Quarantine Diaries – Week 13

So. I didn’t plan to be writing this week. I said I was going to start grouping these into several weeks at a time. We were doing relatively well here, though the spike in numbers during Week 12 was alarming despite the city leaders saying that these were due to backlogged tests. Unfortunately, the numbers kept growing. And growing. And growing. Last night, during the second city covid brief that we’ve had since the daily briefs stopped, the head of Metro Health came right out and said it: We are in a spike and at the beginning of a second wave.

Honestly, it’s not much of a surprise. I saw the photos from Memorial Day, the gatherings at beaches and rivers and tourist areas. I cringed with each new restriction the governor lifted in May. I’ve seen businesses grow lax with masks, some that were doing well a month ago not caring so much if people are wearing them now. People got complacent, and distracted, and involved with other things. Covid doesn’t care. And now, we’re in a spike. This time, unfortunately, San Antonio isn’t in a position to do anything about it, because all of our authority has been stripped by the state. So here we go.

With all the bad news re: covid, this notice is especially important:  If your mental health is at a point where you cannot bear to hear more about quarantine stuff, skip to the bottom of this post for a list of positives and highlights and Nice Things. We all need some of that right now!

This week in numbers
We began the week at 3018 cases with 78 deaths. Week 12 had a massive 435 cases – our highest so far – but we were told the bulk of these were from state and local lab backups (due to universal testing of nursing homes throughout Texas). But as I said above, the numbers just kept rolling in.

  • Friday, June 5th: 3143, 78 deaths (+125 cases)
  • Saturday, June 6th: 3290, 78 deaths (+147)
  • Sunday, June 7th: 3311, 78 deaths (+21)
  • Monday, June 8th: 3333, 78 deaths (+22)
  • Tuesday, June 9th: 3518, 80 deaths (+180) <– No more backlog
  • Wednesday, June 10th: 3648, 80 deaths (+135)
  • Thursday, June 11th: 3840, 82 deaths (+192)

Altogether, we had 822 new cases this week and four new deaths. That’s almost double our previous highest week in terms of cases. Furthermore, during last night’s update, we were told that the last few days did not include any backlog. That means that in three days, we had 507 new cases – also higher than our previous highest week.

And it’s not just case numbers. In early April, we’d gotten hospitalizations down to around the high 70s/low 80s on average. Those numbers began to creep up in late May, and for the last few weeks, they’ve been skyrocketing. As of last night, we had 122 people in the hospital for covid with 54 in ICU. Both of those numbers are WAY up. The rest of our warning indicators in SA are also trending the wrong direction. Positivity rate (percentage of positive tests) has jumped up from last week. The epidemiological curve used to average daily cases based on date of first onset has gone from a downward trend to a neutral line, and we’ve been told that when the next batch of data goes through, it’ll be upward.

(hospitals as of 6/11)

It’s not just San Antonio. This is statewide (not surprised, given the governor’s orders). Daily cases in Texas are averaging 50+% more than they were a few weeks ago – in fact they just saw a jump from a previous daily high of 1940 up to over 2500 on 6/10, when it used to be news if they hit over 1000 several days in a row – and hospitalizations are up 36% since Memorial Day (as of June 9th – probably higher now). Health authorities in the large metro areas across the state have conferred and confirmed that they’re all seeing the same spike and upward trends as San Antonio. Unless people/government get their act together, this is going to get really, really bad.

This week in San Antonio
Our city leadership said at the end of our first 12 weeks dealing with COVID that we’d done a good job flattening the curve and were shifting into “repair the economy” mode. The shelter at home order expired and wasn’t renewed. I’ll be honest – the city leadership didn’t really have a choice in this matter with the governor taking control, and they certainly had other issues to tend to over the last couple weeks. But call it what you will, San Antonio has put forth a four-phase reopening plan for the little they can still control (aka city-owned properties and facilities). The library curbside opening (June 16) will be part of that, and city pools are set to open in early July (phase 3). Eventually, park playgrounds, basketball courts, etc will open in phase 4, but we don’t have a date for that yet. I don’t know if these dates/phases will change now that we’ve “officially” entered a spike/second wave.

A few points of interest outside our numbers this week: The local blood bank announced that from June 8 to August 31, anyone who donates blood will be eligible for a free covid antibody test. // HEB, our local grocery store chain, expanded its store hours (not all the way back to normal yet, though). // The Alon HEB, where my father and stepmother shop, disclosed that one of their employees was tested positive for COVID. Generally, HEB has been good about announcing when they’ve had employees test positive, which is good because state law says businesses are not required to disclose this at their establishments. !!! Ugh.

This week at home
Like the city, we’ve been shifting into longterm mode here, though we’re going about it a lot more carefully! Morrigan began working a full time summer job at Taco Bell (where they’re actually doing a great job taking care of their employees!) on Monday. My hiking group resumed hikes with a max of seven people per and all social distancing/mask rules in place. I had my first group hike with them on Friday and have several others lined up. Laurence and I signed up at Planet Fitness on the Sunday after reviewing their safety procedures and how crowded they were (aka not crowded at all) and have been going there to exercise now that it’s 100+ degrees out. I returned to my chiropractor for a second visit since quarantine began, and hesitantly (and after checking safety procedures) went in for a much-needed massage. Jason finished his dental procedures that started IN JANUARY finally. Gavroche is going in for his dental surgery today. Morrigan will see the eye doctor next week. One of these days – probably after this spike is under control – we might actually go get haircuts.

Again, we’re continuing to be careful. We scope out businesses before we use them and stick to those that are taking good care of their customers and employees. We consolidate errands and try to go out as few times as possible. Jason remains our household designated grocery shopper to protect as many HEB employees as possible. We always use masks in situations where social distancing isn’t possible, and we avoid crowded places. If we want to eat out, we use curbside pickup, and we’ve been trying to patronize as many local small businesses – especially black-owned businesses – as we can. Sadly, some of our favorites (like Instant Donuts) are permanently closed. (They made the BEST donuts and kolaches, and the family who owned it were so nice. Boo.) But we do what we can. And if things get too bad out there again, we’ll shut even that down. This is the new reality. The disease isn’t going away any time soon, and people need to adjust or it’s just going to keep getting worse.

Positives and Highlights and Nice Things
Looking back on the week, I realize that quite a lot of stuff happened, much of it good. I’m still feeling a lot of quarantine-fatigue and heat-depression (it got up to 105 here one day this week!), and I would give just about anything to have one day home alone in silence. But all in all, I’m okay. We’re okay. Happy things:

  • first group hike since March
  • ordering fun things from small online businesses like Lipslut and Superfit Hero
  • printing photos for several photo frames that I’ve needed to fill for MONTHS
  • Ash gained a little weight this week, getting up to 10.8 lbs for the first time since he got sick in December!
  • trying out the Eritrean-Ethiopian restaurant here in SA (fairly new, and delicious!)
  • conquering my fear of running on the treadmill in public
  • my friend Stephanie closed on her new house and became a first-time homeowner!
  • discovering a fun visualization for a mileage goal (color in the numbers/miles shoe)
  • a fun and silly new patchwork bucket hat
  • Ambrose made us crepes with homemade lemon curd for dinner one night
  • zuppa inglese from a local small business (pictured above)
  • watching all the changes coming in wake of the protests worldwide, and doing all the things I can do from home to help

Y’all – I don’t know what’s going to happen this week. I don’t know if it’ll be like this week, so much stuffed into it that I need to post again on Friday rather than grouping together several weeks of quarantine diaries. I’m going to take this one as it comes and just see what feels best at the end of Week 14. Hope you’re all doing well. So many states have cases back on the rise again. Please keep yourselves safe!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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6 Responses to Quarantine Diaries – Week 13

  1. It’s an impossible situation – the UK economy shrank by 24% in April, the biggest dip in recorded history, so we really need to get things opened up again before businesses close permanently and jobs are lost.

    People don’t help, though! There’s a small lake near us, and there are signs up everywhere asking everyone to walk round it anti-clockwise, so that you don’t keep crossing on the path. But no, a load of people are still walking round it clockwise!

    The zuppa inglese looks amazing :-).


    • Amanda says:

      I really wish masks hadn’t become a political issue. If everyone was just keeping their distance a little and wearing their masks, we would be okay! There was an incident about a month ago where two employees at a hair salon came to work even though they were symptomatic covid carriers. (Not here, but in another state.) Between the two of them, they exposed 140 clients and 46 coworkers to covid. Yesterday, a report came out that NONE of the people they exposed came down with the virus. Because those two employees wore masks the entire time. This is what masks can do to help. I get that not everyone can wear them, but most people who aren’t are just dick-wagging and yelling that covid is a conspiracy and the government isn’t the boss of them, like toddlers. And that’s why we’re getting a second wave. These people are going to cause us to shut down all the businesses again and make the economy worse. No one wants that, and these businesses SHOULD be able to open with proper precautions. But there’s a giant percentage of Americans that refuse to take those precautions. Ugh.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. gricel d. says:

    We were hearing the same excuse re: Florida’s sudden increase in cases. They were saying it was old data from the private labs, but then we had three days straight with more than 1000 cases recorded. And that’s only a look at the past. It took 10 days for me to get my results. At best, we’re seeing a reflection of infections that started two weeks ago.


    • Amanda says:

      Our local news briefs have been giving regular updates on the caseloads backed up at labs. We got enough local testing capacity that there were no backlogs and people were getting their results within 24 hours at one point. But then the state mandated universal testing of all nursing and care homes, so the labs got backlogged statewide. But honestly, when they started talking about the backlog coming in, I didn’t believe that accounted for ALL of the increase. When you suddenly go from averaging 40 or fewer cases per day, with some days only around 10, and then you get 150+ for three weeks in a row? Um, that’s not just backlog. I’m just glad that finally the leader of metro health refused to downplay it and came straight out to say we were in a spike. She’s not a politician, and she didn’t mince words.


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