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SA coronavirus timeline: April 8

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

SAN ANTONIO —

These are the facts:

  • There have been at least 9,764 cases of coronavirus in Texas and 189 reported deaths from COVID-19 as of 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 8, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • City leaders say there are 503 confirmed positive cases in San Antonio as of 6:15 p.m. on April 7; 150 of them are "community-transmission" cases while 179 were caused by close contact with another patient.18 people in the county have died.
  • Governor Abbott issued an executive order telling people to stay home unless working in an "essential service" or doing an activity deemed essential. Here is what that means.

Coronavirus Q&A | SA's "Stay Home, Work Safe" order | List of companies still hiring | Shopping times for seniors | School districts offering free meals

Real-time updates:

Wednesday, April 8 

6:10 p.m.

City leaders report 554 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the metro area, an increase of 51 from Monday. The number of COVID-19-related deaths in the county is now 20, after two more residents at the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation center in southeast San Antonio passed away after a recent outbreak. 

For the second time in as many days, the close-contact classification of coronavirus cases saw the biggest jump, from 179 to 193. That signals that the frontlines against the virus continue to be increasingly localized. 

4:30 p.m.

Sixteen new coronavirus diagnoses brings the total in Hays County to 77. Another 13 tests are currently pending while two county residents are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. 

3:00 p.m.

The city announces it is furloughing 270 employees who work in sectors funded by revenues from the local tourism industry, which has all but indefinitely halted in recent weeks. The furloughs take effect April 23, and the plan is for them to last through July 31. 

2:38 p.m.

A Bexar County Sheriff's Office detention deputy and a Bexar County facilities maintenance employee have tested positive for COVID-19; each coronavirus case is separate.

BCSO said it appears that the deputy was a recent graduate of their cadet class and contracted COVID-19 through close contact transmission.

The Bexar County facilities maintenance employee appears to have contracted the case through community transmission, BCSO said.

As of now, a total of four BCSO employees have tested positive for COVID-19; three assigned to the detention bureau and one video visitation civilian employee.

1:25 p.m.

Toyota announced Wednesday it would extend the length of its production suspension until May 1. The company plans to resume production on May 4.

Below is the statement from Toyota:

“Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and decline in vehicle demand, Toyota is further extending the length of its production suspension at all of its automobile and components plants in North America, including Canada, Mexico and the U.S. The manufacturing facilities will remain closed through May 1, resuming production on May 4.

Our service parts operations and finished vehicle logistics centers will continue to operate in order to meet the ongoing needs of our customers. We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action in a timely manner.”

12:15 p.m. 

Governor Abbott held a press conference on the state's response to the coronavirus. 

In it, the Governor announced at this time, 96,000+ people have been tested, 9,107 have tested positive, 1,491 Texans have been hospitalized and 175 coronavirus-related deaths have been confirmed. 

He also added that 5 million masks will be distributed around the state so that those workers in high demand will continue to have access to the PPE they need. 

"Whenever Texas faces challenges, we see heroes arise to face those challenges," Governor Abbott stated in response to the Texans who are assisting in coronavirus efforts throughout the state. 

The importance of wearing face masks when leaving the home, along with the CDC's other recommendations to wipe down surfaces, wash hands, and practice of good hygiene was reiterated. 

Texans were encouraged to stay home and continued practicing social distancing when leaving the home to participate in activities related to essential businesses.

"Your sacrifices are paying off," Governor Abbott stated after the Governor's panel shared that it is now taking 6 days for the number of cases to double as opposed to 3 days, which is how long it was prior to the Governor issuing an executive order for Texans to stay home. 

11:50 a.m.

Two more residents of the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center have passed away.

One patient was an African American woman in her 70s, who had been previously hospitalized then discharged to hospice care at the facility. The other patient was a Hispanic woman in her 80s. This totals 10 deaths of residents of the facility. 

Overall, this totals 20 deaths in the San Antonio community. 

11:48 a.m. 

Comal County confirms third coronavirus-related death and two more cases of the disease bringing the total to 29 cases.

11:41 a.m. 

Fair Oaks Ranch, a city within Comal County, has reported a new case of coronavirus, bringing the city's total to four.

10:25 a.m.

USAA says it will refund about $520 million in insurance premiums to customers. The company says the refund is due to less driving because of the coronavirus-related "stay home" orders. 

Any members with an auto insurance policy in effect as of March 31, 2020, will receive a 20 percent credit on two months of premiums in the coming weeks.

10 a.m.

An H-E-B employee at the store at Grissom and Tezel (9255 FM 471) tested positive for coronavirus. The employee was last in the store on April 5, 2020, according to HEB.

The company says the store has been cleaned and sanitized multiple times since then.

Below is the statement posted to the store's website:

"As COVID-19 continues to impact communities around the world, our H-E-B family of more than 120,000 Partners has not gone unaffected. A Partner who was confirmed positive for COVID-19 was last in the store on April 5, 2020. All directly affected Partners at the location have been notified and the store has been deep cleaned and sanitized multiple times since then and we continue to enforce proper social distancing practices. While the pandemic is an evolving situation with many unknowns, we are sure of one thing: We will do our part to help our fellow Texans in any situation our company and communities might face."  

8:16 a.m.

A fourth San Antonio police officer has tested positive for coronavirus. The sergeant has been on the force for 24 years.

This brings the total to 14 officers, 10 civilians staff members currently under quarantine.

7:15 a.m.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering changing its guidelines for self-isolation to make it easier for those who have been exposed to someone with the coronavirus to return to work if they are asymptomatic.

Under the proposed guidance, people who are exposed to someone infected would be allowed back on the job if they are asymptomatic, test their temperature twice a day and wear a face mask, said a person familiar with the proposal under consideration.

6:13 a.m.

The U.S. will likely reach 400,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 Wednesday. The total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday morning was 399,929, according to Johns Hopkins University. There were 12,911 deaths, an increase of more than 1,900 than JHU reported a day earlier. There have been 22,539 recoveries.

Tuesday, April 7

9:15 p.m.

Multiple outlets including the New York Times are reporting that folk singer and songwriter John Prine has died at the age of 73 from COVID-19 complications. 

8:10 p.m.

Balcones Heights has issued a fourth Declaration of Local Disaster. According to a city council spokesperson, the move "more closely aligns" with Bexar County's most recent Executive Order.

6:13 p.m.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Bexar County has surpassed 500 as five more residents of the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation facility have died, bringing the total number of deaths in the city to 18.

He said that of the 503 cases, 124 are travel related while 150 have been attributed to community spread. 179 have come from close contact with another person who has it, and the rest remain under investigation. 88 San Antonians have been hospitalized, and the mayor warned that the coming week would be difficult for the city.

6:00 p.m.

Six more coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Guadalupe County, bringing the total cases to 45. County officials say 18 are in Cibolo and 7 are in New Braunfels.

5:00 p.m.

The University of Texas at San Antonio says it will reimburse students for housing, parking permits and meal plans. The refund will be prorated going back to March 16 and through the end of the spring 2020 semester.

In the email sent to students, it says, "Residents who currently remain in on-campus housing are not eligible for this prorated refund."

2:50 p.m.

The city reports six additional COVID-19-related deaths, five of which are residents of the Southeast Nursing and Rehabilitation center who passed away since Sunday after testing positive for the coronavirus. The total deaths in the San Antonio area from the virus now stands at 18. 

2:20 p.m.

A new program is being launched by the City of San Antonio to help the city's homeless population. A homeless connection hotline will launch Thursday. 

City officials said during a special city council meeting Tuesday that Haven for Hope and other shelters are no longer accepting resident, making it even more difficult for the homeless population.

12:30 p.m.

The City of San Antonio is reminding people about resources it offers — and is continuing to offer — when it comes to fighting family violence. Local leaders say you shouldn't hesitate to call 911 in the event of a life-threatening emergency in your household and you can call (210)207-SAPD to report potential domestic violence incidents.

You can find more resources here.

10:30 p.m.

VIA officials say a second employee has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. More information is expected shortly. Another employee had tested positive at the end of March.

10:20 a.m. 

Governor Abbott orders all state parks and historic sites in Texas to temporarily close to further prevent gatherings of large people. There is no set date for when they are to reopen. 

10:15 a.m 

Comal County confirms five new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total in the county to 27.

8:45 a.m.

Stocks climbed in early trading on Wall Street Tuesday as markets around the world piled on even more big gains following their huge rally a day earlier.  

7:15 a.m.

Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo, "Now, more than ever in our 100-year history, we need help." The zoo, with help from donors locally and across the country, just last month, was able to raise and send more than $40,000 to the Zoos Victoria’s Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund amid the Australian wildfires. Now, the zoo is hoping for a 'boomerang-like' donation effect.

3:30 a.m.

Wall Street futures trading showed signs of a strong start Tuesday following Monday's rally in which the markets rose 7%. The S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq were up 2.5% in pre-market trading.

12 a.m.

The United States has 368,196 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of midnight ET Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been 10,986 deaths and 19,828 recoveries. 

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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.

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.