For members of the media, please contact:
Laura Mayes, City of San Antonio (210) 207-1337
Michelle Vigil, City of San Antonio (210) 207-8172
For questions from the general public, please contact:
COVID-19 Hotline (210) 207-5779
INFORMATION CURRENT AS OF 4:00 PM
SAN ANTONIO (March 9, 2020) — The City of San Antonio has provided the following information for residents seeking information about preventing the spread of COVID-19. Currently, there are no community 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.
Social Distancing: 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 six ways to practice social distancing:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- 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
- Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places and avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc
- 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
- Clean and disinfect your home regularly, including routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces
- Maintain a six-foot distance from others in public settings
Local COVID-19 testing
The City of San Antonio is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and has asked that the operation remain on federal ground and use federal resources to ensure local hospitals and medical capacity are prepared for potential community spread of COVID-19. San Antonio currently has a very limited number of test kits and is expected to receive additional kits by the end of the week, at the request of local officials.
Who is at a higher risk?
According to the CDC, current knowledge of COVID-19 has shown that older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease are a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
What should you do if you feel sick?
If you are feeling sick, call your primary care physician’s office before going in. If you do not have a primary care physician, visit any urgent care or walk-in clinic in the community after calling ahead. If you need to call 911 because you are experiencing severe and/or life-threatening flu-like symptoms and/or respiratory issues, be prepared to answer additional questions. Additionally, San Antonio Fire and EMS are practicing social distancing. If you see EMS crews keep a distance, don’t be alarmed, the crews will evaluate the emergency and respond as appropriate. Depending on the care you need, San Antonio Fire and EMS may decide to wear additional personal protective equipment, do not be alarmed. These measures are being used to maintain the safety of first responders.
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: www.sanantonio.gov/health/2019ncoronavirus.
Information regarding COVID-19 is also available in American Sign Language at this link: http://sat.ahasalerts.com/ActiveAlerts.aspx?id=1334
Six practical COVID-19 prevention tips:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
What to know about COVID-19 testing:
- If you are feeling sick, call your primary care physician’s office before going in.
- If you do not have a primary care physician, visit any urgent care or walk-in clinic in the community.
- Community physicians and other clinical providers have access to CDC protocols to determine whether or not patients qualify for COVID-19 testing.
- Local testing for COVID-19 is currently available only by sending samples to the CDC, in coordination with Metro Health and the CDC.
- People who do not have CDC-defined symptoms and exposure history will not be offered testing for COVID-19.
- If you need additional information call the Metro Health hotline at 210-207-5779. (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.).
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:
- 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.