Freeman Coliseum being prepped as alternative care center for COVID-19 patients in San Antonio

Center could house about 250 beds if hospitals are full

SAN ANTONIO – An expo hall at the Freeman Coliseum is being prepared to be used as an alternative care center for COVID-19 patients, Judge Nelson Wolff told KSAT on Monday.

The care center will house about 250 beds, is climate-controlled and secure and local leaders hope it will be ready in the next two or three days, Wolff said.

Wolff said the hospital system is in good shape right now and the facility is not yet needed. Health officials would use this site if there is a spike in local cases, he said.

READ MORE: Bexar County reports 157 COVID-19 cases, 6 deaths. Here’s what we know.

Wolff said that Metro Health and the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council are working to determine how exactly they will utilize the space, which is located a few miles east of downtown San Antonio.

The 175-acre site where the alternative care center is located also includes the AT&T Center (home to the San Antonio Spurs), Freeman Coliseum and 350,000 square feet of exposition halls.

A drive-thru COVID-19 testing site already exists in one of the exposition halls. See helicopter footage shot below by KSAT.

On Sunday, Governor Greg Abbott announced state authorities had prepared the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas as the first alternative care facility in Texas for potential COVID-19 patients. He said they are working on identifying and preparing more sites across Texas.

Also on Sunday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Wolff discussed for the first time publicly a potential alternative care center in San Antonio, but didn’t specify what location when asked.

City officials say it’s currently unclear who will run the alternative care center in San Antonio as of yet.

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.


About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.