KSAT Q&A: Infectious disease doctor discusses COVID-19 reinfection with omicron, what to do when showing symptoms
Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease specialist with UT Health San Antonio, joined Thursday’s KSAT Q&A to discuss COVID-19 reinfection with the new variant, omicron’s effect on frontline health care workers and precautions to take for those who start showing symptoms and can't find a test.
KSAT Q&A: Infectious diseases doctor explains what you should do after showing COVID-19 symptoms to avoid unneccessary ER visits
Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease specialist with UT Health San Antonio, joined the KSAT Q&A on Thursday to discuss the latest rise in omicron COVID-19 cases and what people should do before seeking help at an emergency room.
San Antonio travelers having hard time finding COVID-19 testing amid holidays
The holidays are a busy time of year for traveling and having large gatherings. With the omicron and delta variant spreading, it could also be a busy season for COVID. People hoping to check if they are covid free before and after Christmas are having some trouble finding tests and testing locations.
Early data shows vaccinated people are experiencing mild symptoms with Omicron variant, infectious disease doctor says
Although there’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, health officials say that early data indicates the mRNA vaccines are still proving to be effective.
How over-the-counter COVID-19 tests could bring ease to family gatherings this holiday season
Add over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits to your grocery lists along with pumpkin pie and turkey this holiday season. Medical experts say the tests could be a tool to ensure the virus doesn’t spread during family gatherings.
KSAT Q&A: Dr. Berggren discusses teen vaccinations, when you should still keep your mask handy
Dr. Ruth Berggren, of the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio, joins KSAT Q&A to discuss teens receiving their COVID-19 vaccine and when you should still keep your mask handy despite new CDC guidelines.
Bexar County hospitals, clinics develop new vaccination plans after Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine halted
Federal health officials are calling for a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement prompted Bexar County hospitals and clinics planning to use the company’s vaccine to develop a new game plan.
San Antonio archbishop reinforces church’s position regarding Johnson & Johnson vaccine
San Antonio Archdiocese Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller has reinforced the church’s position regarding all three vaccines. AdThe archbishop said it was concerning that Johnson and Johnson used “some remote cells of abortion tissue” to produce the vaccine, but he understood none of the those cells are in the vaccine itself. “That is in the vaccine, not the cells,” Berggren said. She said fetal cell lines have been used for years. “There are many vaccines and drug products that we wouldn’t have today had these cell lines not been used,” Berggren said.
Coronavirus update San Antonio, March 4: Leaders report 242 new COVID-19 cases, 2 deaths
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and local health professionals updated the community about the local response to COVID-19 in their daily briefing Thursday night. Nirenberg reported 197,497 total COVID-19 cases and 2,678 total deaths in Bexar County, an increase of 242 new cases as of Thursday. The mayor said more than 265,000 people have gotten their first COVID-19 vaccine dose from the city site. AdDr. Ruth Berggren, with UT Health San Antonio, said the Bexar County Hospital District administered 6,072 vaccines, the largest distribution day to date. She said UT Health San Antonio has administered 65,000 vaccines as of Friday.
Is it time to double up on face masks to help fight COVID-19 variants?
AdDr. Berggren said in an interview with KSAT 12 that two face masks may not be necessary. “I don’t think double masking is the answer — it’s the 3Ws,” Dr. Berggren said. What kind of face mask should I be using? With these new virus variants, you may be asking yourself just how safe the face masks you’ve been using over the last year actually are. “We know that they’ve been found in Houston, and we believe that they’re here,” Dr. Berggren said.
Health expert says San Antonio ‘could be in for a world of hurt’ with COVID-19 variants
SAN ANTONIO – UT Health infectious disease expert Ruth Berggren said San Antonio could be in for “a world of hurt” if members of the community let their guard down with COVID-19. Berggren said Thursday in a Q&A segment on KSAT that she is very concerned about the COVID-19 variants that she thinks have probably already made it into San Antonio. “We know that they’ve been found in Houston, and we believe that they’re here,” Berggren said. There are three variants that health experts are most concerned with-- the United Kingdom variant, the South African variant and the Brazil variant. If we’re not careful, if we let our guard down, we could be in for a world of hurt,” Berggren said.
When will children be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas?
And Texas health providers are only offering the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to people who fall into two categories — Phase 1A and Phase 1B. AdSo, when will children be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine in San Antonio and Texas? She estimated that kids may be able to start getting the COVID-19 vaccine in fall 2021 or in 2022. Children who are 9 years old and younger make up 5.7% of the city’s case count, according to San Antonio’s Metro Health Department. About 11% of the case count consists of children ages 10-19.
What if I get COVID-19 before getting the 1st or 2nd dose of the vaccine?
SAN ANTONIO – Many people are understandably anxious to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but with cases surging right now, some people end up getting COVID before they can get the first or second dose. So, how long does a person who has had the new coronavirus need to wait to get the vaccine? And what happens if you get sick with COVID in between getting the first and second doses of the virus? But what if you’ve had the first shot of the vaccine and then get sick with COVID-19 before you’ve had the second dose? “This may in fact delay the timing of your second shot but we don’t think that will affect the efficacy of the vaccine,” Berggren said.
Doctors address false claim that COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility, sterilization
SAN ANTONIO – Like many social media posts about the COVID-19 vaccine, misinformation about the effects of the vaccine can be found all over social media. Posts claiming that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women and sterilization in men appear to be targeting those who are pregnant, looking to conceive, or planning a family in the future. “So the short answer is, it does not cause infertility,” said Dr. Patrick Ramsey, Chief of Maternal Fetal Medicine for University Health System. KSAT is labeling the claim that the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility and sterilization as NOT TRUE. Medical experts say anyone who is pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant should talk to their individuals providers when assessing if the COVID-19 vaccine is right for them.
San Antonio doctor explains if pregnant women should receive COVID-19 vaccine
SAN ANTONIO – Some pregnant women are wondering if the COVID-19 vaccines are a safe option for them and their baby, as we move through the beginning phases of vaccine distribution. Pfizer’s vaccine trials tried to exclude pregnant women, but as Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease doctor with UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, told viewers during KSAT’s vaccine townhall, that did not happen. “Our recommendation is that when these are available, that pregnant women be given the opportunity to get them,” Deering said. “What we do know is that the two vaccines that are out now, so Pfizer and Moderna, they’re mRNA vaccine,” Deering said. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does recommend lactating women and pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
Some health care workers hesitant to get COVID-19 vaccine during initial distribution
SAN ANTONIO – COVID-19 vaccine distribution is underway in many parts of the U.S., and while some frontline health care workers have already gotten their shot, others are choosing to wait. A San Antonio nurse who worked in the frontlines in New York, Houston, El Paso and San Antonio is choosing to wait to get vaccinated. “You have some nurses and some health care professionals that just feel like this vaccine was expedited way too fast, and we just don’t know too much about it,” she said. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Ruth Berggren received her vaccine on Tuesday. Even though the Pfizer vaccine received emergency approval already, it doesn’t mean the clinical trials are over.
Doctors, health care workers among the first to get COVID-19 vaccine in San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO – She talks the talk, and now she’s proving to walk the walk. Dr. Ruth Berggren, KSAT’S COVID-19 medical consultant, confirmed she will be one of the first health care workers to receive the vaccine on Wednesday. It will be administered through University Health System, one of four hospitals in our area that have already received the first shipments of the vaccine, as several other local hospitals await their shipments this week. Today UT Health San Antonio received 5,800 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, to be given to those at highest risk such as health care and other front-line workers, and nursing home residents starting Wednesday. Here’s a breakdown of hospitals receiving vaccines as part of the first round.
9 takeaways from KSAT’s COVID-19 vaccine townhall with Metro Health doctors
SAN ANTONIO – With the first doses of Pfizer’s newly approved COVID-19 vaccine arriving in Texas this week, many questions still remain about distribution and the drug. Unlike some others, the COVID-19 vaccine does not contain dead cells from the coronavirus. RELATED: UK probes whether COVID-19 vaccine caused allergic reactionsThere has been some unfounded concern on social media that the vaccine contains cells from a human fetus. Both Dr. Kemp and Dr. Berggren debunked this idea but say keeping track of vaccinations is crucial. MORE ON THE COVID-19 VACCINE:
San Antonio healthcare workers among first in line to get Pfizer vaccine, says infectious disease doctor
SAN ANTONIO – Editors note--On Dec. 10, at 7 p.m., KSAT anchor Isis Romero will host a livestream discussion with a panel of experts from San Antonio Metro Health to give you the most pertinent information about vaccines in South Texas. Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease doctor with UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine said during KSAT Q&A that San Antonio’s medical community and first responders will be some of the first to receive the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. And those people will be getting the vaccine first,” she said. Dr. Berggren said San Antonio could see this first doses arrive as early as this week. Watch KSAT Q&A’s live Monday-Friday at 6:30 p.m.Do you have questions about the coronavirus vaccine?
What’s in the coronavirus vaccine, and how could it possibly affect me once I get it?
However, people also have some concerns about what the vaccine contains, its side effects and when they’ll be able to get it. The current coronavirus vaccine focuses on mRNA, or messenger RNA, which is found in your body. As for side effects of the vaccine, Berggren said they’re similar to those of a flu shot. Metro Health discusses planBerggren said most side effects of any vaccine are going to be apparent within about six weeks. So when it’s your turn to get the vaccine, Berggren says to make an appointment and don’t show up late.
Here's what local doctors are saying about a possible coronavirus spike in San Antonio
"Our possible spike is fully dependent on how individuals behave," said Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease specialist with the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio. In a tweet last week, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg warned of an uptick in cases, but the risk level for the city remains at moderate. On Sunday, San Antonio Metro Health announced 191 new cases. San Antonio began to see a surge after Gov. Berggren said San Antonio should take pride in the fact that the community has kept the city's positivity rate at around a moderate 6.9 percent.mysanantonio.com
‘Protect your grandparents’ this holiday season with coronavirus precautions
SAN ANTONIO – Halloween is here and the holidays are around the corner -- a time Doctor Ruth Berggren with UT Health San Antonio says is crucial to protect those who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus. And I really want people to think about keeping the grandparents safe. According to the city’s website, San Antonio’s coronavirus positivity rate is at 6.9%, up from recent weeks. Still Berggren says San Antonio is in a good spot and can hang on to that relatively low rate if safety precautions continue. “There is no question in my mind that we will still be taking precautions next year.
TRUST INDEX: Are the text messages recruiting people for COVID-19 case studies legitimate?
SAN ANTONIO – Two people who received these text messages asking them to participate in a COVID-19 case study for a hefty compensation asked the KSAT Trust Index Team to see if real companies are recruiting study participants by text. To determine the legitimacy of the texts, KSAT’s Trust Index Team cast a wide web, reaching out to hospital systems, research centers and consumer watchdogs. Never click on unknown/unsolicited links.”Baptist Health System:“These are likely to be illegitimate and could be phishing attacks by cyber criminals. Never give out that information to someone you don’t know.”------------Dr. Berggren wants the public to be aware of the many legitimate studies currently being conducted by researchers working to defeat COVID-19. In terms of recruitment for COVID-19 studies, KSAT is marking this “Be Careful” on the Trust Index.
‘Don’t forget to wash your hands’ says San Antonio infectious disease doctor in KSAT Q&A
SAN ANTONIO – Infectious disease doctor Ruth Berggren with UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine says we should be taking safety precautions like hand washing to prevent more than just coronavirus. In the latest KSAT Q&A she talks about transmission of covid-19 and things like the common cold. More from Dr. Berggren:How safe is curbside voting? COVID-safe Halloween celebration ideas from San Antonio doctorCOVID-19 hospitalizations not seeing same decrease as positivity rate, says San Antonio doctor
How safe is curbside voting?
SAN ANTONIO – As voters weigh their options on how to cast their ballot in November, viewers in our KSAT Q&A wanted to know how safe curbside voting will be? “You all need to keep your physical distance while you’re carrying out that curbside voting. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with curbside voting itself. To make sure illness does not prevent you from casting you ballot consider voting early or by mail. Early voting begins Oct. 13 and ends Oct. 30.
COVID-19 hospitalizations not seeing same decrease as positivity rate, says San Antonio doctor
SAN ANTONIO – Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease doctor with UT Health’s Long School of Medicine, joins KSAT Q&A to talk about the latest in coronavirus spread in San Antonio and vaccine development. Watch the full interview in the video player above. Catch more expert interviews every Monday- Friday at 6:30 p.m. and on the Nightbeat.
COVID-safe Halloween celebration ideas from San Antonio doctor
SAN ANTONIO – As the holiday season approaches, many families are wondering about the safety of Halloween traditions like trick-or-treating, gatherings or haunted houses in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Whatever you do for Halloween, those things still have to be going on,” Berggren said. “I think the old traditional Halloween evening of clumps of kids going along and pressing doorbells, maybe with sticky fingers and then footing. If you are hoping to spend the holiday with friends and family, trying coordinating a virtual meetup where everyone watches the same movie. Experts are promoting outdoor activities and warn against indoor activities like haunted houses and large parties.
Why voting is good for your health, according to San Antonio infectious disease doctor
SAN ANTONIO – From concerns over mail-in ballots to risking exposure at the polls, voting during a pandemic has been a hot topic this election season. In the latest KSAT Q&A, Dr. Ruth Berggren with UT Health’s Long School of Medicine said whichever way you vote, it could be good for your health. How could voting be good for your health in the middle of a pandemic? Latest vaccine developmentsThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put out new guidance to prepare states for a vaccine distribution. According to Berggren, there are as many as five vaccines from different companies that are working through the approval process.
‘Don’t be frightened by this:’ San Antonio doctor talks coronavirus vaccine hiccup
SAN ANTONIO – There are dozens of coronavirus vaccines currently in development. According to AstraZeneca, a woman who received the experimental vaccine reported symptoms consistent with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammation of the spinal cord. The symptoms are neurological and Berggren said it’s hard to tell if they were caused by the vaccine. “And so to get, as a nation, 300 million people promptly vaccinated [for the coronavirus] is going to take some time. Related: Companies testing vaccines pledge safety, high standardsSan Antonio doctor leading Operation Warp Speed COVID-19 vaccine trialWatch KSAT Explains: A search for a COVID-19 below:
Labor Day weekend to be pivotal for coronavirus cases
SAN ANTONIO This week, Mayor Ron Nirenberg took to social media to remind San Antonians to be safe this holiday weekend fearing it could render another spike in coronavirus cases. Identify your Labor Day social bubbleThis is not the time to start expanding your social bubble, Dr. Berggren said the holiday weekend is a crucial time to keep your circle tight, socializing with only immediate family members or a few others who are similarly cautious. However, Dr. Berggren said as part of the citys coronavirus task force, schools should be flexible. With over 100 vaccines in development, Dr. Berggren says while that may happen, we wont know how effective it will be for quite some time. But Dr. Berggren says only about half of Americans get immunized.
Infectious disease specialist answers your COVID-19 questions
SAN ANTONIO – During a Q&A on Thursday, Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease specialist from UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, answered questions submitted by viewers. Can a face shield be worn instead of a face mask? “You’re worse off just wearing a face shield. She says face masks act as a barrier to “catch some of the big droplets that are coming at you if somebody sneezes.”Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause bad side effects? “And the reason I believe that is the progress that’s been made so far with the vaccine development and also with drug development.”
City of San Antonio to host virtual town hall on reopening of schools
SAN ANONIO The City of San Antonio will be hosting a virtual town hall on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. on the reopening of schools. The town hall will include a live discussion with co-chairs of the COVID-19 PreK-12 consultation group co-chaired by Dr. Junda Woo, the San Antonio medical director, and David Nungaray, the Bonham Academy principal. During the town hall, the city will also reveal the new school safety indicator that will be included on the citys COVID-19 dashboard. There will be several ways to watch the town hall including the citys website, Facebook page and TV channel. KSAT will also live stream the town hall.
Why are people refusing to wear masks amid coronavirus threat?
San Antonio officials and health care professionals have stood behind the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions recommendation to wear protective face masks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. But not everyone is so quick to wear a mask in public settings, prompting confusion and even chaos across the country. And thats to keep you from getting other people sick, and that it wasnt necessary for us to all wear masks. Save the masks for the health care workers, and now its, Everybody needs to wear a mask, Jackson recalled. RELATED: Which stores require face masks to be worn in San Antonio?
Explained: Phase II of Abbotts plan to reopen Texas; Rules for bars, bowling alleys
LATEST COVID-19 COVERAGE HEREOther businesses allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity are skating rinks, rodeos, zoos and aquariums. The San Antonio Zoo announced this week that annual pass holders will be able to visit the zoo starting May 29-31 for a pass holder-only weekend. RELATED: People wait outside Cowboys Dance Hall as bars reopenThere are several recommendations from the state as bars reopen. As Abbott ramps up re-openings, San Antonio health officials say its too early to tell how this will affect COVID-19 cases in Bexar County and across the state. I think that not everybody in San Antonio is rushing out to ease those restrictions, said Berggren.
COVID-19 cannot be contracted from food, San Antonio doctor says
SAN ANTONIO SAQ: If a waiter is not wearing a mask, can my food be infected with coronavirus? Dr. Ruth Berggren with UT Health says there is no evidence showing it is possible to contract coronavirus from food nor that the virus can be transferred from a person onto food and then infect the person who ate the food. The waiter should wear a mask because he or she might be sick and not realize it yet, Berggren explained. Watch anchor Steve Spriester ask local leaders your questions weeknights at 6 p.m. on KSAT12 and 9 p.m. on KSAT-TV and KSAT.com. You can also sign up for our free SAQ newsletter to get answers to the most common questions in your inbox.
Opinion: San Antonios Plan vs. Abbotts Plan: Expertise Makes the Difference
Ill call them the San Antonio Plan and the Abbott Plan. Next week Ill discuss the plans in more detail, including the remaining importance of the San Antonio Plan. The San Antonio Plan was developed by two separate task forces, one made up of medical experts and the other of business leaders. Its chaired by Dr. Barbara Taylor, associate professor of infectious diseases and the assistant dean for the MD/MPH Program at UT Health San Antonio. Dr. Caroline DeWitt is an infectious diseases specialist and the managing partner of San Antonio Infectious Diseases Consultants.therivardreport.com
Medical, Health Experts Join Task Force to Guide Reopening of San Antonio
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff have appointed nine medical and public health experts to a task force charged with developing strategies for slowly reopening the local economy while continuing to combat the spread of coronavirus. Dr. Barbara Taylor, associate professor of infectious diseases and associate dean for the MD/MPH Program at UT Health San Antonio, will serve as chair. The plan also will include measures to be taken to shut things down again if conditions require it, Nirenberg said. Councilwoman Ana Sandoval (D7), who lobbied for more Council representation in such discussions over the past two weeks and serves as the chair of Councils temporarily defunct Public Health and Equity Committee, was appointed as the liaison for the task force. That has to be done thoughtfully, that has to be driven by public health first.therivardreport.com