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Metro Health posts new COVID-19 guidelines on quarantine, testing priorities

Essential workers with ‘low-risk’ exposure do not need to self-quarantine

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has sent out new COVID-19 guidelines on quarantining and testing priorities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday, there were 84 COVID-19 cases reported in Bexar County and at least three deaths related to the novel coronavirus. Across Texas, more than 1,400 cases and 18 deaths have been reported, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news conference on Thursday.

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As the situation continues to change, Metro Health posted a new health advisory Tuesday providing updated guidelines to follow.

First, though there is evidence of community spread in Bexar County, essential workers who have had a “low risk” of exposure to COVID-19 are not required to self-quarantine.

“They can work if they are essential personnel and should monitor their temperatures twice a day and self-isolate if they develop symptoms,” according to the advisory.

Low risk is defined as being in the same indoor environment as a person who has COVID-19, but does not meet the definition of close contact.

Health care providers who have been exposed to the virus are also allowed to keep working, but should monitor their temperature daily, wear a facemask if one is available, and continue monitoring their symptoms.

A health care provider with “prolonged exposure” to a COVID-19 patient should continue to self-quarantine for 14 days, however.

Metro Health also established the following priorities on COVID-19 testing.

Metro Health's guidelines on testing priorities.
Metro Health's guidelines on testing priorities. (KSAT)

The priorities indicate that if enough resources remain, officials would work to test individuals in communities “of rapidly increasing hospital cases," which could help decrease community spread.

The city of San Antonio recently created an online self-screening tool to help inform residents on whether they should seek a COVID-19 test.

City of San Antonio has new online tool for self-screening of COVID-19

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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