Bexar County puts another $1.3 million toward COVID-19 testing amid surge

Con Corazon San Antonio gets up to $300,000, Community Labs up to $1M

SAN ANTONIO – Amid a surge of new COVID-19 cases, Bexar County commissioners agreed to spend up to another $1.3 million in federal relief dollars on testing.

Commissioners allocated up to $300,000 for Con Corazon San Antonio and up to $1 million for Community Labs on Tuesday -- two nonprofit organizations that conduct testing in the county. The money comes from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funding allocation.

“Right now, there’s a lot of frustration about getting tested, but I think both with the city’s commitment and the county’s commitment, hopefully, you all can help address that,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Justin Rodriguez told the two nonprofits at Tuesday’s meeting.

ALSO ON KSAT.COM: Nearly 900 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Bexar County, Metro Health data shows

Community Labs is already in the middle of setting up six free public testing sites for the City of San Antonio. It will open up two more for the county -- one at Wonderland of the Americas in Balcones Heights and another at a senior center in Converse.

The Wonderland of the Americas site is expected to open Friday, while the Converse site would open on Monday.

Community Labs President Sal Webber told KSAT the plan is to operate the two sites Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., like its sites for the city, though they will “look at expanding to weekends as well” for these two sites.

Community Labs typically promises PCR test results in 24 hours, but Webber says a shipping delay of “two small chemical components” created a backlog in tests. So results over the next few days may take 24 to 48 hours instead.

Webber expected Community Labs to return to a 24-hour turnaround by Thursday or Friday.

Con Corazon is focused on providing testing for students and staff at Bexar County schools and -- if they’re positive for COVID-19 -- for their households, too.

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

The terms of the new $300,000 deal have not yet been hammered out, and it’s not clear yet if the group’s testing sites will be open to residents who are unaffiliated with local schools.

Commissioners also agreed on Tuesday to extend the time frame for an agreement it already had in place with Con Corazon to conduct 12,500 tests.

The original $300,000 contract ended in FY 2021, but only 6,500 of the tests were carried out. So commissioners amended the contract to go through this fiscal year for the remaining 6,000 tests.

Since the money for that deal was already allocated, the contract extension did not require any additional dollars.

Though Con Corazon had previously decreased its testing sites to just two locations, it plans to open up a third -- possibly by next week -- to deal with the surge in cases and testing demand.

“For a moment, there wasn’t a need. And now there’s another surge. And so we’re willing to work, look at the data and figure out the best place to service those people in most need,” Con Corazon President Jenee Gonzales told KSAT after the commissioners’ vote.

Also on KSAT.COM


About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.