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May 21: COVID-19 Cases In Bexar County Jail Continue To Drop

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Kathleen Creedon | Texas Public Radio
In Bexar County jail, more than 2,000 of the 3,000 inmates have been tested.

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.

Thursday, May 21

6:30 p.m. — Universal testing continues in nursing homes

Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported 2,371 total cases in the San Antonio area, up 49 from yesterday.

Of the new cases, 26 are from community spread and six are from congregate settings. There are 17 cases that have not yet been categorized.

There has been one new death, bringing the total to 64.

In local hospitals, there are 82 confirmed cases and 17 under investigation. There are 40 people in intensive care and 20 on ventilators.

Nirenberg reminded that the city is working through universal testing in congregate settings. Of the 65 nursing homes in the San Antonio area, 28 have been fully tested, with a priority of facilities which have confirmed cases.

1,624 nursing staff and 1,263 residents have been tested. Nirenberg said he hopes all 65 will be tested by the end of next week.

Nirenberg explained that the city’s “Stay Home, Work Safe” order has been extended until June 4. He said the order is aligned with Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order.

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Courtesy of the City of San Antonio

The city’s reopening will be phased.

Testing sites will be open on Memorial Day, and Nirenberg said the city will not be restricting any parks and asked that people comply with social distancing measures and mask recommendations.

6:10 p.m. — Watch today's daily briefing

4:35 p.m. — Cases in Bexar County jail continue to drop

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar says COVID-19 positive cases at the jail continue to drop.

According to Salazar, 127 inmates were listed as positive today but recoveries continue to climb.

237 inmates have recovered and more than 2,000 of the 3,000 inmates have been tested. Twenty-seven deputies are currently positive.

Wednesday, May 20

6:30 p.m. —  Two new pop-up testing sites open

Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported 2,322 total cases, up 44 from yesterday. Of the new cases, 16 are from the community, one is from the county jail and 19 are from congregate settings. The additional 19 have not been determined.

There has been one new death, bringing the total to 63.

In local hospitals, there are 82 positive cases and 10 under investigation. There are 36 people in intensive care and 17 on ventilators.

Two new pop-up testing sites will be open this week: one at Palo Alto College gym and one at the Nellie Reddix Center. Both will be open 10 a.m.–2 p.m.

County Judge Nelson Wolff discussed how the Federal Appeals Court nullified the district court order that would have allowed for mail-in ballots. Wolff described the decision as a “setback.”

6:10 p.m. — Watch today's daily briefing

2:30 p.m. — San Antonio Food Bank releases new statistics

The San Antonio Food Bank today released statistics that show the scale of efforts made to keep people from going hungry in April and May during the virus outbreak.

The food bank reports in its 16-county region more than 600,000 people were served. More than half of them received help from the Food Bank for the first time.

Volunteers put in 26,000 hours to distribute 17 million pounds of food.

Food bank officials say an historic $6 million worth of food and funds were donated to sustain the effort.

2 p.m. — City Council to discuss CARES Act funding priorities

The San Antonio City Council will meet today to plan how it will use more than $270 million earmarked for COVID-19 relief to residents. The funding comes from the federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Council members and city officials — including Deputy City Manager, Maria Villagómez, and Assistant City Manager, Dr. Colleen Bridger — will discuss the city’s COVID-19 response priorities.

Bexar County Commissioners Court met Tuesday to discuss the same matter and approved a $1.5 million fund for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. Commissioners are also considering a $5 million loan program using the CARES funding, but are seeking further review before approval.

Bexar County and the City of San Antonio must use the federal funding before the end of the year.

1 p.m. — High school graduation plans for the San Antonio area

San Antonio’s largest school district will not hold in-person graduation ceremonies this year.

Instead, the Northside Independent School District will set up appointments for seniors to walk the stage of their high school individually at staggered times beginning June 15. Seniors will be limited to four guests and all participants will undergo a health screening and be required to wear masks.

In a video announcing the decision, Northside Superintendent Brian Woods said the district’s numerous high schools and large graduating classes made social distancing during an in-person ceremony difficult.

Northside will also release graduation videos for the district’s 17 high schools in July.

San Antonio ISD and several smaller school districts in the San Antonio area will be holding in-person high school graduations, however. SAISD plans to hold ceremonies for its 13 high schools at the district’s Alamo Stadium between June 11 and June 18.

Graduates will be limited to two guests and everyone will be required to wear masks.

The Southwest, Harlandale, Boerne and Somerset school districts are also holding in-person graduations at their football stadiums in early June.

Texas Education Agency guidelines allow in-person graduation ceremonies in June if they are held outdoors and limit attendance to maintain social distancing.

11 a.m. — Mobile food drive announced for hospitality employees

A mobile food drive takes place this week for hospitality industry employees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association and the San Antonio Restaurant Association is partnering with the San Antonio Food Bank for the distribution event.

It takes place Thursday, May 21 from 2 to4 p.m., at Community Bible Church, 2477 North Loop 1604 East.

Anyone who works or has worked in the hospitality industry can pre-register for the food drive at the San Antonio Hotel & Lodging Association's Facebook page.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

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