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May 1: Bexar County Sees Highest Number Of Daily Cases With 103, Most From Jail

"Now Open" sign outside a business in downtown San Antonio
Ryan Loyd
TPR News
"Now Open" sign outside a business in downtown San Antonio

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 ...

Friday, May 1

6:35 p.m. — Total confirmed cases up more than 100 from yesterday

Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported 1,477 confirmed cases of COVID-19 today; that number is up 103 from yesterday. County Judge Nelson Wolff explained that the jump is due to the increase in testing being done at the Bexar County jail. Of the 103 new cases, 91 are inmates.

At the jail, Wolff explained that even asymptomatic inmates are being tested, which he connected to the high number of positive cases. In total, there have been 157 cases at the jail; 10 people have recovered.

There have been 45 more recoveries, bringing the total to 683. The total number of deaths remains at 48, with no new deaths today.

Nirenberg reported an uptick in the number of positive cases in area hospitals, a total of 60. Forty-two are in intensive care — up five from yesterday — and 21 are on ventilators.

According to Nirenberg, Gov. Greg Abbott plans to deploy 50 operations for mobile testing run by the Texas National Guard. The groups’ training is in San Antonio and will be completed by tomorrow. Of the 50, six will be deployed in San Antonio.

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

4 p.m. — Stores remain mostly empty 

Gov. Greg Abbott’s newest executive order allowed stores to reopen Friday as long as retailers keep crowds to 25% of capacity. However, at least three major San Antonio malls remained quiet.

Read moreabout how shoppers responed to a partially reopened Texas.

2 p.m. — VIA extends fare relief

VIA Metropolitan Transit is extending its fare relief period through Sunday, May 17.

Fares for VIA buses, VIAtrans, and VIA Link service have been suspended since March to help reduce crowding near the farebox when boarding.

VIA still requires passengers to wear a face covering on its vehicles and at VIA facilities where proper social distancing isn't possible. A maximum load of 16 passengers at a time is allowed on VIA buses to promote social distancing.

10 a.m. — Housing assistance applications open for residents outside city limits

The Bexar County Housing Authority will start accepting applications today for residents outside the San Antonio city limits who need help paying housing costs due to a COVID-19 related job loss.

That includes assistance with rent, mortgage payments, utilities and other necessary payments.

Residents that live in the 26 suburban cities as well as the unincorporated areas of Bexar County can begin submitting applications by 10 a.m. today.

Applications can be found at habctx.org or 210-940-1180.

12:01 a.m. — Phase one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order goes into effect

Retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls will begin welcoming customers today, as Governor Greg Abbott’s most recent executive order is implemented and eases coronavirus restrictions.

All businesses reopening are allowed to operate at 25% capacity and must enforce social distancing measures. Phase two of the Governor’s plan — which could be rolled out as early as May 18 — would expand that capacity threshold and include more businesses, but only if the state doesn’t see a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases over the next two weeks.

Simon Property Group, the biggest mall operator in the U.S., is reopening Ingram Park Mall and 48 of its other properties starting today.

North Star Mall and the Shops at La Cantera will reopen Tuesday, with hand-sanitizing stations and social distancing measures in place. Seating areas in the food court will remain closed.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the city will reopen BiblioTech by Monday, to provide residents with free wifi, printing and computers. 

The digital publishing library will be open weekdays from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Masks and social distancing measures are required.

Thursday, April 30

6:45 p.m. — City outlines progress, warning indicators for upcoming weeks

Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported 1,374 total confirmed cases, up 48 from yesterday. Of the 1,374 cases, 688 people still have the virus and 638 have recovered.

There have been two more deaths, bringing the total to 48. Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the hospital numbers remain in “strong shape.”

In the county jail, 59 inmates and 28 staff members have tested positive.

Assistant City Manager Dr. Colleen Bridger gave a brief overview of how the city will measure its progress in the coming weeks.

The progress indicators include sustaining a decrease in number of positive tests; the ability to perform tests for all people, ultimately growing from the current 1,600 daily test capacity to 3,000; to do effective contact tracing; and a health system stress score, which quantifies the availability of hospital beds, ventilators, etc.

Bridger explained the city will monitor the virus’s doubling time, which is currently 2.5 weeks; the percentage of tests that are positive, which is currently under 7%; and the health system stress score. If any of these factors worsen, the city will take that as a warning indicator.

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

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

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

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