A San Antonio resident gets her jab at a mass vaccination site earlier this year.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg warned during a Wednesday press briefing that the area's COVID-19 threat level has risen from "moderate" to "severe" as hospitalizations continue to swell.
As of Wednesday, 920 people were hospitalized in the San Antonio with COVID-19, up from 620 a week prior, Nirenberg said. As a result hospitals are pushing back elective surgeries.
Some 88% of those now under hospital haven't been vaccinated, the mayor added, displaying a graph contrasting a steep spike in hospitalizations by those who haven't been inoculated and a much lower curve for those who have.
"For anyone who says the vaccine doesn't matter, that it doesn't work, take a look at that graph," Nirenberg said. "You see how dramatically the infection rate has jumped for folks who are not getting vaccinated in our community."
City of San Antonio
This graph contrasts the number of San Antonio-area COVID-19 infections between the vaccinated, shown in red, and the unvaccinated, shown in blue.
The seven-day moving average for new cases in the San Antonio area now stands at 1,146, Nirenberg added, a 422-case jump in less than a week. What's more, local health officials reported 12 new deaths and are investigating 62 others. None of the 12 deceased people had been vaccinated.
During the briefing, local officials also cautioned that the delta variant, which now accounts for four out of every five local cases, appears to be affecting children more aggressively that earlier variants.
"This is different. This delta variant is different," said Dr. Charles Hankins, senior vice president of pediatrics of CHRISTUS Health. "If parents and those 12 and up can get vaccinated, we can protect those who aren't old enough to get vaccinated."
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said there's now an 11 month old under hospital care after contracting the coronavirus — a first locally. Hankins said a four-year-old child is now being treated on a ventilator.
"Mask up, get the vaccine, and it's so easy to do," Wolff said. "If you have any
concern about your fellow citizens and the children who are going to be going back to school, I urge you to do that."
During the briefing, both Nirenberg and Wolff vented their frustration over recent orders by Gov. Greg Abbott blocking municipalities from issuing mask mandates and threatening to remove officeholders who try to impose them.
"The only person who needs to be removed from office is the governor," Wolff said.
NOTE: This story was corrected to include the current title for Dr. Charles Hankins.
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