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San Antonio Health Director On COVID-19 Testing, Case Data, Working Groups, Order Enforcement

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Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels https://bit.ly/2JMmpOC

At least 554 coronavirus cases and 20 deaths had been confirmed in San Antonio as of Wednesday evening. 

There are 132 travel related, 193 close contact and 155 community transmission cases. Seventy-four are still under investigation.

The area's case count continues to tick up as more people are able to get tested. Public health officials amended the criteria on Friday to allow COVID-19 testing for symptomatic individuals without a physician's referral, which had previously been required. 

COVID-19 Community Action working groups have been established by the City of San Antonio and Bexar County to develop relief and recovery strategies in response to the economic blow dealt by the pandemic.

Separately, prevention and response teams will focus on the medical aspect of preventing COVID spread and community engagment in virus hot spots.

Mayor Nirenberg's March 24 stay-at-home order required closure of non-exempt businesses and an addendum outlined measures of enforcement for those choosing not to comply. Since then, a reported 1,138 warnings and 38 citations have been issued to businesses in violation of the public health emergency declaration. 

What can a breakdown of local case data tell us about who is most at risk and existing health disparities? What's being done to prevent additional community spread in COVID hot spots? How will new working groups help with these efforts?

If more progress isn't made toward flattening the curve in San Antonio, will enforcement be ramped up to dissuade individuals from violating the stay-at-home order?

Guest: Dawn Emerick, Ed.D., director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call  833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Thursday, April 9.

Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.