COVID-19 Blog: Ventilator Use Decreases 'Significantly' As San Antonio Patients Improve

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Texas Public Radio is updating the latest information on COVID-19 in the San Antonio area, along with how local businesses are adjusting, how you can help those in need and what you can do to stay entertained at home. TPR is also providing live updates on the Rio Grande Valley.

Here’s what we know …

Sunday, May 17

5:15 p.m. — Migrants, Volunteers Prepare For Possible COVID-19 Outbreak At Mexican Border Camp

Medical experts and volunteers at a migrant camp in Matamoros worry that COVID-19 could spread like wildfire among the more than 1,500 people living there if the virus makes its way into there.

Read more about how the camp is preparing for an outbreak here.

9:30 a.m. — Update on surrounding counties

Comal County confirmed two additional cases last week bringing the total 70. There are 56 people who have recovered from the virus and there have been six deaths reported.

Atascosa County confirmed 30 cases Thursday, with 17 recoveries and only one death related to the virus.

The Texas Department of State Health Services confirmed 101 cases in Guadalupe County, where 83 have recovered. There are 36 cases reported in Wilson County, and 45 in Medina County.

There 20 COVID-19 cases in Kendall County. Both Uvalde and Bandera Counties report six cases each.

Saturday, May 16

6:30 p.m. — Ventilator usage decreases

Metro Health‘s data team has been working “24/7” according to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and is taking part of this weekend off work. Assistant Director Jennifer Herriot said the team has worked for 115 days straight and this is their second day off work. Mother’s Day was the first. Because of that, there aren’t new case numbers to report. 

However, there is an update on testing numbers and ventilator usage. There have been 40,681 tests in the San Antonio area, and the number of patients on ventilators has decreased “significantly” down to 14. With no new deaths, Nirenberg said, the decrease in ventilator usage is a good indicator.

“That means patients in the hospital have improved significantly,” he said.

Director of Neighborhood and Housing Services Veronica Soto said that housing assistance is available for San Antonio residents who need help with rent or mortgage payments. So far there are 7,300 applicants requesting half of the available money. With new applications coming everyday, she expects they will hit 10,000 next week.

6 p.m. —Watch today’s daily briefing

4 p.m. — City reactivates some committees

The San Antonio City Council will resume some committee meetings after suspending them at the start of the coronavirus crisis. Most of the committees will focus on getting the city ready for the post COVID-19 economy.

In March, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg suspended the council committees to focus full attention to the city’s pandemic response.

Council committees are used to refine most city ordinances and city policy before the full city council considers them.

In June, several of the council’s committees will resume via video conference.

Nirenberg informed the council that he is recreating committees to focus on workforce, economic development, small business, technology, neighborhood services and community health.

An intergovernmental relations committee will be made up of members of the San Antonio city council members and Bexar County Commissioners Court.

Other committees, including public safety and transportation, will not meet again until further notice.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines

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