San Antonio woman transitions from convention center sales manager to COVID-19 case investigator

More than 200 people are working at the Alamodome to investigate COVID-19 cases

SAN ANTONIO – More than 200 case investigators at the Alamodome are working to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Bexar County. The new jobs are giving opportunities to people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Tanya Espalin was a sales manager at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center for three years, but now she works as a case investigator.

“It was just an opportunity to, one, serve my community, and then also just because the industry has been so impacted, I get to play a very small role in hopefully bringing the industry back to what it was,” Espalin said.

Espalin said she was contacted by the City of San Antonio and offered an opportunity to move into a different role until business returns to normal at the convention center.

Espalin never imagined doing this type of job. She is calling people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We give them a call just to -- one, see how they are doing. Two, to go through some of the symptoms and things that they’ve been experiencing as COVID is really affecting people differently. We’re trying to learn a little bit more about it. And thirdly, to see if there’s anybody that they would like us to discreetly and confidentially contact on their behalf,” Espalin said.

Metro Health said 206 people are working at the Alamodome as case investigators. Forty-one are furloughed city employees, 64 are temporary positions, 18 are temporary state positions, one is a temporary city position and four are with Joint Base San Antonio.

Espalin is thankful to have a job during these difficult times.

“If this opportunity wasn’t available, I would probably be with the other thousands of hospitality tourism workers that are left without employment,” Espalin said.

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