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Throughout the summer, San Antonio and Bexar County have seen a slow but steady rise in the number of reported COVID-19 cases, indicating the virus still poses a risk to the public.
The same trend has been playing out across Texas and nationally.
While the number of new cases has edged up locally, the totals are nowhere near as high as they were last summer, and certainly not approaching the record-breaking totals recorded in January 2022.
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“It is not unusual to see a summer surge,” San Antonio Metropolitan Health District officials said in a statement Monday. “Case numbers are not as high compared to previous years. Although there is a steady increase, hospital admissions continue to be low in our community.”
In a file photo: Eboni Windom, a respiratory therapist at Texas Vista Medical Center, attends to a COVID patient in the ICU.
A low hospitalization rate means less than 10 new COVID-related hospital admissions per 100,000 people.
The latest strain of the virus is closely related to the Omicron strains that have been circulating since early 2022, Metro Health reported.
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Shawn Berry returns his swab after testing himself at the Community Labs COVID-19 testing site at Alamo Colleges District Support Operations in San Antonio, Texas, on April 29, 2022. Community Labs is closings its last public testing locations at the end of the day today.
Ezra Von Allnen 4, reacts to getting a COVID vaccine from University Health’s Medical Assistant Michelle Robledo during a vaccination clinic on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s sponsored by University Health at their Robert B. Green campus downtown. Comforting Ezra is his mother, Lauren Von Allnen.
Debra Martinez swabs her nose at the Community Labs COVID-19 testing site at Alamo Colleges district support headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, on April 29, 2022. Community Labs is closings its last public testing locations at the end of the day today.
“It is unclear why COVID cases are going up, but an increase in traveling and crowds gathering indoors could be some factors for the spread of the virus,” Metro Health officials said. “This slight uptick is a reminder that COVID-19 is still in our community, and we should take preventive measures, such as making sure we are up to date with our vaccinations.”
Reported COVID cases have more than doubled since mid-July, according to Metro Health.
For the week ending Aug. 8, an increase of 1,227 diagnosed COVID cases in San Antonio and Bexar County was reported to the public health agency. That’s the latest data available.
The spike that week was the highest reported since February.
The weekly surge eclipses the number reported for the week ending Aug. 1, when Metro Health recorded 916 new cases.
The week of July 5 saw 331 new cases, and the COVID infection rate climbed throughout the month.
But those numbers are far below those seen in July 2022 when more than 6,000 new COVID cases were being recorded each week.
None of those statistics include patients who tested positive for the virus at home without going to a doctor’s office, a clinic or a hospital.
For patients who test positive for COVID at home, Metro Health asks that they stay home for at least five days — regardless of their vaccination status — and that they isolate themselves or wear a high-quality mask while around others in their household. Patients should wear the mask around their family and in public for 10 days after their first positive test.
Across Texas, 11,826 probable and confirmed COVID cases were reported between July 30 and Aug. 5 to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the latest data available. That’s an increase of 2,268 diagnosed COVID cases from the previous week.
It’s also more than double the number of diagnosed COVID infections reported statewide for the week of July 9 to 15, which totaled 5,361 cases.
Only 3.3 percent of Texans, or 964,960 people, were up to date on their COVID vaccinations as of July 31, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is the lowest percentage among the states for which data was available.
Staff writer Libby Seline contributed to this article.
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