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San Antonio Expands COVID-19 Testing In Areas Considered To Be ‘Hot Spots’

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In addition to COVID-19 case numbers, Texas Public Radio is updating information on 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.

San Antonio

San Antonio officials reported 281 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, over 100 more cases than the number reported the day before. There have now been a total of 65,222 cases, and the seven-day average is up 10 cases, at 202 cases per day.

There have been 3 more deaths in the community, and the toll is now 1,250.

There has been a slight drop in hospitalizations and case severity in the area, Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported Wednesday.

There are 225 COVID-19 patients hospitalized (-13). On Wednesday, 28 new COVID-19 patents were admitted. There are 84 patients in intensive care (-5) and 44 on ventilators (-2).

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Capacity remains unchanged since Tuesday, with 12% of staffed beds and 70% of ventilators available.

“The internal management at hospitals, as well as the work that (the South Texas Regional Advisory Committee) does on a regional basis is keeping us in good shape in terms of capacity in our hospitals,” Nirenberg said. “So that’s not a concern at this point, but we have to do our part to slow the spread of this virus.”

The city has expanded COVID-19 testing in hot spots, with five new testing sites: Edgewood Shopping Center (open through Nov. 5), Our Lady of the Lake University (will open Oct. 30), South Park Plaza (open now), West Avenue (open now) and the Daughters of Charity location (will open Nov. 11).

“We are looking, constantly looking, to expand those testing sites’ specially in regions where the racial/ethnic minority population is high, the hot spots, the COVID hot spots,” said Dr. Anita Kurian, Metro Health Assistant Director. Kurian said the city is anticipating a surge and is increasing testing to keep up with that demand.

Additionally, no-cost, city-run testing for asymptomatic people is available at the Cuellar and Ramirez Community Centers and at the Walmart on W Military Hwy.

As of Tuesday, more than 565,000 Bexar County residents cast their ballots in the 2020 election, including in-person and mail-in voting. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said 598,000 voted in the 2016 election in total — including early voting, mail-in voting and Election Day voting. Wolff said the county may surpass that 2016 total by the end of Wednesday evening.

Precinct 2 County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez said the service industry has been hit hard by the pandemic in Bexar County. The Commissioners Court approved $4 million in grants last Tuesday for bars and restaurants negatively impacted. Applications for the grant relief program — which may provide eligible business with up to $25,000 — are open and will close Nov. 2 at 5 p.m. For more information, go to bexarcountystrong.org.

This week is the final week of early voting in Bexar County, Rodriguez said so far, 500,000 ballots have been cast, including mail-in ballots. The amount is 43% of registered voters in the county.

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Texas

On Wednesday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 879,000 cases since March, with Harris, Dallas, Tarrant and Bexar counties among those consistently reporting the most cases.

There are over 5,600 patients with COVID-19 in Texas hospitals, a number that has climbed in recent days. More than 17,700 people have died in the state.

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National and International

Find the latest national and international updates on COVID-19 from NPR's live blog.