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Nirenberg and Wolff pen letter to Gov. Abbott requesting more help to confront COVID surge

With the surge of omicron in Bexar County, officials are asking Gov. Abbott for more resources.

SAN ANTONIO — County Judge Nelson Wolff and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg wrote a letter Monday asking for more nurses to be sent to San Antonio amid an ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases associated with the omicron variant.  

The letter starts off by thanking Gov. Greg Abbott for sending additional help to San Antonio in the form of more than 400 health care staff. But it also points out the increasing stress places on hospitals in recent weeks, citing the fact that Bexar County's positivity rate has jumped by 25.1 percentage points in the last two weeks and hospitalizations have increased by 285%.

Internal response and surge plans have been put in place, but due to frontline staff being affected by omicron, it's causing a staff shortage. The letter emphasizes the shortage, stating that "with hundreds of our nurses out each day, we are going to need a lot more help soon. As opposed to previous surges, this time nearly every area of the hospital is affected by clinicians being sick, which affects not only COVID-19 patients but nearly every aspect of patient care."

Read the full letter to Abbott below:

"Dear Governor Abbott,

"Thank  you for  your assistance in sending the additional 411 nurses and respiratory therapists to help our hospitals during our current rise in hospitalizations. However, the stress on our hospitals has continued to accelerate at an alarming pace due the fast-spreading Omicron variant, and we are experiencing a dramatic surge in hospitalizations. As of today, our positivity rate has increased to 27.3% from 2.2% on December 25, 2021 and patients in our hospitals have increased to 778 from 202, a 285% increase.

"Many of our first responders and clinicians in the hospital are also being affected by Omicron. Bexar County hospitals have activated internal response/surge plans and contingency staffing models, but with hundreds of our nurses out each day, we are going to need a lot more help soon. As opposed to previous surges, this time nearly every area of the hospital is affected by clinicians being sick, which affects not only COVID-19 patients but nearly every aspect of patient care. We will  quickly reach  capacity in our hospitals as admissions of  COVID-19  patients continue  to increase rapidly.  

"We would greatly appreciate your assistance once again in sending additional state contract nurses as soon as possible."

More than 25,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in Bexar County by local health authorities in the first week of 2022, more than five times as many as were reported in the last week of 2021.

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