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Coronavirus Tracker: Bexar County cases and hospital admissions surging after holidays

Facts not fear: We're tracking the latest numbers from the coronavirus pandemic in San Antonio and across Texas.

SAN ANTONIO — We're tracking the latest numbers from the coronavirus pandemic in San Antonio and across Texas. Here are the latest numbers reported by Bexar and surrounding counties: 

  • Bexar County: On Sunday, 1,997 new cases were reported, bringing the total number of cases to 121,591. Seven new deaths were reported Sunday, and nine more were confirmed with death dates occurring from Sept. 12 to Dec. 15; the death toll from coronavirus complications has increased to 1,562.
  • Hays County: Officials in Hays County on Wednesday reported 43 new cases in the county and one additional COVID-related fatality. As of Wednesday, there are a total of 10,524 lab-confirmed local cases (1,754 of which are active), while the death toll increased to 126. 8,644 residents have recovered from the virus.
  • Comal County: Comal County officials on Friday reported 127 new cases and five additional COVID-related fatalities. There are a total of 6,366 cases, including 3,913 confirmed and 2,453 probable cases, while 163 county residents have died due to COVID-19 complications. The county estimates 5,504 residents have recovered, while 708 are still ill with the virus.

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

How Bexar County is trending

We've tracked how many coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Bexar County from the time officials began reporting cases in March 2020. The graphic below shows the number of cases since June and charts those daily case numbers along a 7-day moving average to provide a more accurate picture of the overall coronavirus case curve in our area and the direction we're trending amid the pandemic.

Credit: KENS 5

On Sunday evening, San Antonio Metro Health announced an additional 1,997 coronavirus cases in Bexar County. Sunday's report brings the total of local diagnoses to 121,591 since the pandemic began.

Seven new deaths were reported Sunday, and nine more were confirmed with death dates occurring from Sept. 12 to Dec. 15; the death toll from coronavirus complications has increased to 1,562.

Credit: KENS 5

Hospitalizations also continued to rise in the San Antonio area, with 1,234 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment at local facilities on Saturday. That's 71 more than on Saturday. 337 patients are in intensive care, and another 182 are on ventilators.

Since November 30, local hospitalizations have more than doubled.

The school risk level was raised to "high" this week, though many schools remain on holiday break. The county does not recommend in-person education amid the spiking coronavirus numbers in the San Antonio area. 

This week, Bexar County reached its seventh straight day with more than 15% of all hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 affected patients, enforcing a measure of Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order issued in September which will restrict business capacity to 50%

The county's positivity rate rose to 19.4% this week, pushing the overall risk level to 'severe.' Nirenberg noted Monday that Bexar County conducted fewer COVID-19 tests last week due to the Christmas holiday.

Coronavirus in Texas

The total number of novel coronavirus cases in the state since the pandemic began grew by 16,095 on Sunday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. That total includes 14,535 new confirmed cases, 1,510 new probable cases, and 50 cases attributed to backlogs not previously reported in the state's total (more details can be found at the top of this page).

As of Sunday, more than 1.793 million Texans have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Credit: KENS

State health authorities also reported 50 additional virus-related deaths on Sunday. At least 27,917 Texans have died from COVID-19 complications.

Meanwhile, the number of Texans receiving treatment at hospitals for coronavirus symptoms on Sunday rose to 12,563, another record high and an increase of 244 patients. Hospitalizations have more than doubled since November 1, when 5,691 patients were hospitalized due to COVID-19. 

The state estimates that 1.452 million Texans have recovered, while 300,785 Texans remain ill with COVID-19.

The latest update from the Texas Education Agency showed that there have been at least 98,601 cumulative cases among staff and students across the state through Dec. 20. That number comprises 62,675 positive student cases and 35,926 staff cases. More information can be found here.

The TEA releases new data on school cases on Fridays.

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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.

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.

San Antonio operates several no-cost testing locations, including two walk-up locations open Monday-Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.:

Cuellar Community Center
5626 San Fernando St.
San Antonio, TX 78237

Ramirez Community Center
1011 Gillette Blvd.
San Antonio, TX 78224

Additionally, Freeman Coliseum offers drive-through no-cost testing from Monday through Sunday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. An appointment is required and can be made either online or by calling (833) 213-0643.

Here's a Testing Sites Locator to help you find the testing location closest to you in San Antonio. And here are the dates and times that city-run testing sites will be operating over the holidays.