San Antonio Metro Health adds 3 free new mass COVID-19 testing sites

A surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and a growing demand for testing has prompted the city of San Antonio to open three new public, large-scale testing sites. (Courtesy UT Health San Antonio)
A surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and a growing demand for testing has prompted the city of San Antonio to open three new public, large-scale testing sites. (Courtesy UT Health San Antonio)

A surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and a growing demand for testing has prompted the city of San Antonio to open three new public, large-scale testing sites. (Courtesy UT Health San Antonio)

San Antonio Metropolitan Health District on Jan. 5 announced three new free COVID-19 test sites at the Alamo Colleges District Support Operations building, Palo Alto College and St. Philip’s College.

Local officials said adding the test sites will help to address community members’ rising demand for testing given the surge in omicron-related COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

No appointment is necessary at the new test sites where testing is done on a walk-up basis only. Results will be provided within 24 hours, local officials said.

“Because of the increased demand for people seeking to get a COVID-19 test, we know we need to do more—and we are,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “Today we are pleased to announce that we have contracted with the nonprofit organization Community Labs to offer an additional three new testing sites that will be in operation immediately. With these added sites, we now have the capacity to test many more people per day.”

The site at the Alamo Colleges District Support Operations building, 2222 N. Alamo St., is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays.



The Palo Alto College site is at Building 20 (Performing Arts Center), 1400 W. Villaret Blvd., and is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays.

The site at St. Philip’s College, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive, is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said the omicron variant is driving up hospitalizations and urges the community to do what they can to help ease the stress on hospitals.

“This burden on hospitals is affecting doctors, nurses and other key medical staff who are also getting sick and are having to miss work, unable to care for patients in our hospitals,” Wolff said. “If you haven’t already, get vaccinated.”

As far as hospitals go, local and state authorities have confirmed that the state is deploying more than 400 nurses to health care facilities across Texas to help both treat newly COVID-19-infected patients and non-COVID-19 patients who require other types of medical attention, including elective procedures.

Metro Heath Director Claude Jacob said it is vital that residents continue to have access to free testing, especially as the highly contagious omicron variant has become prevalent across the community.

“We encourage anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested so they don’t spread the virus to others if they are positive. We hope these additional testing sites will help meet and alleviate current demand,” Jacob said. “Remember that we have the tools we need to contain this virus. Please mask up, get vaccinated and get your booster shot if you’re eligible. Please do your part to protect San Antonio by staying home if you are sick.”

Community Labs President Sal Webber said his organization provided more than 135,000 polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests at several city of San Antonio locations between October 2020 and June 2021. PCR tests detect genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus.

“Since then, we’ve increased our lab capacity and streamlined our processes, which allows us to add new public sites to the ongoing testing we do at more than 300 area school campuses each week,” Webber said.

A full list of active free and paid COVID-19 testing sites organized by the city can be found at https://covid19.sanantonio.gov/What-YOU-Can-Do/Testing.

By Edmond Ortiz
Edmond joined Community Impact as a reporter in August 2021, helping to launch new editions in the San Antonio market. Edmond covers various beats in the North San Antonio coverage area. He previously was the main reporter for Local Community News, covering several areas in and around San Antonio, first as a freelancer and then staff member. Prior to that, Edmond was a community news reporter for Prime Time Newspapers and the San Antonio Express-News, including editing two community weeklies. He's a San Antonio native, and studied mass communications at San Antonio College and Texas State University.