businesses in phases, using best public health practices.
But there were two new deaths reported Wednesday, including a Hispanic woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions. The death toll is now at 46.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg said there were 19 new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 1,326 in Bexar County who have tested positive since the pandemic began in March. There are 55 people who were in the hospital Wednesday, down from 56 Tuesday. Of those, 36 were in ICU and 20 were on ventilators.
“We have slowed the spread,” Nirenberg said at the daily city-county briefing, once again urging residents to maintain 6-foot social distancing and using face coverings in public to ensure the spread doesn’t resume.
The City Council is set to meet Thursday to consider extending a public health emergency declaration that complies with orders announced this week by Gov. Gregg Abbott. Those orders allow restaurants, movie theaters and retail businesses to reopen Friday at up to 25 percent capacity. Bars, barbershops, hair salos and gyms in Texas will remain closed at least through mid-May.
Local authorities have developed a multi-phase plan developed by a health transition team to reopen businesses and community gathering places in Bexar County, and will coordinate implementation with guidance from an economic transition team.
State and local officials still recommend people wear face coverings, even something as simple as a mask or bandanna, when in public places where physical distancing of six feet from others is difficult to maintain. However, no citations will be issued to those not wearing a face covering.
For more information, call the city’s COVID-19 hotline, 210-207-5779, or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org.
In related reports, a part-time Bexar County magistrate judge without any symptoms tested positive for COVID-19 during routine testing at the jail, officials confirmed Wednesday.
State District Judge Ron Rangel said the magistrate received the results Sunday. He is under quarantine and is working with San Antonio Metropolitan Health officials on contact tracing. A probate court reporter who is close to the part-time magistrate judge also is under quarantine and is awaiting test results.
Bexar County District Attorney Joe D. Gonzales confirmed that one of his prosecutors who was working temporarily with the part-time magistrate judge at the Justice Intake & Assessment Annex at 200 N. Comal Street is also under quarantine and is awaiting results of a COVID-19 test.
Magistrates take care of arraignments and other pretrial duties, including setting bail.
This is a developing story. Check back at expressnews.com for updates.