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'We need your help' | Local leaders share latest COVID-19 vaccination rates, cases

"Supply is no longer an issue. It hasn't been an issue for several months," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said about the number of vaccines available in Bexar County.

SAN ANTONIO — For the first time in nearly five months, more than 400 San Antonio residents are fighting the coronavirus inside local hospitals.  

As of Friday, there were 418 people with COVID-19 at San Antonio hospitals. 121 patients are in the intensive care unit, and 50 of those people are on ventilators. 

More than 95% of these patients are unvaccinated, city leaders said Friday. 

As a result, hospital administrators said they are again considering limiting visitation to help with staffing and capacity concerns, perhaps to one family member per patient. 

"We're not looking at or anticipating a surge. We are fully in the middle of another surge," Baptist Health CEO Bill Waechter said. "The indicators are all there and the trajectories are all pointed in the same direction." 

The City of San Antonio and local hospital leaders provided an update on COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and vaccination rates in the region.

The positivity rate increased to 13.5% on Monday, continuing its concerning rise of more than eight percentage points over the last two weeks.

Officials provided information on testing locations, upcoming vaccination clinics and urge residents to get vaccinated to help protect yourself and loved ones from COVID-19.

Leaders stressed getting the vaccine not just for yourself, but for others, using the phrase San Antonians have heard throughout the pandemic -- "Do it for SA." 

"The increases in cases over the last few weeks has been precipitous," San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

With the availability of vaccines throughout the community, Nirenberg says people are depending on others to do the "right thing" and get vaccinated... especially those who are not of age to get vaccinated.

Fire Chief Charles Hood also spoke, telling people to get vaccinated if you have not, especially if you are a city employee or a first responder. He expressed frustration over the lower vaccination rate in San Antonio and what it means for people who suffer other emergencies.

“Our citizens are still going to be in accidents. They’re still going to be injured, they’re still going to have heart attacks,” Hood said. 

City leaders also recommend getting tested if you do experience any sort of COVID-19 symptoms. Testing is available in retail pharmacies, doctor's offices and free sites hosted by the city.

The Delta variant is impacting a younger group, according to health officials. But 95% of hospitalizations are those who are not vaccinated. And if you are not vaccinated, Nirenberg says you should still be wearing a mask in public, because that is the CDC guideline.

Here are the latest numbers reported by Bexar County and state officials:

Bexar County (data as of Wednesday, July 21):

  • The positivity rate increased to 13.5% on Monday, July 19, continuing its concerning rise of more than 8 percentage points over the last two weeks.
  • The 7-day moving average of new cases spiked from 265 cases per day to 363 cases per day, and the total number of cases rose to 233,167.
  • Six new deaths were reported in the past 14 days, and the county's death toll rose to 3,586, confirmed by Metro Health.
  • 397 patients currently hospitalized; of those, 49 are on ventilators and 110 are in intensive care. 
  • 100,000 San Antonians have received their first dose, but not their second.

Metro Health reports new data at 4 p.m. every Wednesday.

Texas (data as of Thursday, July 22):

  • 8,595 cases were reported, including 6,417 new confirmed, 1,895 new probable, and 283 backlogged cases. More than 2.59 million Texans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
  • 40 additional deaths were reported, raising the statewide death toll from virus complications to 51,749.
  • 3,692 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across Texas, as of Thursday.

More county case information is available through the Texas Department of Health Services COVID-19 dashboard.

Vaccine Progress in Bexar County

The following numbers are provided by San Antonio Metro Health. A full breakdown can be found here.

  • 1,254,379 Bexar County residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, representing 75.5 percent of the county's population eligible to receive a vaccination.
  • 1,039,246 Bexar County residents are fully vaccinated, representing 62.5 percent of the county's population eligible to receive a vaccination.
  • 215,133 Bexar County residents have not yet received their second vaccine dose.

For more on vaccine progress in Bexar County, click here.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control say the Delta variant now makes up 83% of new coronavirus cases—amounting to a huge jump from just two weeks ago, when the variant accounted for 50% of new diagnoses. 

Democratic State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who represents a part of northwest San Antonio, and some Olympics athletes are among the high-profile cases of vaccinated people coming down with what is likely the Delta variant of the coronavirus, showing just how contagious it is. 

As for those who are still unvaccinated, experts say the chance of catching COVID-19 is now very high. 

"It really is spreading really rapidly to people that are unvaccinated, even people that have had prior infection with a prior strain or wholly or only partially vaccinated," said Dr. Jason Bowling, an associate professor of infectious diseases at UT Health San Antonio. "This virus is so efficient at causing infection that unvaccinated people are very high-risk."