Texas Public Radio is updating the latest information on COVID-19 in the San Antonio area, along with 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.
Wednesday, May 20
6:30 p.m. — Two new pop-up testing sites open
Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported 2,322 total cases, up 44 from yesterday. Of the new cases, 16 are from the community, one is from the county jail and 19 are from congregate settings. The additional 19 have not been determined.
There has been one new death, bringing the total to 63.
There are 82 positive cases and 10 under investigation in local hospitals. There are 36 people in intensive care and 17 on ventilators.
Two new pop-up testing sites will be open this week: one at Palo Alto College gym and one at the Nellie Reddix Center. Both will be open 10 a.m.–2 p.m.
County Judge Nelson Wolff discussed how the Federal Appeals Court nullified the district court order that would have allowed for mail-in ballots. Wolff described the decision as a “setback.”
6:10 p.m. — Watch today's daily briefing
2:30 p.m. — San Antonio Food Bank releases new statistics
The San Antonio Food Bank today released statistics that show the scale of efforts made to keep people from going hungry in April and May during the virus outbreak.
The food bank reports in its 16-county region more than 600,000 people were served. More than half of them received help from the Food Bank for the first time.
Volunteers put in 26,000 hours to distribute 17 million pounds of food.
Food bank officials say an historic $6 million worth of food and funds were donated to sustain the effort.
2 p.m. — City Council to discuss CARES Act funding priorities
The San Antonio City Council will meet today to plan how it will use more than $270 million earmarked for COVID-19 relief to residents. The funding comes from the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.
Council members and city officials — including Deputy City Manager, Maria Villagómez, and Assistant City Manager, Dr. Colleen Bridger — will discuss the city’s COVID-19 response priorities.
Bexar County Commissioners Court met Tuesday to discuss the same matter and approved a $1.5 million fund for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Commissioners are also considering a $5 million loan program using the CARES funding, but are seeking further review before approval.
Bexar County and the City of San Antonio must use the federal funding before the end of the year.
1 p.m. — High school graduation plans for the San Antonio area
San Antonio’s largest school district will not hold in-person graduation ceremonies this year.
Instead, the Northside Independent School District will set up appointments for seniors to walk the stage of their high school individually at staggered times beginning June 15. Seniors will be limited to four guests and all participants will undergo a health screening and be required to wear masks.
In a video announcing the decision, Northside Superintendent Brian Woods said the district’s numerous high schools and large graduating classes made social distancing during an in-person ceremony difficult.
Northside will also release graduation videos for the district’s 17 high schools in July.
San Antonio ISD and several smaller school districts in the San Antonio area will be holding in-person high school graduations, however. SAISD plans to hold ceremonies for its 13 high schools at the district’s Alamo Stadium between June 11 and June 18.
Graduates will be limited to two guests and everyone will be required to wear masks.
The Southwest, Harlandale, Boerne and Somerset school districts are also holding in-person graduations at their football stadiums in early June.
Texas Education Agency guidelines allow in-person graduation ceremonies in June if they are held outdoors and limit attendance to maintain social distancing.
11 a.m. — Mobile food drive announced for hospitality employees
A mobile food drive takes place this week for hospitality industry employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association and the San Antonio Restaurant Association is partnering with the San Antonio Food Bank for the distribution event.
It takes place Thursday, May 21 from 2 to4 p.m., at Community Bible Church, 2477 North Loop 1604 East.
Anyone who works or has worked in the hospitality industry can pre-register for the food drive at the San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association's Facebook page.
Tuesday, May 19
6:40 p.m. — Mayor says San Antonio can test 3,960 people a day
Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported 2,278 total cases in Bexar County, up 65 from yesterday. Of those cases, 23 are from the community, five from the county jail and seven from congregate settings. Fifty-one of the cases have yet to be determined.
There are no new deaths; the total stands at 62.
Yesterday, Nirenberg announced that San Antonio has the capacity to test 3,000 people a day. Today, he confirmed that tthe city can now test 3,960 people in a day, across all labs (public and private).
The percent of positive cases has declined for the third week in a row. Last week, the percentage of total tests that were positive was 3.5%, and the week prior it was 4.3%.
There are 80 positive cases in local hospitals and 20 cases under investigation. Thirty-five people are in intensive care, and 20 are on ventilators.
As a part of the recommendation from the Health and Economic Transition Teams, Bexar County will provide safety supplies and processes for small businesses and nonprofits to open effectively and safely.
The kits include personal protective equipment like masks, thermometers and hand sanitizer and are available through registration on the city’s website. The kits will be available for pick-up at the Alamodome on May 27.
County Judge Nelson Wolff said the county has 2,000 kits available and that roughly 1,000 written requests have been made for the kits.
Wolff reported 397 positive tests of 1,618 total tests in the jail. Of the total positive tests, 78 were symptomatic and 319 were asymptomatic. There are 13 inmates in the infirmary and none in local hospitals.
6:10 p.m. — Watch today's daily briefing
2:30 p.m. — Supply kits available for small businesses
Small Businesses in San Antonio are eligible to receive a supply pack from the city to help with preventing COVID-19 transmission as reopening takes place. The supply packs contain a no-contact thermometer, face masks and two gallons of hand sanitizer.
Alex Lopez is Director of the City of San Antonio’s Economic Development Department. She says many of these supplies have been hard to get.
“Thermometers were definitely harder to locate and acquire but we know that when we buy in bulk the way that the city is able to purchase, we definitely can harness some of that purchasing power that it’s harder when you’re just buying one or two but when we buy a thousand it’s more an impact.”
Lopez says the hope is to supply about 5,000 businesses with boxes. Business owners with less than 25 employees can apply for the supply box by calling 3-1-1. The business must have been impacted by government closures and been in business prior to March 1.
Read more about businesses and COVID-19 here.
8:30 a.m. — Summer school plans in Texas
Texas schools can resume in-person classes starting June 1 as part of Gov. Greg Abbott's next phase of eased coronavirus restrictions.
Abbott said school district leaders could resume school operations as long as they follow safe distancing practices and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Texas Education Agency released recommendations and requirements for schools to re-welcome students. It includes taking children's temperatures at the start of each day, supervise hand washing twice daily, and maintaining a 6-foot distance between students.
It's also advised there should be no more than 11 people per classroom and school officials should consider a face mask requirement.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines
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