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'It's insidious' — coronavirus claims six more lives in San Antonio

'It's insidious' — coronavirus claims six more lives in San Antonio

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Seventy percent of those hospitalized in San Antonio with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic had underlying medical conditions.

Of those patients, 53 percent had diabetes. Heart disease and obesity also were common.

Hispanics have been disproportionately affected: They account for 61 percent of Bexar County’s population, but 75 percent of coronavirus cases.

These were some of the salient points from a Metropolitan Health District report cited by Mayor Ron Nirenberg on Tuesday during his daily briefing on the pandemic.

On ExpressNews.com: Live updates on COVID-19 in San Antonio

The epidemiology report analyzed COVID-19 data for Bexar County through the end of September. The full report will be released later this week.

“This virus is serious,” Nirenberg said. “It’s dangerous, it’s insidious and we have to continue to work together to protect one another from it.”

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the findings underscore the need to promote healthier lifestyles, including regular exercise and sound diet, to prevent underlying conditions from developing.

“Doctors can’t cure everything,” Wolff said during the briefing. “We’ve got to be helpful to them also.”

On ExpressNews.com: Where to get tested for COVID-19 in San Antonio

To date, one in five COVID-19 cases in Bexar County has involved a person in his or her 20s.

Of those who grew sick enough to be hospitalized, one in five was between the ages of 18 and 40.

Of those infected, 97 percent are thought to have recovered eventually, Nirenberg said, citing the epidemiology report. But 20 percent of hospitalizations have resulted in death, he added.

On ExpressNews.com: COVID-19 by the numbers in San Antonio, Texas and the U.S.

Not everyone who has the virus knows it. Of the county’s nearly 60,000 cases, 82 percent experienced symptoms, officials reported.

The threat posed by asymptomatic “silent spreaders” has prompted the city to offer free testing for symptom-free people in partnership with Community Labs, a nonprofit created by area philanthropists, including former Rackspace Technology CEO Graham Weston.

New deaths

Nirenberg shared findings from the epidemiology report on a day when Metro Health reported six more COVID-19 deaths and 172 new cases.

On ExpressNews.com: 18 hours in a COVID-19 intensive care unit

The deaths brought Bexar County’s fatality toll since the start of the pandemic to 1,207.

The deaths occurred between Oct. 3 and Oct. 9, and each of the victims had underlying conditions, officials said.

Two of the deaths occurred in group settings — a Hispanic woman in her 70s who lived at Retama Manor West and an Anglo man in his 70s who lived at Meridian Care Monte Vista.

The remaining four victims were a Hispanic woman in her 50s, a Hispanic woman in her 60s, a Hispanic man in his 80s and a woman in her 30s whose ethnicity was not identified.

San Antonio hospitals were caring for 190 coronavirus patients Tuesday, up six from the previous day. Seventy-eight were in intensive care — the same as Monday — and 39 were on ventilators, one fewer than the day before.

‘Very big election’

On Tuesday, the first day of early voting in Texas, thousands of voters waited in long lines to cast ballots. Many wore masks and kept their distance from one another.

“It takes a while … because you’ve got to vote individually,” Wolff said. “And we’ve got to comply with all the things we’ve set in place to protect each other with COVID.

“It’s going to be a very big election, and one that it is difficult to get everybody in and out (of polling places) right away, but, by gosh, people are believing in their vote and they’re taking their time to go do it.”

Wolff said he was confident the lines at voting sites would become more manageable as election officials make adjustments to handle the turnout.

“The system will get better as we move along,” he said.

Area reports

Comal County reported 27 additional coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the county’s total to 3,595.

Some 3,371 of those patients have recovered, officials said.

Comal County hospitals were treating 11 coronavirus patients Tuesday. Three were in intensive care and two were on ventilators.

With no new deaths reported Tuesday, the county’s COVID-19 fatality toll stood at 120.

Liz Hardaway is a staff writer covering San Antonio government and politics. To read more from Liz, become a subscriber. liz.hardaway@hearst.com | Twitter: @liz_hardaway

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