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April 29: San Antonio Issues 6th Public Health Emergency Declaration

Some San Antonio businesses sit empty along the St. Mary's Strip during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dominic Anthony Walsh

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 ...

Wednesday, April 29

6:41 p.m. — Mayor Ron Nirenberg issues sixth public health emergency order

Mayor Ron Nirenberg and County Judge Nelson Wolff announced San Antonio’s sixth declaration of a public health emergency, which responds to Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order released on Tuesday.

San Antonio’s new order maintains the previous stay-at-home measures and mandatory face coverings. All businesses that are not deemed essential by Gov. Abbott are required to stop operations and close. Those deemed essential must follow the limitations in Abbott’s order.

The order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on April 29 and will continue through 12:01 a.m. on May 19, 2020, subject to City Council approval.

The mayor also reported 1,326 confirmed cases, up 19 from yesterday. Of those cases, 636 have recovered.

There are two additional deaths today, bringing the total to 46.

Nirenberg reported a “modest decline” in hospitalizations: There are 55 people in hospitals with COVID-19, 35 being investigated and 36 in intensive care, up three from yesterday. There are now 20 people on ventilators, but the mayor said the city has plenty of available capacity.

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

3:30 p.m. — Rent assistance offered to some residents in unicorporated Bexar County 

Residents in unincorporated areas of Bexar County and 26 suburban cities who need help paying rent can apply for assistance through the county beginning this Friday at 10 a.m.

The Bexar County Housing Authority is overseeing rental assistance after COVID-19 related job losses.

Up to three months rental assistance is being offered to those who qualify. Applicants can apply online at the authority’s website. Rental payments are made directly to landlords.

Tuesday, April 28

9:30 p.m. — Additional COVID-19 cases among BCSO Deputies, jail inmates

Two additional Bexar County Sheriff’s Deputies and two county jail inmates tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Administration.

To date, 36 deputies and 64 inmates have tested positive for the virus.

13 deputies have since made a full recovery and 20 inmates are currently in the Recovery Unit, where they’ll remain under medical observation for seven days until they are symptom free.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, University Health System, and San Antonio Fire Department will continue testing employees who work in the county jail and inmates in custody.

In addition to the deputies and inmates, one video visitation civilian employee, one dispatcher, one laundry tech, one Bexar County facilities maintenance employee, one Bexar County fleet maintenance employee, one Aramark employee, and 5 UHS employees have also tested positive for COVID-19.


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, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among jail inmates to 64.

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

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