San Antonio COVID-19 testing centers filling up as at-home tests become scarcer amid rise in cases

Doctor recommends higher filtration masks, taking measures to reduce infection risk

A new shortage of at-home COVID-19 tests is leading to long lines at San Antonio testing centers.

SAN ANTONIO – A new shortage of at-home COVID-19 tests is leading to long lines at San Antonio testing centers.

Resident Chris Castillo said he just wants to know if he has COVID-19 but is learning that isn’t so easy anymore.

“We went to one of the emergency rooms, and unless you’re admitted, they are not doing any COVID testing or flu testing right now,” he said.

The lines at the University of the Incarnate Word testing site are long, but people gathering for the holidays are looking for peace of mind.

“I’ve had a sore throat and some coughing, but I just presumed allergies, South Texas,” said Veronica Herkerman, who was receiving a COVID-19 test at the site.

One of Heckerman’s family members is positive, and the at-home tests were abundant last week.

“Right on the counter, there were so many,” she said.

But not anymore. Many online retailers are sold out, too, with delivery promises not until the second or third week of 2022.

And that’s not all. At the same time, recent reports that omicron is breaking through cloth masks are frustrating health care providers who want and need people to remain masked in public areas where the virus can spread.

“The better masks or the higher filtration masks are better than others, but it’s really a combination of human behaviors that really can reduce your risk of infection,” said Dr. Bryan Alsip, chief medical officer of University Health.

Alsip admits COVID-19 fatigue is real for health care workers too. He hopes that the White House can make good on getting more at-home kits into homes.

“Hopefully, they’ll be able to manage those distribution issues because all of us are feeling that, you know, adequate supply of testing is again another element of our tools,” Alsip said.

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About the Author:

Ursula Pari has been a staple of television news in Texas at KSAT 12 News since 1996 and a veteran of broadcast journalism for more than 30 years.