SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – San Antonio Metro Health has expanded COVID-19 testing to asymptomatic individuals, which is expected to draw a lot more people to the no-cost testing sites. But there is a cost to the city.
“Our contract with CPL, which is the lab that is operating over at Freeman and helping us with some of our nursing home work as well–that is $70 dollars a test,” San Antonio Metro Health Director Dawn Emerick revealed at Monday evening’s COVID-19 briefing.
She says they’re currently conducting about 400 tests per day at $70 each, and that number is expected to increase, now that testing is open to people who have no symptoms. Mayor Ron Nirenberg says the federal government will reimburse the city for the testing expenses through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.
“We have presymptomatic who are exposing people and don’t know it, and then you have the asymptomatics who will never develop symptoms and could be exposing,” said Emerick, stressing the importance of wearing masks in public.
“This is not about inconveniencing you. This is truly about keeping our numbers down and keeping people safe and keeping you safe,” she said.
Previously residents were required to have symptoms of the virus, which included a fever, dry cough, and chills, but now, individuals will have access to testing even if they don’t have symptoms.
“We continue to remind the public that COVID-19 testing is a snapshot in time. Just because a person tests negative, it does not mean they have not contracted COVID-19 previously or cannot contract it in the future,” said Dr. Dawn Emerick, Director of Metro Health.
To view testing locations, visit the Metro Health website. Emerick recommends that you call and make an appointment to make sure that they have enough tests available at your preferred location. The COVID-19 hotline number is 210-207-5779.
The new health alert issued by Metro Health states that clinicians should use their judgment to determine if a patient should be tested.
If testing capacity is limited, then testing will be prioritized based on the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), “Evaluating and Testing Persons for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),”<https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-criteria.html> issued May 4, 2020.