Metro Health lowers Bexar County COVID-19 risk level to “mild”

Despite improving numbers, doctors say the coming weeks are vital to preventing a wave of vacations. Children will play an important mitigating role.

SAN ANTONIO – For the first time since July 20, Metro Health considers the COVID-19 threat in Bexar County to be “slight”.

The public health authority lowered the risk level to “moderate” on Tuesday, moving the county from code yellow to code green.

“Good numbers to report, but we’re not done with this,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “Please continue to be vigilant.”

There were nearly 700 fewer COVID-19 patients in the hospital on Wednesday compared to a month ago, according to data from Metro Health. Less than 5% of people who take a COVID-19 test are actually positive.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows new hospital admissions in Bexar County are down 11% from last week.

The improvement comes at a critical time before the holidays. Last year, early October marked the start of San Antonio’s most severe COVID-19 wave.

“We want these numbers to be as low as possible and infection rates as low as possible,” Nirenberg said.

Doctors say it’s especially important to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 now to better prepare the community for what is sure to be a busy holiday season.

“People are going to liberalize a bit,” said Dr. Norm Christopher, chief medical officer of the San Antonio Children’s Hospital. “I suspect, however, that common sense will prevail. I think there will be rallies but I think people understand that these measures have been effective.”

Christopher notes that children will play a unique role in mitigation this year. Children are more at risk today than they were last year because they have started to learn in person again.

However, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to expand access to vaccines to children as young as 5 years old in the coming weeks.

Christopher says parents should consult their pediatricians, but he is “still biased” in favor of recommending the vaccine.

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