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San Antonio Sees Steep Increase In COVID-19 Hospitalization, Positive Test Rates

A testing site at Highlands High School saw 131 people on the first day it was open, May 28. The site will be open 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on May 29 and May 30.
Kathleen Creedon | Texas Public Radio

COVID-19 hospitalizations have more than doubled since June in San Antonio -- an indicator that the city is headed in the wrong direction in terms of flattening the curve.

Tuesday on "The Source," infectious diseases specialist Dr. Ruth Berggren of UT Health San Antonio said the steep hospitalization rate increase is concerning, as is the rising percentage of positive lab tests, which has gone from less than 5% to 9.3% in the past few weeks.

"I would like to think of it as a second wave because I'm an optimist," Dr. Berggren said. "We flattened our curve when we first started doing this work and I fully believe we can flatten our curve again."

Flattening the curve means inhibiting new infections to keep the number of cases manageable at any given time to avoid overwhelming hospital capacity.

Dr. Berggren encouraged community leaders to advocate for and model healthy behaviors to normalize wearing face masks in public and other recommended protective measures to curb the virus' spread.

She said something as simple as a mask can help prevent new infections and is a sign of respect for one’s own health and the health of others.

Guest: Dr. Ruth Berggren, infectious diseases specialist and director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics at UT Health San Antonio; COVID-19 consultant for Bexar County and member of the City of San Antonio’s Health Transition Team

"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 Tuesday, June 16.

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Kathleen Creedon can be reached at kathleen@tpr.org or on Twitter at @Kath_Creedon