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 has seen “substantial community transmission,” according to Mayor Ron Nirenberg. Additionally, the city has seen an increase in pediatric cases (people 18 and under). Currently, 12% of cases are pediatric, up 1% from last week.
The city reported 550 new cases on Friday, bringing the total to 40,803. The seven-day rolling average is 839. There have been two more deaths related to COVID-19, and the death toll is now 349.
Local hospitals, though still under severe stress, have been trending positively. On Friday, the city reported 926 COVID-19 patients (-39), with 364 in intensive care (-16) and 252 on ventilators (+2). In terms of capacity, 15% of staffed beds and 53% of ventilators are available.
The city’s hospitalizations have recently plateaued, but Nirenberg warned that the virus is not yet gone.
“You don’t cut off your parachute just because you’ve slowed your descent. That happened previously with the first peak that we saw, and then all of a sudden, you saw these local orders stripped away of things like mask requirements. People let their guard down, and here we are through a very deadly July,” Nirenberg said.
In a statement Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said that local health authorities are able to shut down schools if there’s evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak, but not in the weeks before they are supposed to open.
Bexar County originally ordered school districts to delay the opening of schools until after Labor Day, but that directive is no longer enforceable under the state’s order. The decision will now be up to the school districts and school boards.
Three indicators that Metro Health officials will consider when offering guidance to schools are the positivity rate, doubling time and 14-day decline. Currently, the area’s positivity rates are at 18% of those tested, doubling time is every 18 days and there is no 14-day decline in cases.
“We continue to disagree with the attorney general and the governor’s legal analysis of the Texas Health and Safety Code. State law grants that local health authority powers beyond quarantine, namely powers to institute preventative measures. The same state law gives the governor the authority to revoke the health directive, which he did not do in the statement today,” Nirenberg said.
Metro Health will release an amended directive late next week with new guidance based on the options of local health officials and community members. There is a town hall next Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 7 p.m. The event will feature live audience polling and can be watched on the city's TVSA channel and on Facebook Live.
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff — along with District Attorney Joe Gonzales, Administrative Judge Ron Rangel and Sheriff Javier Salazar — sent another letter to the governor about the state of the county jail. The jail is overpopulated. This is partly because the state has not accepted paper-ready inmates into the state prison system.
Additionally, Abbott revoked the right for judges to make decisions with respect to personal recognizance bonds in March. Wolff said the governor’s decision has driven up the jail population.
“As of yesterday, 3,747 in the jail, from a low point of some 2,900. It’s expensive to all of the tax-payers. It costs you 56,000 more dollars every day because of the governor’s decision,” Wolff said.
Wolff said the jail is only writing one-third the amount of recognizance bonds than they were prior to the governor’s decision.
As of Friday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 420,900 confirmed cases across the state — with Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Bexar counties consistently among those reporting the highest numbers of cases.
More than 6,500 people have died in Texas.
There are more than 9,300 patients with COVID-19 in Texas hospitals.
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.