SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News)- San Antonio and Bexar County officials issued a Wireless Emergency Alert Tuesday evening as a record number of 1,717 new COVID-19 cases were reported. The WEA urged area residents to protect themselves and others from the virus by staying home, avoiding non-essential outings, wearing masks and social distancing.
The message also noted that the spread of coronavirus cases is causing high stress on hospitals with the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations topping 900.
“With COVID-19 cases increasing in our community at an alarming rate, it is crucial to stay disciplined to beat the virus,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “The alert is a plea for everyone to slow the spread and celebrate the winter holidays responsibly and only with those in your immediate household. This is not the year to host the big gathering or the tamalada.”
Local health officials say more than half of COVID-19 cases in Bexar County were contracted because the individuals were found to be close contacts of a confirmed positive case. Close contacts are people who were within six-feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes or more.
“Our positivity and hospitalization rates are continuing to rise. We’re in trouble, Bexar County. I am pleading with all of you as we start the holidays. Please celebrate only with those in your immediate family and household. This virus spreads so easily between people. We want everyone to enjoy a very merry holiday season but please do it safely. Do not let your guard or your mask down,” said Judge Nelson Wolff.
Area residents are urged to avoid large gatherings, especially if they are indoors in a space with poor ventilation.
Tips for reducing exposure to COVID-19, including guidelines for safe family and friends gatherings to minimize exposure, can be found here: https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/What-YOU-Can-Do/Stay-Safe-and-Celebrate
The region has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations following the Thanksgiving holiday. Hospital systems currently have capacity, but the community needs to slow the spread of the virus so that hospitals can keep up.