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Coronavirus SA Timeline: May 21

Facts not fear: KENS 5 is tracking the latest headlines and updates about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


These are the facts:

  • There have been at least 52,268 cases of coronavirus in Texas and 1,440 reported deaths from COVID-19 as of 4:30 p.m. on May 21, according to Texas HHS.
  • City leaders say there are 2,371 confirmed positive cases in San Antonio as of 6:13 p.m. on May 21. A total of 64 people have died related to the coronavirus.
  • Governor Abbott's order for a "phased in" reopening of the Texas economy got underway Friday, May 1, and further phases are expected. You can find more information about that here.
  • Per city orders, most San Antonians need to wear a mask or cloth covering in public areas where social distancing is difficult or not possible. Click here for more information.


Credit: KENS

We're tracking how many coronavirus cases are confirmed in Bexar County each day from the time San Antonio Metro Health began reporting cases more than two months ago. Graphing those daily case numbers along a 14-day moving average provides an accurate picture of the curve in the San Antonio area and the direction we're heading amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, May 21

7:34 p.m.

By the numbers: 1,200 Bexar County residents have now recovered from COVID-19, while 1,197 remain ill with the virus. The county reported one more death Thursday - an individual in their 50's. 64 people have died from coronavirus in the county.

6:30 p.m.

Flags at federal buildings and national monuments will be lowered for the next few days, President Trump tweeted on Thursday, as a way to honor the American lives that have been lost to the novel coronavirus. 

6:13 p.m.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported that an additional 49 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Bexar County on Thursday, bringing the total to 2,371. Meanwhile, one new death from COVID-19 complications was reported, bringing the local death toll to 64.

4:40 p.m.

Tracking the spread: Texas health officials reported an additional 945 cases of coronavirus in the state Thursday. 21 more Texas residents have died from the virus in the last 24 hours.

Credit: TEGNA

4:03 p.m.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced that 127 inmates at the Bexar County Jail are positive for coronavirus. 237 inmates have recovered and are back within the jail's general population. 23 inmates who had tested positive for COVID-19 have been released from custody.

Out of those 127 inmates currently positive for coronavirus, 117 are asymptomatic, while 10 are showing symptoms, Salazar said. The jail has tested 2,032 inmates at the jail as part of their mass testing initiative.

No inmates are currently hospitalized with the virus, while seven inmates are being treated at the jail infirmary. 

Salazar said that a total of 69 BCSO deputies have tested positive for coronavirus. 46 deputies have now recovered, while 23 are currently battling the virus.

2:36 p.m.

The Texas Department of Public Safety will begin to reopen driver license offices region by region starting next week, according to the governor's office. 

The four-phase openings will begin Tuesday and services will be limited; offices in south and central Texas on May 26 at 1 p.m

12:40 p.m.

H-E-B announced out that it would extend 'Texas Proud pay' through June 21.

Additionally, the Texas-based grocery chain will accelerate merit increases for store and supply chain hourly Partners.

11:01 a.m.

VIA is reporting an administrative employee tested positive and is recovering at home. In total, two administrative employees and seven VIA operators have tested positive.

10:57 a.m.

In a news release Thursday, Comal County confirmed three new cases of COVID-19, for a total of 81.

The cases are a Schertz resident in their 30s and two New Braunfels residents in their 30s and 40s. All three are self-isolating. With six deaths and 56 recoveries, the county now has 19 active COVID-19 cases, two of them hospitalized.

As of Wednesday morning, the Comal County Office of Public Health has received reports of the following test information:

  • 1,874 tests conducted
  • 81 positive tests
  • 1,439 negative tests
  • 357 results still pending

These numbers include 482 nursing home tests taken Tuesday and Wednesday, of which 197 were negative with the rest pending. Testing conducted by the New Braunfels Fire Department will continue today and Friday. Because the department also conducts testing at the drive-through testing facility run by private physicians with support from Comal County, appointments for that center have been suspended until next week so firefighters can focus on nursing home testing.

Also, 763 people have received antibody tests at the Office of Public Health, with 10 testing positive, indicating they had contracted COVID-19 at some point in the past. These numbers do not reflect all of the potential antibody tests being conducted in the county, nor do they necessarily include only Comal County residents.

Of the 81 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Comal County, the location breakdown is:

  • 30 from New Braunfels or the immediate area
  • 14 from north of Canyon Lake
  • 13 from the Bulverde area
  • 7 from eastern Comal County
  • 4 from the Spring Branch area
  • 3 from south of Canyon Lake
  • 3 from Garden Ridge
  • 2 from Fair Oaks Ranch
  • 2 from southwest Comal County
  • 2 from central Comal County
  • 1 from Schertz

10:30 a.m.

The San Antonio City Council approved the extension of the "Stay Home, Work Safe" order until June 4 in a meeting this morning. The council voted

San Antonio City Council

LIVE: San Antonio City Council meets to discuss gradual reopening of the city

Posted by KENS 5 & Kens5.com on Thursday, May 21, 2020

9:47 a.m.

The San Antonio Police Department reported the latest numbers within the department:

Sworn officers positive: 6

Officers in quarantine: 4

Civilians in quarantine: 4

Total SAPD personnel quarantined: 8

9:10 a.m 

The TSA announced Thursday that it will be rolling out a number of changes nationwide by mid-June to protect passengers and employees during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

RELATED: TSA updating security procedures for summer travel amid coronavirus

9:00 a.m.

The Zoo has announced it will reopen on Friday, May 29, but only for annual pass holders through May 31.

Important changes include: limited capacity attendance, reservation-based timed ticketing and face masks will be strongly recommended for all guests, ages 10 and older.

8:25 a.m. 

Workers filed an additional 2.4 million unemployment claims last week, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

In total, nearly 39 million people have now filed for unemployment over the past nine weeks since the coronavirus pandemic hit. 

6:00 a.m. 

Worldwide confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, reached 5 million early Thursday morning. That's according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.  

Just before 2 a.m. EDT, the tabulation read 5,000,038. That includes more than 328,000 confirmed deaths. Nearly 1.9 million have recovered.

READ MORE: 5 million cases: World COVID-19 count reaches new milestone

Wednesday, May 20

9:30 p.m.

A total of 106,000 COVID-19 cases were reported to the WHO over the last 24 hours, the most in a single day since the pandemic began. The worldwide total of confirmed cases is expected to reach 5 million by Thursday

8:00 p.m.

By the numbers: 63 Bexar County residents have died from coronavirus, as of Wednesday evening. 63% of residents who've contracted the virus are below the age of 50.

6:15 p.m.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg reported that an additional 44 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Bexar County on Wednesday, bringing the total to 2,322. Meanwhile, one new death from COVID-19 complications was reported, bringing the local death toll to 63.

4 p.m.

The number of lab-confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas rose by about 1,400 on Wednesday, bringing the total to 51,323. In addition, 50 additional deaths were reported by the state; the death toll is now 1,419.

Credit: TEGNA

12:45 p.m.

City health officials announced the locations of four additional walk-up sites where San Antonio residents will be able to get tested for the coronavirus this month. 

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, free testing will be available at the Palo Alto College gym (on West Villaret Boulevard) and Nellie Reddix Center (on Sid Katz Drive) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. 

Later in May, testing will also be held at the welcome center of San Antonio College (on North Main Avenue) and Highland High School (on Elgin Avenue) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day on May 28 to May 30. 

While the city isn't asking residents to schedule an appointment ahead of time, officials say no more than 175 people will be able to receive tests at each location, each day.

11:35 a.m.

San Marcos officials say the community's popular riverfront parks will be among the next areas to reopen to recreators, seven days a week, beginning Friday. The city is urging visitors, however, to continue practicing social distancing and good hygiene whenever possible, as well as encouraging the use of a face covering.

Playgrounds, basketball courts, and all park pavilions will stay off-limits and closed for now. 

More information can be found here.  

10:50 a.m.

Texas will distribute several shipments of the drug remdesivir to five San Antonio hospitals; the drug was approved by the FDA earlier this year as an effective treatment for coronavirus patients. 

10 a.m.

The U.S. has reported over 1.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 91,938 deaths, according to John's Hopkins University.

9:09 a.m.

The San Antonio Police Department reported the latest numbers within the department:

Sworn Officer COVID-19 positive: 6

Officers in quarantine: 3

Civilians in quarantine: 3

Total SAPD Personnel Quarantined: 6

12:33 a.m.

study from Europe suggests an alternating cycle of 50 days of strict lockdown followed by 30 days of relaxing of restrictions may be an effective strategy for keeping COVID-19 deaths down and keep damage to economies at a minimum. But fully relaxing restrictions could overrun hospitals and put the death toll in the millions.


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RELATED: CDC says coronavirus 'does not spread easily' on surfaces, objects

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • The CDC recommends wearing a mask or cloth face covering if you have to be out due to an essential service or essential activity such as going to the grocery store.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.