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High COVID positivity rate reported in San Antonio schools, peak still likely weeks away

Students can administer the test to themselves.jpg
Community Labs
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Students can administer the virus test to themselves.

The largest COVID-19 tester for local schools reports a high positivity rate among students returning from winter break.

Community Labs President Sal Webber described the positivity rate as the highest it has been since the delta variant hit in August 2021.

Webber said the current wave involving the omicron variant will likely peak in the last week of January or the first week of February.

"If we were looking at what happened last year, I think the shape of the curve will be similar to last year, but the amplitude is going to be larger," he said.

The locally-based Community Labs now offers free tests to 11 San Antonio School districts and other schools stretching south to Laredo. It serves around 300 school campuses.

Community Labs performs 50,000 tests each week in schools — about 200,000 tests a month.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Education News Desk, including H-E-B Helping Here, Betty Stieren Kelso Foundation and Holly and Alston Beinhorn.

Webber said Community Labs was prepared for post-winter break testing in schools.

"We saw this wave coming before Thanksgiving. We actually met with all the superintendents we serve the Friday before Thanksgiving and we let them know we were starting to see things in the data that looked like a wave was coming," he said.

Webber said they are prepared to test at other school districts if their services are sought out.

He said the test's rapid results mean ill students can be quarantined faster away from healthy students to limit the spread of the virus in schools.

Community Labs has provided 2 million tests since the pandemic began nearly two years ago.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian