SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News)- Despite an increase in testing for COVID-19, there were only 22 new cases reported Tuesday in Bexar County.
That brings the total number of positive cases reported so far to 1,942, and the number of those who have recovered surpassed 1,000. Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced that 1,028, or 53% of those who tested positive, have recovered.
The mayor said Stay Home orders, which include wearing masks and social distancing, have saved lives and kept the local coronavirus numbers from skyrocketing.
Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff took aim at Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who sent a letter blasting San Antonio and the county for implementing restrictions, which he claims go too far.
“The mayor and I received a love letter from the attorney general criticizing the safety measures that we have put in place to save peoples’ lives here in San Antonio,” said Wolff.
Nirenberg called the letter a “cheap political headline.” He said they have no conflict with Governor Greg Abbott and have been in “full compliance” with his orders ,”even though we are more descriptive at times.” He said the conflict is with Paxton.
“It’s frustrating that a letter from the attorney general, which is a political letter from a politician, is reported as fact,” said the mayor. “The fact is, our orders have been in compliance with the governor’s from day one.”
“Although your orders ‘require’ individuals to wear masks when they leave their home, they are free to choose whether to wear one or not,” Paxton wrote in his letter.
Abbott has stated that masks are recommended, but not required, and he has ordered that no jail time or fines be imposed for not wearing face coverings. San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia said there are no penalties for not wearing masks in public in the local orders.
Paxton also took exception to the city requiring business owners to supply their employees with masks if their jobs require them to come in contact with the public or if social distancing is not possible.
“Our local orders have been consistent with the governor’s order, and to the extent we need to clarify language or add language that makes that even more abundantly clear, we’ll do that, but we’re not here to pick any fights,” said Segovia. Wolff interrupted and said,”Hey, he (Paxton) picked the fight, not us.” Let’s make that real clear.”
Paxton’s letter also threatened legal action challenging “these unconstitutional and unlawful restrictions.” Similar letters were sent to Travis County, Austin and Dallas.
“On the merits, we’re not concerned, but it doesn’t stop the AG from seeking a cheap political headline,” said Nirenberg. “This not unlike what we’ve seen from the AG recently, firing off a political letter like this.”