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Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall being prepared as possible coronavirus field hospital

Coronavirus Testing Site-Freeman Coliseum/Photo-Courtesy of Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) -A Freeman Coliseum Expo Hall is being prepared as an alternative care facility to accommodate a possible surge of coronavirus patients.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff says they have 250 beds in Exhibit Hall A, and it will be ready in a few days to handle a possible surge in COVID-19 patients, if necessary. Another Expo Hall already is being used as a pre-approved coronavirus testing site.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced Monday that there have been six coronavirus-related deaths in San Antonio and Bexar County.  The most recent was a man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions. He passed away at Northeast Methodist Hospital.

As of Monday evening there were 168 confirmed cases of COVID-19.  Most are travel-related or close contact with someone who recently traveled, but the area also is seeing a rise in the number of community transmission cases, meaning the source of the infection is unknown. That number stands at 57.

“If you weren’t already convinced, I hope the growing number of cases and casualties are enough to prove to you that this pandemic is extremely dangerous — not just in California or .New York, but here in San Antonio,” said Nirenberg. “The social distancing and stay-at-home orders are designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus and prevent our health care providers from being overwhelmed by too many people getting sick simultaneously.”

Forty two patients are hospitalized.  Thirteen are in intensive care, and another 11 are on ventilators.  Of  the 168 confirmed cases, 44 patients have made a full recovery.

Nirenberg said a San Antonio police officer who tested positive for COVID-19 had recently traveled.  He’s in self-isolation at home, and two other officers who had close contact with him are quarantined.

“We want all of our first responders to know how grateful we are for their service and their sacrifice, and that’s why we all remain committed to the stay-at-home orders,” said Nirenberg.

Wolff announced a response initiative to deal with the challenges brought on by the coronavirus.  Local philanthropist and civic leader Gordon Hartman, founder of Morgan’s Wonderland,  has been tapped to oversee the COVID-19 Community Action Collaboration.

“There are three major issues that we’re going to be working on very hard and each one of these will be chaired by a commissioner and a council person,” said Wolff.

One task force will deal with food security and shelter, another will focus on business and employment, and the third  will identify local, state and federal resources to help the community recover.



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