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Coronavirus Tracker: Metro Health reports 4,248 new cases as hospitalizations continue to soar

The omicron variant continues to prolong the pandemic at home and across the country.

SAN ANTONIO — The contagious omicron variant continues to spread through the San Antonio area as local health authorities reported 4,248 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, continuing the latest surge to start the third year of a prolonged pandemic. 

It's the fourth time in the last five days that Metro Health tallied at least 4,000 new coronavirus diagnoses, after a year that saw only one day of at least 3,000. In all, more than 381,000 Bexar County residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 

The local death toll remained at 4,994 after no new virus-related deaths were reported. 

Hospitalizations, however, continue to go up, increasing for an 18th straight day to 898 local residents receiving treatment for their symptoms after 159 patients were admitted overnight. The last time hospitalizations were that high was Sept. 16, during the delta wave. 

Of those 898 patients, 195 are in intensive care and 73 are utilizing ventilators; both are also increases over Monday's figures. 

San Antonio continues to open new no-cost testing sites this week, but Metro Health is also warning that there could be delays in providing results. Meanwhile, some college students say they're frustrated about starting the spring semester with in-person instruction, and the latest surge has already impacted Martin Luther King Jr. Day traditions and local entertainment options

How Bexar County is trending

Credit: KENS
Credit: KENS

Vaccine Progress in Bexar County

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

  • 1.644 million eligible Bexar County residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of Thursday, Jan. 6, representing 86.8% of the county's population eligible (those over the age of 4) to receive a vaccination.
  • 1.348 million eligible Bexar County residents are fully vaccinated as of Thursday, Jan. 6, representing 71.2% of the county's population eligible to receive a vaccination.
Credit: KENS

The CDC states that "when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness)," that community will have reached herd immunity, "making the spread of this disease from person to person unlikely."

The City of San Antonio breaks down the vaccination rates by zip code on Metro Health's Vaccination Statistics page.

Coronavirus in Texas

The total number of coronavirus cases in the state since the pandemic began grew by 56,659 on Tuesday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. That total includes 46,795 new confirmed cases and 9,864 new probable cases. More details can be found on this page

Tuesday's figures bring the total number of Texans diagnosed with COVID-19 to more than 5.147 million.

An additional 110 Texans have died from virus complications, meanwhile, raising the statewide death toll to 75,397.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea, 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.

Experts determined there was consistent evidence these conditions increase a person's risk, regardless of age:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Obesity (BMI of 30 or higher)
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Serious heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread... 

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

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.

Find a Testing Location

City officials recommend getting a COVID-19 test if you experience fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea.

A self-screening tool is available to see if you need a test.

Here's a Testing Sites Locator to help you find the testing location closest to you in San Antonio.

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