San Antonio reports 287 new COVID cases, three more deaths

Peggy O’Hare

San Antonio and Bexar County officials reported 287 newly diagnosed coronavirus cases and three more deaths Friday, including another death of a man in his 30s who succumbed to the illness at home.

It was the second time this week that local officials announced that a Bexar County resident in his 30s died at home.

The other victims were a Hispanic woman in her 60s and a Hispanic man in his 70s. Both died at Methodist Hospital.

All of the deaths occurred in the past two weeks.

“We’re on a downslide in terms of cases,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said Friday. “Everybody’s been really doing a good job … but we do need to remember, we still are getting cases. We’re still getting new people in the hospital, we’re still having deaths. So it’s not over yet. We still have a ways to go.”

Wolff and Mayor Ron Nirenberg have both expressed concerns that Gov. Greg Abbott will no longer require all Texans to wear face masks effective this Wednesday. The governor has also announced he’ll allow Texas businesses to resume operating at 100 percent capacity.

Wolff thanked several businesses that have announced they will continue requiring customers to wear masks at their establishments.

“The business community might save us by taking that kind of a stand,” he said.

Those businesses include Jim’s Restaurants, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Starbucks, Target, Macy’s, Bakery Lorraine and Carmelita’s, a Mexican food restaurant, Wolff said. The Spurs also will require fans to wear masks when the AT&T Center starts allowing limited in-person attendance at the team’s games beginning March 12.

San Antonio’s number of newly diagnosed cases continues to be far lower than what was recorded during the pandemic’s winter peak. At some points in January, as many as 3,000 daily new cases were being reported.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases has dropped to 298 per day. A month ago, that average was nearly five times higher, standing at 1,463 per day.

Bexar County is closing in on nearly 200,000 coronavirus cases recorded and almost 3,000 deaths since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago.

Local hospital numbers related to the virus also continue to improve. On Friday, 335 patients sick with the virus were being cared for in San Antonio hospitals — the lowest number in four months. That figure included 34 patients admitted to local hospitals in the past 24 hours.

Among those hospitalized, 126 patients were being monitored in intensive care units, while 65 were on ventilators.

City officials reported 8.3 percent of all patients hospitalized in San Antonio are sick with COVID-19. That’s a significant improvement from Jan. 22, when more than a third of patients hospitalized — 34.3 percent — were sick with the virus.

As of Thursday, 157,921 Bexar County residents have been fully vaccinated against the virus, while 272,289 people have received their first doses only, Nirenberg said.

The city and the county continue to need a vastly bigger number of vaccines, Nirenberg and Wolff said. The mayor said the vaccines aren’t being equitably distributed across Texas.

In nearby Comal County, the number of newly diagnosed coronavirus cases also continues to remain low. On Friday, public health officials reported 22 new cases — 16 confirmed, six probable. No new deaths were reported.

Comal County currently has 365 active cases of the virus, and 47 of those patients are hospitalized.

Since the pandemic began last March, Comal County has reported 9,268 cases of the virus — more than 70 percent of them in New Braunfels. More than 8,600 of those who contracted the virus have recovered — a recovery rate of 93 percent.

Comal County’s vaccination standby list, which is currently full, will reopen Monday. A link to that waiting list will be posted at 10 a.m. Monday on the county’s website at www.co.comal.tx.us. The link will also be shared on all of the county’s social media accounts.

Across Texas, more than 4,000 newly confirmed cases of the virus were reported Friday, along with more than 1,600 new probable cases and 256 more deaths.

More than 5,000 Texans confirmed to be sick with the virus are currently being cared for in hospitals across the state. Texas currently has an estimated 147,360 active cases of COVID-19.

Since the pandemic began a year ago, nearly 2.68 million confirmed cases of the virus have been reported statewide, along with nearly 365,000 probable cases. Among those patients, 44,155 Texans have died.

An estimated 2.47 million Texans have recovered from the virus, amounting to a recovery rate of 92 percent.

pohare@express-news.net | Twitter: Peggy_OHare


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