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April 28: Health Transition Team Announces Plan To Reopen San Antonio, Bexar County

Dominic Anthony Walsh | Texas Public Radio
A GO RIO tour is pictured in mid-March before "Stay Home, Work Safe" orders were issued in San Antonio.

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.

Here's what we know ...

Tuesday, April 28

7 p.m. — Eviction moratorium may extend through end of May

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff may extend a county-wide moratorium on evictions through the end of May, according to County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez. This would follow a Texas Supreme Court decision to push its statewide hold on evictions through May 18, and an incident in Olmos Park where tenants were locked out of their apartments by the apartment manager. The Olmos Club complex is in Rodriguez's Precinct 2. 

"The judge has at least relayed to me that his intent is to, in this next revision of the order, extend that moratorium on evictions," Rodriguez said. "He didn't give me a date (for) certain, but I would imagine it would have to be at least 30 days — through May, as a lot of the fallout is still happening in the economy." 

Read more about the evictions moratorium here.

6:34 p.m. — Total number of cases now at 1,307, with 574 recoveries and 44 deaths

According to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, San Antonio City Council and the Bexar County Commissioners Court met to hear from Dr. Barbara Taylor of UT Health, who is leading the health transition team, about opening the city in a safe manner.

Yesterday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would relax the statewide stay-at-home order starting Friday, and Taylor explained that in many ways, San Antonio’s goals overlap with the state's, including increases in testing and contact tracing and increasing public activity slowly.

Nirenberg repotted that there are 32 more cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total to 1,307. There are no new deaths — the total number of deaths is 44 — and 574 people have recovered.

There are 56 people in hospitals who have tested positive for COVID-19, 31 who are under investigation and 33 in intensive care. Of those in intensive care, 16 are on ventilators.

As for the county jail, County Judge Nelson Wolff reported that there are two more confirmed cases; the total number of confirmed cases in the jail is 64. Twenty-three have recovered. Of the 41 who still are still infected, five are in the hospital.

Wolff added that the jail has received 207,000 masks, which he said would supply the jail for couple of months. There are 1,150 inmates in isolation units.

6:13 p.m. — Watch today's daily briefing

5 p.m. — City, County announce multi-step plan to phase out social distancing rules

San Antonio and Bexar County will relax social distancing in phases according to a new plan released by a health transition team appointed by the city and county.  The phases will be based on thresholds and not a specific timeline. Dr. Barbara Taylor, who is leading the transition team says the relaxing would depend on a decrease in cases, and the ability to perform tests, contact tracing and sufficient hospital capacity.

“We do have a decrease in the number of cases, would everybody describe it as a sustained decline over 14 days? I think not yet,” she said. “I think as far the other indicators we’ve talked about — testing capacity and contact tracing — we’re not yet where we want to be but we’re getting a lot closer.”

The city and county are currently in phase one under the stay-at-home orders. Phase two would allow for small social gatherings in homes but mass gatherings like concerts, gala fundraisers, and even Fiesta would remain closed.

The plan was drafted before Gov. Greg Abbott's reopening plans were revealed on Monday

During a special meeting with the San Antonio City Council and Bexar County Commissioners Court, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said revised orders are being drafted.

“The mayor and I will have be having to meet with the lawyers and figuring out what we can do and cannot do to strengthen the deal,” said Wolff. “And we will have to act fairly quick because our current order expires at the end of Thursday I think – so we’re going to be moving forward with that.”

2:30 p.m. — Watch the special City Council meeting

12:30 p.m. — Public health transition team announces plan

A transition team appointed by San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and County Judge Nelson Wolff released a multi-phase plan today for safely reopening the community.

The plan offers guidance based on public health evidence and data.

The transition team recommends continuous monitoring to determine whether increased public health measures are needed. That includes a return to prior orders and restrictions.

The plan will be presented to the City Council and County Commissioners at 1 p.m. today during a virtual special joint meeting.

12 p.m. — County Commissioners, City Council meet to discuss next steps for SA businesses

The Bexar County Commissioner’s Court and San Antonio City Council will hold its first joint meeting in at least two decades to discuss their efforts to combat COVID-19.

Today’s meeting follows Gov. Greg Abbott’s Executive Order, which will allow restaurants, movie theaters, museums, retail stores and several other businesses to reopen starting Friday. Those businesses cannot exceed 25 percent capacity during the first phase of the Governor’s plan.

County Commissioners and City Council members will discuss how to reopen businesses in San Antonio while still practicing safe social distancing protocols.

Monday, April 27

8:30 p.m. — Additional COVID-19 cases among Bexar County Jail inmates, Sheriff’s deputies

Two additional cases of COVID-19 among Bexar County jail inmates were announced Monday. A total of 62 inmates have been diagnosed with the virus.

The Bexar County Sheriff's office also reports two additional deputies have tested positive, bringing the total number of deputies to 34.

The sheriff's office says daily sanitation continues in the jail's living units, and sanitation protocols are conducted three times a day in high-traffic areas.

Inmates' surgical masks are replaced daily, and deputies who work in the jail utilize personal protective equipment.

The sheriff's office, University Health System and San Antonio Fire Department continue testing inmates and employees who work in the Bexar County Jail.

6:20 p.m. — New "Stay Home, Work Safe" orders to be issued

Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Judge Nelson Wolff announced they will meet with other elected leaders in the county on Tuesday to discuss Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to reopen some Texas retail stores.

After that meeting, new "Stay Home, Work Safe" orders will be issued for Bexar County and San Antonio.

Local leaders are prevented from enforcing civil penalties for actions that the governor has deemed legal for the state. Those actions could include not wearing masks or maintaining social distancing.

Still, Judge Wolff said, officials can encourage constituents to wear masks and businesses have the right not to serve customers not wearing masks.

Judge Wolff said there was a report of about 50 residents locked out of their units at the Olmos Club Apartments. He said local officials are working to address the issue and reiterated there is a moratorium period for evictions during the pandemic.

Officials also reported:

  • 1,275 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the area
  • 44 deaths related to COVID-19 in the area

6 p.m. — Watch Monday's daily briefing

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

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