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April 22: San Antonio Officials Say Masks Are 'Not A Recommendation, It's An Order'

Stuart Seeger/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2H8rOff
Members of the new economic transition team were announced at Tuesday's briefing with the mayor and county judge.
This Post is Archived: Find the newest information on COVID-19 in San Antonio at the links below.

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, April 22

6:30 p.m. — 1,126 confirmed cases; Metro Health warns against antibody tests 

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the San Antonio and Bexar County orders to wear masks is "not a recommendation."

He explained it's important to wear masks in public, especially if people are within 6 feet of each other. Many grocery and retail stores will not let customers inside if they're not wearing masks. 

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff warned that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott may plan to open retail stores in the state as early as April 27. If the happens, Wolff said, social distancing and mask precautions will be even more important.

Metro Health Director Dr. Dawn Emerick said she wants to warn residents of antibody tests being sold in the San Antonio area. She explained these are blood prick tests to determine if an individual contracted and recovered from COVID-19 without their prior knowledge.

There are 90 of these tests being sold on the market, but only four are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Emerick said she doesn't know if some tests sold in San Antonio are approved or not. 

Either way, antibody tests are not reportable to Metro Health. Instead, Emerick recommends the viral nasal swab tests that are currently used at all pre-approved drive through sites. 

City officials congratulated the second person in the San Antonio area who has recovered from COVID-19 with the help of convalescent plasma.

To donate antibody plasma you must have first tested positive with the viral, nasal swap test before recovering. 

City officials also announced the following updates:

  • 1,126 confirmed cases in the San Antonio area
  • 39 deaths in the San Antonio area (no increase in the past several days)

6 p.m. — Watch today's daily briefing

4:55 p.m. — Veterans home in Floresville has 15 cases among residents and staff

A wing of the Frank M. Tejeda Veterans Home in Floresville is battling a series of COVID-19 infections.

At least 10 residents have tested positive, and two among them have died. Five staffers also contracted the virus, and more results are pending.

All of the veterans who tested positive were moved to a separate part of the home. Those who needed a higher level of care went to San Antonio’s Audie Murphy VA Hospital.

Officials haven’t yet determined the source of the virus. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission began investigating the Tejeda facility on April 11, the day after the first positive test result came back.

Tuesday, April 21

6:30 p.m. — Updates of recoveries and plans to reopen

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said that 325 people have recovered from COVID-19 in the San Antonio area, which equates to 30% of confirmed cases in the area.

Members of the new economic transition team were also announced. There are about 20 people on that committee made up local businessowners. Kevin Voelkel is the president of Toyota Manufacturing Texas in San Antonio and will serve as one of the co-chairs. Julissa Carielo is the president of Tejas Premier Building Contractors and is the other co-chair.

City officials also announced the following updates:

  • 1,080 confirmed cases in the San Antonio area
  • 39 deaths in the San Antonio area 
  • 29 confirmed cases among Bexar County Jail inmates

6 p.m. — Watch today's daily briefing

To read yesterday's entire COVID-19 brief, click here.

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