Coronavirus concern and uncertainty has inundated San Antonio as the city, like most others across the U.S., braces for its full impact. As of Wednesday evening, the local health department said it had confirmed 25 cases -- eight travel related, four close contact and 13 under investigation.
So far, San Antonio’s confirmed COVID-19 cases are in individuals who had recently traveled and people who were in close contact with the infected travelers. Any sharp increase in cases will likely be the result of community spread, where transmission of the virus cannot be reasonably traced to an original source. Health officials expect the number of cases to climb as testing becomes more widely available.
Local leadership has yet to verify this kind of spread in San Antonio/Bexar County and social distancing measures put in place by local government and public health officials last week aim to keep it from happening. San Antonio's public schools and universities are closed, people who can are working from home, and indoor and outdoor gatherings of 50 people or more are currently prohibited.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg ordered the temporary closure of all area restaurants, microbreweries and wineries, bars, lounges, nightclubs, taverns, gyms and health studios, bowling alleys, bingo parlors, theaters and other indoor commercial amusement businesses.
How long is this pandemic expected to last and what factors will affect that projected timeline? What's the latest news about vaccine development? How are hospitals and health care facilities preparing to meet coronavirus demand?
What's the protocol for coronavirus testing? Who qualifies and how much does it cost? Has the expansion of test sites and addition of drive-through testing had an impact so far? What other protective measures could local leadership implement to limit future coronavirus spread?
As the pathogen continues to infiltrate, upend and alter life as we know it, what should you be doing to stay safe and healthy? What are some strategies to manage fear and anxiety during these unprecedented times?
- Dr. C. Junda Woo, MD, MPH, medical director for the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District
- Joanne Turner, Ph.D., vice president of research at the Texas Biomedical Institute
- James Bray, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio
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*This interview was recorded on Thursday, March 19.