San Antonio sees nearly three-fold increase in COVID-19 cases

This story was updated at 4:40 p.m. to include updated figures of positive cases courtesy of Metro Health. 

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District is urging residents to take extra precautions before starting New Year’s celebrations as the Omicron variant of  COVID-19 continues its holiday surge.

According to Metro Health, there has been an “approximately three-fold increase in COVID-19 cases.”

On December 23, the health district reported a daily increase of 376 positive cases, according to the city’s COVID-19 surveillance dashboard. Metro Health told KTSA News today that 957 new cases were reported on Sunday, 828 new cases on Monday and 424 new cases yesterday.

Metro Health Public Information Officer Cleo Garcia noted the increase may be partially due to back logged cases from the previous week.

The Texas Department of State Health Services said the Omicron variant accounted for approximately 25% of cases state-wide the week of December 11, and a week later it nearly quadrupled to approximately 85% of COVID-19 cases. Metro Health notes a similar trend is expected in the Alamo City.

“The Omicron variant is spreading in our community, but we have the necessary tools to fight the virus and ring in 2022 in a safer way,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “Get vaccinated, get your booster shot and mask up. If you’re planning to meet up with those outside your household, consider using a self-test or getting tested. By practicing these tried-and-true health measures, we can all kick off 2022 in a safer way.”

The Omicron variant is reportedly more highly transmissible than Delta or other variants of the virus.

“Get vaccinated as soon as possible if you are not already to help prevent infection from COVID-19 and spreading it to others,” Metro Health Director Claude A. Jacob said. “Get a booster dose if you are eligible. Getting vaccinated can help prevent serious illness or hospitalization, and people who have breakthrough cases are much more likely to only have mild or no symptoms.”

Metro Health also recommends that people wear a mask in shared public spaces regardless of vaccination status.

“It can’t be stressed enough that if you are feeling ill even if you think it’s just allergies, stay home and get tested,” Jacob said.

Officials said that even if you have a negative self-test, you should test yourself again after at least 24 hours to ensure you are not infected.

The CDC updated guidance this week on isolation and quarantine for asymptomatic individuals down to five days followed by five days of wearing a mask when in shared public spaces.

“The City of San Antonio operates several free test sites and vaccination clinics in the community. We are monitoring the conditions closely and will continue to follow the best practices set by the CDC and Metro Health,” City Manager Erik Walsh said. “If you need assistance accessing test or vaccine services, please call 311; option 8. Let’s all have a safe start to the new year.”

The Metro Health Alamodome Drive-Thru Clinic will be open tomorrow from noon to 8 p.m. and will be closed Friday. Regular hours will resume next week to be open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m.

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