Bexar County commissioner concerned over cost of coronavirus test

SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert, who represents Precinct 4, is concerned about the price of the coronavirus test.

“We’re not prepared because we don't have proper testing mechanisms. We certainly don't have vaccines. We just have a lot of learning to do about this virus,” Calvert said.

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has one testing kit available to test for COVID-19.

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Calvert said he is concerned about the cost for testing after Metro Health revealed today it could cost up to $2,400 for those without insurance.

“That’s not atypical for a new test, testing a new virus or a new bacterium,” said Junda Woo, the Metro Health medical director.

“That's an outrage that companies would gouge people to the tune of $2,400 for a worldwide pandemic. We as government leaders have to step in. We have to cap this with respect to insurance,” Calvert said.

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Woo said the cost of testing depends on several things, including your health insurance and where you go to get tested. Tests can be sent to either Metro Health or a private lab.

Metro Health said testing through them will be free, but people still need to see a doctor first who will then decide whether the patient should be tested. Doctors have been advised to follow the testing criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For low-income individuals or people without insurance, Woo said you should get care at a federally qualified health center. That includes Communicare, CentroMed and University Health System clinics, according to Woo.

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“I will call upon Governor Abbott to have our local testing companies begin to develop the coronavirus tests, so that we don’t have to be dependent on the federal government,” Calvert said.

Calvert said the county judge asked him to put a letter together to the governor regarding preparations. Preparation plans include how the county would keep the court system open and how to prepare places if they need to quarantine large numbers of people. Calvert said he will be sending the letter next week.

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