Thursday, March 12, 2020

City of San Antonio Coronavirus Update

Important Updates about COVID-19 (formerly known as novel coronavirus):

We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation globally and would like to share the following information to help prevent the spread of illness in San Antonio. Currently, there are no community spread cases in Bexar County or the City of San Antonio. The only confirmed cases are individuals who were brought to Lackland Air Force base under a federally mandated quarantine, and those individuals have been in isolation for treatment. Therefore, the risk of infection remains low.
In this issue of The City of San Antonio's Economic Development Department and Small Business Office newsletter, we will be sharing updated information about the on-going COVID-19 (formerly known as novel coronavirus). Featuring essential health tips, City's most up-to-date press release, and the recently released small business presentation. Please read below for more details or visit the Metro Health webpage.

Yesterday, Mayor Nirenberg and City Council convened a special City Council meeting to discuss response and preparedness to COVID-19 and placement of evacuees at Lackland Air Force Base.

You can view the livestream by clicking the image or visiting: or


Metro Health released a presentation to give an update to the small business community on COVID-19 as of March 9th and informed businesses on ways to prepare.
Please click the image above to view this presentation.


The Small Business Development Center has developed an emergency preparedness kit and presentation to help small business owners prepare for disasters.
Click the image above to view the briefing.

The Small Business Administration announced today a plan to provide up to $2 Million in Disaster Assistance Loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.


Metro Health is able to provide community presentations for organizations and groups including information about what to do to prepare and prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The presentations are available in English and Spanish.  All requests can be made by emailing with details regarding the request.  Presentations can also be provided through a web or teleconference format.


If you're planning to travel outside the U.S., be aware of COVID-19 travel advisories and restrictions. Guidance on international travel changes as the virus situation develops. Check for the latest information before you travel or plan a trip.


Residents are encouraged to download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores, to receive updates on the COVID-19 situation in San Antonio. Additionally, residents can text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates.


On Tuesday, March 3, 2020 the San Antonio Metro Health Laboratory received tests from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The laboratory has completed the validation study and reporting verification and is capable of running tests as of Monday, March 9, 2020. At this time, Metro Health Laboratory has the capacity to test 500 individuals.

In addition to public health laboratory testing, commercial laboratory testing is also now available from Quest and LabCorp, but are limited in supply in Bexar County/San Antonio. Both laboratories, per Texas Department of State Health Services, are first rolling out testing strategy and supplies in California and Washington, followed by the remainder of the country. Both laboratories are requesting providers to collaborate with their public health departments to determine which individuals should be tested. The turnaround time for these test results is 24-48 hours. Both commercial laboratories and ordering physician would be required to notify Metro Health immediately with any positive results.

Texas Governor Abbott asked Texas health insurance providers to waive costs associated with COVID-19, including deductibles on testing and telemedicine visits, penalties and restrictions for necessary out-of-network services and referral requirements. Additionally, insurers were asked to cover costs for necessary medical equipment, allow extra time to file claims and authorize payment to pharmacies for up to a 90-day supply of any prescription medication for individuals, regardless of when the prescription was filled.


The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has opened a COVID-19 hotline for residents to ask questions about the virus. The hotline is available in English and Spanish. Residents can call 210-207-5779. (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)  Information for the public is also available at:

Information regarding COVID-19 is also available in American Sign Language at this link:


What is it and who should practice it?
Social distancing is a practice in which people maintain safe distances from each other and avoid direct contact with high touch items in the community. Here are five ways to practice social distancing:
  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  2. Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places like elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand if you must touch something
  3. Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places and avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc
  4. Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick
  5. Clean and disinfect your home regularly, including routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces


The flu continues to be a much more serious issue in the U.S. than COVID-19. There is a higher incidence for elderly and people with chronic health conditions. Therefore, slowing the potential spread of the virus will help protect people at higher risk.

How do people become infected with COVID-19?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
  • Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing;
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands; and
What are the symptoms?
Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

At this time, CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

For more information, please visit the Metro Health website.

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