SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – San Antonio Metro Health reported 5,501 additional COVID-19 cases in Bexar County at Thursday, but only 691 were from the previous 24 hours. The rest of the new cases were the result of a backlog in getting results from the State.
Dr. Colleen Bridger, assistant city manager and interim director of Metro Health attributes the problem to complications with a new process that involves testing labs sending results to the State of Texas, which then sends them to Metro Health.
“We have worked out the kinks in the reporting process,” said Bridger. “The important thing to note is that the backlog did not affect patient notification. All of the patients who tested positive were notified by the lab within three or four days, so this backlog did not affect patients learning their test results.”
With the 5,501 additional cases, Bexar County now has 27,047 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March.
At the request of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Metro Health has begun to report confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases separately. Of the overall total, 3,867 are probable. Those are positive test results from Antigen tests, which are considered “probable,” as opposed to positive test results from PCR tests, which are considered “confirmed.” The CDC includes both in its reporting of COVID-19 cases, but the State does not. This week, the State removed more than 3,400 cases reported by San Antonio Metro Health from its COVID-19 tally because it does not report probable cases.
“Probable cases do not mean ‘maybe’ cases of COVID-19. Antigen tests are FDA approved, and positive tests are highly accurate,” said Bridger.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg told reporters at Thursday’s briefing that those people have COVID-19 and they should be counted.
“If you have tested positive in the city of San Antonio through an antigen test or a PCR test, you have COVID. You should be counted,” Nirenberg said.
Some people accuse city officials of trying to inflate the numbers by reporting the probable cases, but Nirenberg thinks it’s the other way around.
“The fact that we have some people at the state and federal level who are questioning whether or not we should count that test (antigen) makes it seem like some people at the state and federal level are trying to suppress just how bad this COVID pandemic is,” the mayor said.
As of Thursday, 1,202 coronavirus patients were in hospitals, which was slightly lower than the day before. Of those, 430 were in intensive care, and 277 were on ventilators. That leaves 46 percent of ventilators and 12 percent of staffed hospital beds available.
Twenty-one coronavirus-related deaths were reported Thursday, bringing the total to 229. Ten of the latest victims were from nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Ages ranged from the 20s to the 90s.