Metro Health opening three new COVID-19 testing sites amid surging demand across San Antonio

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg discusses testing, effects rising cases have caused across the city

SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio will be adding three new COVID-19 testing sites through a partnership with Community Labs to address testing capacity and wait times that some have said lasted hours.

Wednesday’s COVID-19 numbers

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District said the omicron variant had led to a three-fold increase in daily cases of COVID-19.

Metro Health’s COVID-19 dashboard showed an increase of 2,757 new cases, with a 7-day moving average of 2,875. There were also seven new deaths reported Wednesday, bringing the total to nine deaths over the past seven days.

There are 569 COVID patients in local hospitals, with 134 in ICU and 48 on ventilators. Metro Health’s dashboard shows there are 11% of staffed beds available and 65% of ventilators available.

See more of today’s COVID-19 statistics and city resources for the public here.

Demand for testing surges across Bexar County

The new testing sites come as demand surges at no-cost and private sites throughout Bexar County.

Dr. David Gude, chief operating officer of Texas MedClinic, which also offers COVID testing, estimates their San Antonio locations handle between 1,200 and 1,500 tests per day. And some spots are reaching their capacity for other patients, too.

“The testing that we’re doing along with the sick, you know, the ill people and injured people that we’re seeing -- we are seeing as many as we possibly can, and we’re having at some point in the day to say ‘We can’t add anymore. I’m sorry,’” Gude said.

Gude said the network of Texas MedClinics is also dealing with a 15% decrease in staff members due to their own COVID-19 issues.

ALSO ON KSAT.COM: Where to get a COVID-19 vaccine in San Antonio

Metro Health said it’s new no-cost testing sites will be stationed at the Alamo Colleges District Support Operations Building, Palo Alto College and St. Philip’s College.

“Because of the increased demand for people seeking to get a COVID-19 test, we know we need to do more – and we are,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a written statement included in a Metro Health news release.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said new omicron cases are driving up hospitalizations in our area and is urging the community to do what it can to ease the stress on the local hospitals.

“This burden on hospitals is affecting doctors, nurses, and other key medical staff, who are also getting sick and are having to miss work, unable to care for patients in our hospitals,” Wolff said in a written statement. “If you haven’t already, get vaccinated.”

New testing sites coming as early as Thursday

Metro Health says no appointment is necessary for the new sites, and testing will be done for walk-ups only. Results are expected to be provided to patients within 24 hours, Metro Health added.

The following are the new Community Labs locations and times of operation

  • Alamo Colleges District Support Operations Building, 2222 N. Alamo St. 78215

Opens Thursday, January 6 at 8 a.m.

Hours of operation Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Palo Alto College Building 23, 1400 W. Villaret Blvd. 78224

Opens Friday, January 7 at 8 a.m.

Building 20 – Performing Arts Center

Hours of operation Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • St. Philip’s College, 1801 Martin Luther King Dr. San Antonio, TX 78203

Opens Monday, January 10 at 8 a.m.

Hours of operation Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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Metro Health says three more sites will be announced as the locations are confirmed, and it will notify the public when they are expected to open.

“We encourage anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested, so they don’t spread the virus to others if they are positive. We hope these additional testing sites will help meet and alleviate current demand,” said Metro Heath Director Claude A. Jacob in a written statement. “Remember that we have the tools we need to contain this virus. Please mask up, get vaccinated and get your booster shot if you’re eligible. Please do your part to protect San Antonio by staying home if you are sick.”

KSAT Q&A with Mayor Ron Nirenberg

Nirenberg joined anchors Steve Spriester and Myra Arthur during Wednesday’s KSAT Q&A to discuss testing capacity in the city. He said officials are working to secure more rapid tests.

“(Rapid tests) have some degree of inaccuracy. They’re not as good as the PCR tests in terms of the accuracy of the data. But it does give you an answer quickly,” Nirenberg said during the KSAT Q&A.

Nirenberg told Spriester and Arthur that the omicron has taken over many cities in Texas and the nation at the same time, leading to more significant numbers at hospital systems despite some people reporting milder symptoms with the new variant. The mayor said that, while the city was prepared for another surge, the numbers of those infected are growing faster than anticipated.

“The rise in the number of cases, the incredible jump of 11,000 cases in three days to start the new year here is actually how fast this thing has risen. Remember, two weeks ago here in the city, we were at a 2% positivity rate. That’s jumped to 27% in two weeks,” Nirenberg said during the KSAT Q&A.

Watch the full interview with Nirenberg below

City health officials also offer the following testing guidelines:

  • Consider using a self-test before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household.
  • A positive self-test result means that you have an infection and should avoid indoor gatherings to reduce the risk of spreading disease to someone else.
  • A negative self-test result means that you may not have an infection. Repeating the test with at least 24 hours between tests will increase the confidence that you are not infected.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need help interpreting your test results.

Click here to access more information about other city no-cost testing sites.


About the Authors

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

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