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Bioscience-Medicine

Here’s what you need to know about getting tested for COVID-19 in San Antonio

Covid-19 antigen rapid test - Netherlands
Utrecht Robin
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ABACA via Reuters
COVID-19 antigen rapid test

These answers are provided by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. For a full list of questions and answers about COVID-19, visit the city’s website.

Omicron is now the dominant COVID-19 strain in the United States, and with winter holidays approaching, health experts in San Antonio have advice for protecting against the new variant.

San Antonio Metropolitan Health District recommends vaccination and booster shots, if eligible. President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that his administration plans to buy a half-billion at-home test kits and will mail them to people who want them, beginning in January.

When should I get tested?

Metro Health recommends getting tested before attending large gatherings or visiting older friends and relatives. Officials also recommend getting tested 5 days after an exposure to a person who tested positive for COVID-19 or as soon as you develop symptoms.

If you’re not sure where to start with testing, you can take the City of San Antonio’s self-screening quiz to see if you need a test.

Symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

What testing options do I have in San Antonio?

The city has a list of no-cost community testing sites, most of which require an appointment. Results take 1-3 days, but same-day PCR tests are available at Curative American Legion and Pittman-Sullivan sites.

Home tests are sold for $20-25 in drug stores and grocery stores in San Antonio. Those tests yield results in 10-15 minutes although there is a chance of user error, Metro Health says. These rapid antigen tests are less accurate than PCR tests, so Metro Health suggests repeat testing.

You can also buy home tests online, though cost varies and can be more than $100 for some tests. Both PCR and antigen tests are available online.

City-run, Curative COVID-19 testing sites will be closed Dec. 23-25 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1.

How much does testing cost?

The cost for testing should be covered by most insurance plans or through government-sponsored programs. If you do not have health insurance, view this list of free testing sites.

I am an immigrant and do not have health insurance. Can I get tested?

All San Antonio residents can receive a COVID-19 test regardless of immigration status. Identification is required to prove your identity, but the testing sites will accept forms of ID issued by a foreign government, such as a passport or matricula consular, according to the city’s website.

Are interpreters available at testing sites?

Testing sites and the city’s COVID-19 call center have staff who can speak Spanish. Interpreters for other languages are available by phone.

If I test positive for COVID-19, will I be deported?

No. Testing centers do not ask for your immigration status, and the privacy of your health care information is protected by law.

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