‘We have community transmission now.’ Bexar County changes tactics from containment to mitigation

County health officials say they’re no longer doing ‘intense contact tracing’

Coronavirus in San Antonio | Illustration by Henry Keller
Coronavirus in San Antonio | Illustration by Henry Keller (KSAT)

San Antonio – On Thursday, Bexar County health officials confirmed the inevitable -- that the new coronavirus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, is now being transmitted within the community.

Until late this week, the cases in Bexar County could be traced to travel outside of Texas or to contact with someone who had traveled outside the state and tested positive.

“Our focus is shifting from containment to community mitigation,” said Michelle Vigil, public relations manager for the Metropolitan Health District.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes community mitigation as “a set of actions that persons and communities can take to help slow the spread of respiratory virus infections. Community mitigation is especially important before a vaccine or drug becomes widely available.”

Texas, Bexar County and San Antonio have all issued emergency declarations to implement social distancing and other measures in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The shift from containment to community mitigation means that Metro Health officials will no longer spend great effort tracing the steps of people with COVID-19 to notify others who may have had contact with them.

“We will not be doing any intense contact tracing,” Vigil said.

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About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.