Metro Health Director: ‘We are entering a second wave’ as coronavirus numbers spike

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – There’s been some speculation about a “second wave” of  coronavirus coming in November, but San Antonio Metro Health Director Dawn Emerick says we’re already there.

“We are entering a second wave,” Emerick  declared after Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced that there were 192 new coronavirus cases in San Antonio Thursday.  That brings the total to 3,840 since the city started keeping track in mid-March.

“Something is happening in our community,” said Emerick.  “It’s not just San Antonio, it is also in some of the other major cities in Texas.”

She says the timeline coincides with the Memorial Day Weekend when families and friends gathered in large crowds, and the recent opening of  more businesses and activities in Texas.

“We are entering a second wave,  so we have to be diligent in some of those non-pharmaceutical interventions that we’ve been talking about for the last four months,”she said.

Emerick said the spike we’re seeing is not  from the protests.  The results of people gathering in those large crowds will surface in the next couple of weeks.

Nirenberg says people seem to have fallen into a false sense of security. COVID-19 isn’t topping the news as it was in March and April, but the pandemic continues.

“We’re proud of our community, those who are taking it seriously,   because you’re allowing us to get back to work and open our economy,” said Nirenberg.

He said those who are not following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are putting themselves and others at risk, and could force another shutdown.

“We don’t want to have to go back to restrictions.  It would be devastating, economically and health wise, for us to do that,” said Nirenberg.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff blames Gov. Abbott, in part, for the spike because he prevented cities and counties from mandating face coverings when social distancing is not  possible.  In his state orders, Abbott recommended, but did not mandate, the wearing of masks.

“If he had not done that, I don’t think we’d be where we are today,” said Wolff. “We had a fine associated with not wearing the face mask when you were supposed to be wearing it and the governor just stripped that away, said Wolff. “If he had not done that, I don’t think we’d be where we are today,” said Wolff.

Two more coronavirus-related deaths Thursday brought the total to 82.  A Hispanic man in his 70s and  an Anglo man in his 80s were the latest victims.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals climbed to 122, and 25 are on ventilators.

Emerick stressed the importance of  hand washing and wearing face coverings when social distancing is not possible.

“It’s the best way of mitigating the spread, in addition to social distancing,” she said.

San Antonio Metro Health issued a health directive Thursday with guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and she pleaded with the public to adhere to the guidelines.

People who have underlying health problems, such as diabetes or hypertension, should be extremely cautious, as well as those who are over 65.

Stay home if you’re sick. Emerick says the spike in positive cases they’re seeing now are people who have symptoms. If you’re ill, try to isolate yourself to keep from spreading the virus.  Visitors are not allowed at nursing home.

The health directive also says all  labs must report COVID-19 test results to Metro Health so that they can have accurate numbers to report to the community.

Emerick expressed disappointment with people who test positive, but don’t return their phone calls. She says the investigation and contact tracing are very important in order to keep the virus from spreading.

Free COVID-19 testing is still available.   You can call 3-1-1 for more information.  Emerick and Nirenberg said they’ve been tested.  The mayor said he’s okay.




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