SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — City and county officials updated the public today on the ongoing response to the surge of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
City officials opened six testing sites in San Antonio alongside two in Bexar County over the last few weeks in an effort to respond to the growing demand for COVID-19 tests as the more-transmissible variant of the virus has spread since the end of November.
The Texas Division of Emergency Management also opened a federally-run testing site at the Alamodome this week alongside the city’s mass vaccination site.
While the test sites have the capability to test nearly 12,000 people per day, results are seeing a delay on delivery.
“Wait times are exceeding many of our patience levels at the test sites, so we’re doing all that we can to help alleviate those challenges,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “Please know that these are experienced challenges everywhere in our community and across the country largely due to laboratory slowdowns because of the volume of testing that’s occurring all throughout our nation.”
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said that the county has vaccinated nearly 8,500 people at the Wonderland Mall vaccination site alone since January 3. That figure includes 2,156 children to receive the inoculation, Wolff said.
“There’s hope that we can work our way through [Omicron] by the end of January,” Wolff said. “A lot of models are predicting that, but we don’t know for sure. So just be careful.”
Metro Health Public Health Director Claude offered a reminder that there have been reports of scam COVID-19 test sites — not just around San Antonio, but also across the country.
“Individuals who are operating these fraudulent sites are only interested in your personal information,” Jacob said. “They’re not running tests correctly. So even though you might be positive for COVID, they could tell you that you tested negative.”
Accredited testing locations can be found at COVID at ovid19.sanantonio.gov/What-YOU-Can-Do/Testing.
Jacob said that 5,841 new positive cases were reported yesterday, pushing the the total number of cases to 442,994. 16 new deaths were reported yesterday, for a total of 38 people who reportedly died of COVID-19 this week.
Metro Health Medical Director Dr. Junda Woo said that about 14% of eligible children have been fully inoculated and that about 35 children are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
“[That] is not an enormous number, but it’s entirely too many when you consider that this is completely preventable,” Woo said. “Protect your family. Vaccinate you children.”
Woo said that getting eligible children vaccinated helps schools stay open and fully staffed.
According to the COVID-19 surveillance dashboard operated by Metro Health, 73% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated with 89.7% of eligible residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“It’s going to take teamwork for us to get through this latest surge,” Nirenberg said. “Please continue to do your part, mark up, get vaccinated [and] get tested. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, which mimic many other symptoms you might have during a respiratory season like we’re in, please help us contain the virus by staying home if you are sick and get tested.”
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