Quarantine Diaries – Weeks 33-35

Today is Friday the 13th, eight months to the date from the Friday the 13th in March when we got our first case of Covid in San Antonio. The country is undergoing a third spike, higher than previous spikes. Unemployment benefits – which are already a joke as most people get red-taped out of them and those who don’t get almost nothing (we, for instance, would get less than a third of Jason’s salary if he lost his job) – haven’t been extended by the current administration, so they’ve expired (maximum of 26 weeks). San Antonio has been named one of the top five cities in the country for covid financial distress. People are out of work and unable to go back to work safely because our state and country are doing absolutely nothing to help or get this under control!! Texas became the first state to reach a million covid cases just a few days ago, and the US is now experiencing well over 100k new cases and 1,000 deaths per day. And with people protesting masks by wearing them under their noses even more since the election results, I’m kinda terrified of what we can expect to see before we have a vaccine available.

Week 33 – October 23 to 29
65,423 cases, 1,250 deaths, 201 cases for the 7-day rolling average (major increase), 6.9% positivity rate (up 1.1%). That plateau we were on? It’s now a steady increase. Not a spike yet, not this week, but it feels like it could become one easily. Why? Well, a big chunk is all the kids returning to school. Another big chunk is cooler weather and people thus hanging out (with people outside their household) indoors instead of outside. There’s also a lot of pandemic fatigue – people just tired of being strict with the rules. Not to mention, if the rest of the state/country has increasing numbers and people have to travel for work, there’s gonna be cross-contamination. So hospital numbers are on the rise, testing numbers and positive results are on the rise, and Bexar County has moved up from low to moderate risk this week.

Things hit hard at home this week. My aunt, who runs a preschool with my mom in a small town west of San Antonio, tested positive for Covid. By the time she got tested and had a positive result, she’d had a week of symptoms exposing my uncle, mother, stepdad, and elderly grandparents (not to mention however-many pre-symptomatic days!). Her case was mild, thank goodness, and she’s recovering already, but the preschool is shut down for several weeks and we just have to wait to see if anyone else caught it. My mom was tested on the 28th and has yet to get her results, but has no symptoms at this point.

(Dec 2014: left to right – my uncle, aunt, grandpa, grandma, mom, and stepdad – everyone here had potential exposure, plus a few others)

Unfortunately, this is the side of my family where a lot of folks aren’t wearing masks, limiting shopping trips, etc. And my grandparents are extremely vulnerable being in their 80s/90s with multiple underlying conditions. It’s been a very stressful week. Doesn’t help that another six kids from the local high school came down with covid – we got a new notice almost every single day about at least one kid – and Laurence was scheduled to take his PSAT there on the 29th. He decided that he flat-out wasn’t going to take it – he doesn’t need it for college and he didn’t want the covid risk. Jason and I tried to convince him to go, but he put his foot down. And honestly, I don’t blame him. I just hope this doesn’t take away future opportunities for him.

Week 34 – October 30 to November 5
66,909 cases, 1,268 deaths, 212 7-day rolling average, 7.7% positivity rate (up 0.8%). We’ve now shown a steady increase in daily case trend for the last few weeks, contrary to the two-week decline trend that we look for. Unfortunately, lots of other parts of the state are overloaded. El Paso is beyond capacity so hospital patients are being sent all over TX, including over 40 here so far (and we’re 10 hours away from El Paso!). One news station estimates that we saw a bit over 8k cases in October total (about 12% of our numbers), but of course that’ll likely change with backlogs etc, which is why I don’t even bother to try to tabulate that stuff now! And at of the end of the week, the county judge was exposed to covid through another county employee, so we’ll have to see what happens there.

My mom’s covid test came back negative thank goodness! Several other family members (who I didn’t even know had been exposed) also came back negative, but I have yet to hear about my grandparents and don’t even know if they’ll go in for tests. There’s so much pandemic fatigue going on. My chiropractor office, which used to do well in terms of safety, is getting more and more lax to the point where I’m getting afraid to go (photo shows my chiropractor and how he always wears his mask now). People are hoarding toilet paper again (this time in anticipation of post-election riots). The library has officially moved to Stage 3 as of the 4th, and Fitness in the Park has returned with limited classes – all this despite the current increases we’ve had. My family is starting to talk about Christmas and what we might be able to swing or not swing safely. It’s all rather depressing. It would be easier if we didn’t have another spike…

Week 35 – November 6 to 12
69,014 cases, 1,287 deaths, 283 (!!!) 7-day rolling average, 8.4% positivity rate (up 0.7%). We’ve seen some major jumps in numbers here this week, including multiple days with over 300 and 400 new cases for the first time in months. The positivity rate has been climbing for the last month, and our hospital numbers are up quite a bit too (though some of that is a continued influx of patients from El Paso). Texas is back up to over 10k cases a day, a level on par with the peak in July, and it looks to continue rising. Other than a few spiked days that reflected case backlogs in SA and Houston, we’ve had the highest daily increases in our state ever this week. Nov 11th was nearly as high as the spike day from SA’s backlogged cases! Sigh.

In better news, the county judge had two negative covid tests so it looks like his exposure last week didn’t lead to contracting covid. On the other hand, our mayor was apparently exposed this week and is currently in self-quarantine awaiting a second negative test (first came back negative). With things getting worse, the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon people finally saw the light and decided to cancel this year’s event despite saying just a few weeks ago that they’d still be hosting it traditionally. We saw another three students at the local high school come down with covid – at least that has slowed a bit now! – and sadly, we got notice that one student passed away. We don’t know if that was covid-related as they keep that info private, but it’s always sad when a classmate dies. It wasn’t someone my kids knew (the high school has over 3,000 students enrolled), but either way, grief is tough and even more surreal in a situation like the current one.

Moving forward
Well it would help if Prump stopped acting like a toddler and let the transition process begin. If he were anyone else, he could help bridge the divide here. But then again, if he were that kind of person, he could have pulled both sides in together over covid – and hey, he likely would have won the election had he done that. In any case, I think we’re in for a rough few months of lawsuits and protests (both in-person, and safety-related), and that’s going to lead to worsening covid numbers. The current ones are staggering, and they’re predicting now that soon it could be 200k+ daily cases in the US.

At home, we’re going to keep quarantining as much as possible. I’m being more careful about how many hikes I attend/lead, and likely our little individual support bubbles will get smaller/stricter as the numbers grow here. It’s really frustrating, right in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas! But I’d rather have my family and friends alive for future holidays than with me this year. At least our deck is almost finished and we can have a few people over for outdoor, distanced celebrations! Ironically, the Texas weather that we despise so much is actually going to make the next few months easier. Temps in the 60s and 70s over winter makes for great outdoor gatherings! Certainly easier than the 100+ temps from over the summer!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
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5 Responses to Quarantine Diaries – Weeks 33-35

  1. It seems to be rough everywhere at the moment 😦 . Hope your aunt is OK.


  2. gricel d. says:

    Ugh. Sending good thoughts for your family!

    We’re on a steady increase here as well, such a disaster. Miami is seeing about 1000+ cases a day again, so we’re back where we were in July. Too many people disregarding social distancing and masks and our Governor is a Prump lackey, who DOES not care. There was a recent article suggesting that his plan is to use Florida as a test ground for the scientifically disproven herd immunity concept that one of Prump’s conspiracy theorists is pushing.

    As for the PSAT, I’m with the youth! Don’t bother. In one of my university meetings, our provost mentioned that Florida is the only state that’s still requiring the SAT (it’s really hitting our enrollment).


    • Amanda says:

      Oh god. I really hope that he’s not REALLY pushing for that herd immunity crap. They’ve already shown that covid antibodies disappear after a few months and that people can get reinfected. I really can’t wait until the vaccine is available.


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