Quarantine Diaries – Week 16

Oh y’all, I can’t tell you how sad I am that I’m still needing to track this stuff on a weekly basis. It has gotten so bad that I’ve changed back to my original daily format, because my little sectional summaries just aren’t big enough to hold all of what’s happening. San Antonio is going backwards, no control, skyrocketing toward a terrifying threshold that will leave us vulnerable and exposed. Right now, I’m in a relatively safe space with my two younger children, but I’m still following all this stuff in San Antonio, where the rest of my family, plus extended family and so many friends, are in danger.

Anyway: 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!

-Friday, June 26th:
Local count: 8857 (+405), 105 deaths. It was a bit of a shocker day. The governor finally took some minor action, closing down bars across the state and cutting restaurant capacity from 75% to 50%. He also made the first overtures toward giving authority back to local areas with regards to their covid plans, though I don’t know how far that will actually extend. They did decide not to open pools this week as originally planned, and are limiting gatherings in city parks to 10. Then out of nowhere, the head of our Metro Health department resigned. We don’t have reasons, though statements released do say it was her decision, without pressure from Metro Health. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was too tired, frustrated, or angry to continue under our current circumstances. The last time she appeared on the daily brief, she was in tears asking people to wear masks please. // At home, we made the decision for Laurence, Ambrose, and me to travel to WI, and began to prep for that trip. Sadly, we heard that another 14 employees from HEB tested positive, and for the first time, one of those was from our local HEB. So we’re taking even more precautions than before. Today’s photo is of bold lipstick, a form of personal empowerment because I do not handle sudden changes in plans very well and I needed bolstering!

-Saturday, June 27th:
Local count: 9652 (+795), 107 deaths. Alert came out over our phones at 7pm warning us all to stay home due to the covid health emergency. We’ve all known things were getting bad again, but this is skyrocketing. And people have started the whole hoarding thing again, so HEB has started limiting toilet paper and paper good purchases again. Oh, people. You won’t wear masks but you’ll buy ten years’ worth of toilet paper. Sigh. In any case, we made the very quick decision to move the Wisconsin trip up from Monday to Sunday. Everything was in chaos.

-Sunday, June 28th:
Local count: 10,147 (+495), 109 deaths. We’ve officially passed the 10k mark for cases. I spent the day traveling north with my two younger boys, making it to Olathe, KS for our first day. Various news stories out of San Antonio included several museums in SA closing and more food-hoarding (sigh). Personal experience on the road led me to realize that while we have a major anti-mask situation in SA, it’s nothing compared to a lot of places. We stopped one place for gas in Oklahoma, and there were two other people wearing masks besides us. Employees had noses and parts of their mouths exposed. In Kansas, the employees didn’t even bother with masks, and we were literally the only masked folks everywhere we went. And frankly, in a hotel or service situation, if you’re not wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic, I’m a bit offended. Clearly, you don’t care about the customers enough to keep them safe from you, and that doesn’t say much for your service skills. Ugh. Also, I’m disturbed by the number of businesses capitalizing on pandemic rhetoric. “Flatten your curves” weight loss. “We practice high deductible distancing” lenders. Just no.

-Monday, June 29th:
Local count: 10,797 (+650), 109 deaths. So much news today on both a city-level and personal-level. In San Antonio, so many industries are getting rapidly expanding numbers of cases (HEB, the police, the fire department and paramedics, a resurgence at the jail, the Air Force basic trainees, staff and children at county juvenile facilities…) We got new data showing our doubling rate has dropped to 11 days, and our positivity rate is now over 20%. One in every four people admitted into the hospitals are for covid, and the number of patients is starting to outpace the number of available beds. In some hospitals, there are people waiting in lines at the ER for beds to open up. Meanwhile, there is some good news, too. USAA (where Jason works) says that none of their employees will come back into the office until 2021 at very earliest. Many school districts, including ours, has closed all summer strength and conditioning camps for sports, plus city library facilities that operate out of school district buildings. San Antonio became the first city to begin using oral swabs for covid-testing, which allow for less contact between people. And the governor got the Prumpster to extend federal funding for covid testing in TX.

That’s just the local news. On a personal level, this was a very difficult day. Jason called me when we were about two hours away from our destination in Wisconsin. Morrigan had suddenly come down with a bad cough and a 102 fever. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn’t have been worrying, especially with all the Saharan dust in the air. But then there was covid. They went to urgent care, where they were told to wait in the car (in 100+ degree temps) in the parking lot until Morrigan was called in, which could be up to five hours later. Oy. He ended up getting called in only two hours later, but still. They took a swab and apparently had some rapid response tests, because fifteen minutes later they told him that he was negative. But they also said to quarantine for 10 days just in case it was a false negative (20% chance). So up in the north of the country, we are also quarantining very carefully for at least 10 days. Just in case. I’m really glad the test was negative, even if there’s a possibility of being wrong. I can’t tell you just how awful it felt to simultaneously be driving toward family members potentially carrying covid AND being thousands of miles away from my child who might have covid. This is the nightmare right now.

-Tuesday, June 30th:
Local count: 12,065 (+1268), 110 deaths. We reached 1000 cases in San Antonio on April 19th, 5.5 weeks after our first case arrived, and today we had more than that number in a single day. It took us until April 27th to get to a total case number as high as our day was today. Oy. So the city decided to make all businesses ask people health questions on entering, as well as taking customer temps. I don’t think that’ll work well, but hey. The governor was supposed to make an announcement today but postponed it (for the second time). Let’s all hope it’s good news. In the meantime, I continue to worry from up north, where I wore a mask pretty much all day, because safety. (See their attitude up here in today’s picture.) Morrigan is still sick, and honestly, Jason and I have been discussing the feasibility of him going back to work at all while using our car and living in our house. It’s just not safe for any of us, and we have more than one person to think about. He doesn’t NEED the money.

-Wednesday, July 1st:
Local count: 12,504 (+439), 111 deaths. The city rolled back the questioning/temp checks for businesses, because it was pointed out that the plan was absolutely unfeasible (yup). Instead, they have to display a list of covid-symptoms, which seems pointless. Everyone knows what they are by now! Meanwhile, the governor is still postponing his announcement that was supposed to come days ago, and Texas as a state surged up another 7000 cases. We’ve been told point-blank that San Antonio is on a steeper curve than Italy was in the worst of times. // It was another difficult personal day. My good friend Natalie, who moved to San Antonio with her husband last summer to help take care of her father (cancer), had to call EMS to take her father to the hospital with covid symptoms. He tested positive. With several underlying conditions and being in his 80s, there’s a good chance he won’t make it through this. Additionally, while her test came back negative, we have yet to hear about her husband’s (he has symptoms), and neither her mother nor her severely autistic brother have been able to get appointments to be tested despite being symptomatic also. It feels so helpless to be so far away from people I love who are suffering, and to know that even if I was still in SA, I couldn’t do anything to help her family right now. (pic is me and Nat in the spring of 1996)

-Thursday, July 2nd:
Local count: 12,878 (+374), 115 deaths. Hallelujah, the governor FINALLY put in a mandatory mask order in all TX counties with at least 20 cases (nearly all of them). Texas surged up another 8k cases after the 7k yesterday. A bunch of city and hospital officials in SA did a midday brief to discuss the timeline of this, and how the surge began happening exactly two weeks after Memorial Day. They’re (rightly) concerned because this weekend is Independence Day weekend and has the potential to cause another spike. But all the parks are being closed by the city, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 10, and now people have to wear masks, so please oh please let there not be another spike. Our hospitals are already near capacity. // One of my “friends” decided to argue with me that I have no right to be concerned about San Antonio anymore because I’ve left. WTF? Bye, lady! Morrigan has officially been furloughed by Taco Bell, allowed to come back whenever the covid situation is safe (they didn’t want him to resign as originally planned). He also got new guidelines from the housing department at KU, because they’re still planning to open to students in August, with a hybrid situation depending on individual teachers/classes. Natalie’s brother finally got his covid test, though no one has results yet, and she may need to get retested because she’s starting to get symptoms. It’s a mess.

Graphs above are daily and weekly cases/deaths since March 13th. This is where we’re at. 4426 cases this week – daily average now 632 – and 11 deaths. June wrapped up with a total of 9235 of our 12065 cases (June 30th), a full 77% of our numbers. It’s insane, and I’m scared to death for all my friends and family, and feel simultaneously relieved and guilty to be so far away.

Positives and Highlights and Nice Things
I spent several days either traveling or preparing to travel early in the week and didn’t really keep track of things in that time. But I’ve been trying to look at those nice things since then!

  • HEB had masks for sale, so we could stock up for splitting the family into two different states, plus then my sis-in-law made me the one pictured above!
  • Old Dutch dill pickle chips, as well as other touchstones of being in the north again (Perkins, Culvers, Pizza Ranch, etc)
  • Jason made us gf lemon chocolate chip muffins for our trip
  • we made it safely to WI, and then got to see my in-laws and my sis-in-law, plus all the puppies!
  • fresh strawberries from my MIL’s garden
  • my sis-in-law made me a couple great bags from one of my favorite fabrics ever!
  • a giant tree branch broke off a tree here, but thankfully missed my car by about two feet !!!
  • absolutely beautiful orange-and purple lilies, and night sky petunias, and so many other flowers/plants I don’t usually see in TX
  • I read an amazing book (The Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson)
  • the RLGS podcast called out my name for patreon subscriptions, and argued about how it was pronounced (neither option was correct – my name is just weird!)
  • started my new GGS program, plus I got to go out running for what feels like the first time in ages!

How has your week gone?

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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12 Responses to Quarantine Diaries – Week 16

  1. curlygeek04 says:

    I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through in Texas, and hope your family is okay! And thanks for sharing some positives! Enjoy your visit in Wisconsin. I should have been in Wisconsin myself for July 4th, visiting my sister. Sigh.


  2. Karen K. says:

    Any friend who says you have no right to be concerned about Texas is not someone you want for a friend. I left Texas four years ago, and I’m very concerned — I’m very concerned for Florida, for Arizona (a state I have never visited) — I’m concerned for the whole world. It’s called empathy!

    But I am very glad to hear you made it safely to Wisconsin and hope you have a lovely summer. I hope Morrigan gets better soon and it was not COVID, and that he and Jason can join you soon.

    And how nice to be around all the dogs and cats — I hope you have nice weather. It’s started hitting the 90s every day in Virginia. I know that’s nothing compared to a Texas summer but we had such a nice mild spring!


    • Amanda says:

      Sadly, Jason and Morrigan have to stay put. Jason is working – though from home, thank goodness – and there are the five cats we can’t really board or bring here. But they’re plenty stocked on groceries and have no reason at all to leave the house, so they should stay safe. Morrigan is feeling perfectly fine now, so if it WAS covid, then it was really mild and none of the rest of us seem to have caught it. We’re still being careful since there’s a long incubation period, but we were all living together so I imagine that if it’s coming, it’ll be soon.

      It’s actually really burning hot up here. We arrived just as they entered an unusual heat wave and the temps aren’t much different than San Antonio! Boo!


  3. Ooof. It’s all too much. It’s becoming so difficult to remain in any sort of positive state. You’re so close to my neck of the woods, and if if wasn’t for this damn virus I’d totally be asking you to meet me for coffee or lunch! Keep on keepin’ on, lady!


    • Amanda says:

      Absolutely! If I remember right, we’re like an hour apart or something? Maybe in a few weeks, we can plan a physically-distanced walk with masks, just to meet up but stay apart as well, somewhere midway between us. 🙂


  4. I’m so sorry things are getting bad again. We are hearing a lot about Texas here in the UK, and our thoughts are with you. I’ve just ordered another load of disposable masks from Amazon – looks like we’ll all be needing them for some time yet 😦 .


    • Amanda says:

      I wish they’d just come out and explain to people that it takes 18m to 2yrs to develop a vaccine, at minimum. So we’d know just how long to expect this to last. People around here seem to think, Oh, it’s been four months, it must be over, and that’s just nuts!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am just astounded at how much it’s spiking there! Our cases have dropped significantly in NY, and we are really getting back to normal here. I’m scared that we will get spikes again too, but so far, it’s been good news here. I am keeping you guys in my thoughts, and am so glad you’re out of state right now. So scary about your son, and glad to hear his test was negative. My nasal test was a horrifying experience, so I hope they bring the new tests here too.


    • Amanda says:

      I hope your governor isn’t a Prump-talking-head like ours! Our Lt governor has flat-out said that mask are a conspiracy theory. It’s really rough to be in an alt-right state at the moment. And the county I’m in now isn’t much better. Cases are low because we’re rural, but yesterday the boys and I went to Dairy Queen to pick up lunch, and we were the only ones in masks (not even the employees), and there was next to no sanitizing going on. I felt like I was holding a bomb when they handed me the number to wait for our order, and scrubbed up really well when I got home. Ignorance!!!!!


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