San Antonio is opening a large-scale coronavirus, aka COVID-19, testing site at Freeman Coliseum, the city announced on Wednesday, March 18. The site will administer up to 16 tests per hour, and all patients must be pre-approved.
Currently, testing is only available for those who have been pre-approved by a doctor. First responders, doctors, and VIA bus drivers may also be tested for COVID-19 and do not need pre-approval.
“This will allow us to do more testing for those who need it — and that’s the key: doctors will determine who needs the test,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg in a release. “For those who are pre-approved, we have tests ready.”
Those who do not have pre-approval will not be allowed onto the Freeman Coliseum premises.
San Antonio residents who believe they have been exposed to the virus and have symptoms should call their physician or an urgent care clinic for an assessment, and if appropriate, a referral, notes the release. Those who cannot afford a doctor’s visit should call Metro Health’s COVID-19 hotline at 210-207-5779.
Aside from Lackland Air Force Base, which has housed hundreds of people during COVID-19 quarantine, this is San Antonio's first large-scale testing site. The Texas governor has said mobile units could be deployed as early as this week, notes the San Antonio Current.
San Antonio leaders say the coliseum is a fitting setting for city's first large-scale COVID-19 testing site. Most recently, in 2017, the building helped house evacuees from Hurricane Harvey.
"[Bexar] County’s Freeman Coliseum has been a symbol of strength in our community and always stands ready to assist," said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. "Once again, the county and Freeman Coliseum are here to answer the call."