As COVID-19 Deaths Rise, San Antonio Has Refrigerated Trucks On Standby To Maintain Morgue Capacity | Texas Public Radio

As COVID-19 Deaths Rise, San Antonio Has Refrigerated Trucks On Standby To Maintain Morgue Capacity

21 hours ago

In addition to COVID-19 case numbers, Texas Public Radio is updating information on how local businesses are adjusting, how you can help those in need and what you can do to stay entertained at home. TPR is also providing live updates on the Rio Grande Valley.

San Antonio

Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported Monday that the city’s hospital system is at “severe” risk according to the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council. San Antonio nears “critical” stress as cases continue to increase and hospitals fill up.

The San Antonio area saw 565 new cases on Monday, bringing the total to 20,213. Eleven new deaths were reported, and the death toll is now at 195. Nirenberg said that nearly 25% of cases in the area have tested positive.

Credit Courtesy of the City of San Antonio

In local hospitals, there are 1,267 COVID-19 patients — 421 in intensive care and 257 on ventilators. Capacity continues to be low, with 10% of staffed beds and 45% of ventilators available.

“The messages have not changed,” Nirenberg said. “And if it helps to remember them, they fall under three Ps — prevent the spread, protect your family and provide information.”


Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff expressed concern about the start of school in the fall, despite the Texas Education Agency’s new guidelines.

“Hopefully [Gov. Greg Abbott] will take a look at this, and decide that school districts ought to have some flexibility in determining how many kids will come in at any given time, to sort of stagger their classes, and we’re hoping that he will do that,” Wolff said.

Wolff emphasized the importance of staying away from activities that increase one’s risk of infection, such as water parks and large gatherings. Ken Davis, Chief Medical Officer of Christus Santa Rosa, agreed.

“We love our sports, we love our athletes, we love our gatherings, but it’s not worth people dying over,” Davis said.

As the number of deaths surges in Texas, multiple counties are relying on refrigerated trucks to expand their morgues’ capacities. Although it hasn’t gotten to that point yet in Bexar County, Davis said that it may be close.

“In the hospital, there are only so many places to put bodies. We’re running out of space, funeral homes are running out of space. We need those beds, so when someone dies, we need to quickly turn that bed over,” Davis said.

Nirenberg said that the city is prepared.

“In a mode of preparing for contingency, we do have refrigerated trucks on standby in the area, should they be needed,” Nirenberg said.



Gov. Greg Abbott said the increasing number of fatalities related to COVID-19 in Texas may lead to a statewide shutdown.

He's issued an executive order requiring Texans to wear a face masks in public spaces in counties with 20 or more COVID-19 cases.

The State of Texas says people who don't follow the mask orders may be fined $250.

As of Monday, Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 264,300 confirmed cases across the state — with Harris, Dallas and Bexar counties among those reporting the highest numbers of cases. More than 3,200 people have died in Texas.

There are more than 10,400 patients with COVID-19 in Texas hospitals.

National and International

Find the latest national and international updates on COVID-19 from NPR's live blog

Zoom in and scroll to find data on areas across the globe. Find more information at Johns Hopkins coronavirus resource center.

The CDC has provided COVID-19 guidelines in English and Spanish

Find the latest information from Metro Health here