Find Answers & FAQ's

1. What to Know about Testing for COVID-19

COVID-19 tests are important tools for diagnosing COVID-19 infection. There are limitations to any test and these tests work best in diagnosing people who have symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

I don’t have symptoms and wasn’t exposed, should I get tested?

Consider holding off so that people with symptoms can get tested. 

Someone I know has COVID-19, should I get tested?

If you were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, then you should quarantine for 14 days from when you were exposed and stay separated from other people in your household. You don’t have to get tested if you don’t have symptoms. Get tested if you have symptoms — especially if you have obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease or other chronic conditions. Please do not go to the emergency department unless you have a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing.

I might have been exposed to COVID-19, should I get tested?

You don’t have to get tested if you don’t have symptoms. If you do get tested, then wait at least 8 days from when you were exposed (longer is better). If you were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, then you should quarantine for 14 days from when you were exposed and stay separated from other people in your household. Recent studies show there is a lower positivity rate in people who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms or who test too soon after exposure. If you develop symptoms, then get tested—especially if you have obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease or other chronic conditions. Find a list of testing locations. Do not go to the emergency department unless you have a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing.

What kind of test should I get?

Testing locations listed here use the recommended test, which is a nasal swab or a coughing and throat self-swab. Blood tests cannot be used to diagnose COVID-19.

How will I receive my test results?

If you are tested at the Freeman Coliseum or at a Walk-Up Testing Site hosted by the City of San Antonio:

  • You will receive a phone call if your test result is positive. The call will come from “SA Metro Health” on your caller ID.
  • If your test result is negative, you will receive a text message. The text message notification of a negative result will include a link to download a form that states the result is negative. This is a temporary link so download the form as soon as possible and save it for your records.
  • If you have not received your results within 72 hours, you can email covid@davacoinc.com or call 833.213.0643 and provide your name and date of birth, and your results will be emailed to you.

I was exposed and tested negative, now what?

If you were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, then still stay in quarantine the full 14 days — even if your test is negative — because it can take that long for symptoms to show up.

I was exposed and tested positive, now what?

Metro Health will call you to begin your case investigation. The call will come from a 210-207-xxxx number and will read “SA Health Dept” on your caller ID. Please answer the call or return the call to help public health workers contain the virus. They may ask additional questions to complete the contact tracing process and the information that is shared is 100% confidential. They will never ask your bank account number or social security number. Call your close contacts to notify them of the exposure and make them aware of appropriate quarantine measures. Meanwhile, stay separated (in “isolation”) from other people in your household for at least 10 days, and contact your employer’s Human Resources department for other directions. See a medical provider if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, trouble staying awake, or other warning signs.

I tested positive, when can I go back to work?

If you were tested because of symptoms, you can return to work after it has been 10 days since your symptoms started, your symptoms are better, and you haven’t had a fever for 24 hours even without taking fever reducing medicines. Most people don’t need a negative test to be cleared for work.

What else should I be doing?

Avoid crowds, keep a 6-foot distance, wear a face covering, and avoid touching your face without cleaning your hands first. Remember that people can pass on COVID-19 in the days before they feel sick, or without feeling sick at all. Monitor yourself for symptoms, and get tested if you have any — especially if you have obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease or other chronic conditions. Follow CDC and Metro Health guidance and for real-time updates, follow @SAMetroHealth on social media, watch daily briefings here, or text COSAGOV to 55000.

For Employers

Employers should follow CDC guidance. Visit Business Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Employers should not require a COVID-19 test result or a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick to validate their illness, qualify for sick leave, or to return to work.

  • Under the American’s with Disabilities Act, employers are permitted to require a medical provider’s note from your employees to verify that they are healthy and able to return to work. However, as a practical matter, be aware that healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely manner. Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care and can follow CDC recommendations to determine when to discontinue home isolation and return to work.
  • The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has established guidance regarding Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guidance enables employers to take steps to protect workers consistent with CDC guidance, including requiring workers to stay home when necessary to address the direct threat of spreading COVID-19 to others.

Read the letter from Metro Health about returning to work after being exposed.

2. Face Coverings

Should I wear a face covering when I go out in public?

The CDC advises all people over the age of two wear a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth when:

  • in a public place
  • patronizing businesses
  • it is difficult to keep six feet away from other people such as visiting a grocery store/pharmacy or working in areas that involve close proximity with other coworkers

Coverings may include:

  • homemade masks
  • scarfs
  • bandanas
  • handkerchiefs

Residents should continue to maintain social distancing of at least six feet while outside their residence.

Employers are strongly encouraged to provide face coverings to employees who are working in an area or activity which will necessarily involve close contact or proximity to co-workers or the public where six feet separation from other individuals is not feasible.

NOTE: IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU NOT OBTAIN OR WEAR MEDICAL MASKS or N-95 RESPIRATORS AS THEY ARE A NEEDED RESOURCE FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS. Our healthcare workers and first responders on the front­line combating COVID-19 must have priority access to medical masks or other personal protective equipment.

What type of face covering should I use?

Coverings may include homemade masks, scarfs, bandanas, or a handkerchief. Medical masks or N-95 respirators are NOT for public use, as they are in short supply and should be conserved for healthcare workers and first responders.

Is there a correct way wear a homemade or cloth face covering?

Yes, according to the CDC, cloth coverings should:

  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Individuals should be careful not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing.

Should I wash my cloth face covering?

Yes, the CDC recommends that cloth face coverings be routinely washed depending on the frequency of use. A washing machine should suffice in properly washing a cloth face covering or mask.

Where can I find instructions on how to make my own facemask or covering?

Information on how to make your own cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be found on the CDC website.

3. Case Counts, Symptoms, Prevention

How do I stay updated on COVID-19?

We encourage you to download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores, to receive updates on the COVID-19 situation in San Antonio. We also encourage you to text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates from the City of San Antonio. Please follow the Metro Health and City of San Antonio social media pages. We post updates frequently.

Find more information about how you can Stay Informed.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Not a runny nose, typically
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Find more information about Symptoms & Testing.

How do I prevent the spread of COVID-19?

We need your help in keeping our community safe. We’re asking everyone in San Antonio to help us by:

  • Staying home if you are sick
  • Practicing social distancing by avoiding crowded areas
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and disposing of used tissues in a lined trash can
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if soap and water are not available, clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly.

Find more information about what you can do to Stop the Spread of COVID-19.

Where can I get personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Medical personnel/first responders inquiring about how to get PPE should send an email to: rmoc213request@strac.org

Can the virus be spread by touching your eyes or changing your contacts?

Human coronaviruses like COVID-19 most commonly spread from an infected person to others through “respiratory droplets” which are expelled when someone coughs or sneezes. So, wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face, eyes and especially before taking out or putting in contact lenses!

Can COVID-19 only be spread when the person is symptomatic?

Human coronaviruses like COVID-19 most commonly spread from an infected person to others through “respiratory droplets” which are expelled when someone coughs or sneezes. In some cases, infected persons may not show any symptoms or may have very mild symptoms and can pass the infection on through contact and respiratory droplets.

What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?

If you are experiencing symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath please contact your health care provider. It is important to call before going into a clinic, urgent care, or emergency department, to prevent any potential spread.

How many people are confirmed cases in San Antonio?

For current information on confirmed cases in Bexar County or in the City of San Antonio, please view the COVID-19 Surveillance dashboard.

4. Childcare

What is the guidance for childcare providers?

Texas Child Care Licensing (CCL) urges all current providers to immediately implement the following guidance:

  • Prohibit any person except the following from accessing an operation: operation staff; persons with legal authority to enter, including law enforcement officers, HHSC Child Care Licensing staff, and Department of Family and Protective Services staff; professionals providing services to children; children enrolled at the operation; and parents who have children enrolled and present at the operation.
  • Before allowing entry into the operation, screen all of the individuals listed above, including taking the temperature of each person upon arrival at the operation each day, and deny entry to any person who meets any of the following criteria:
    • A temperature of 100.4°F or above;
    • Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and low-grade fever;
    • In the previous 14 days has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19; is under investigation for COVID-19; or is ill with a respiratory illness; or
    • In the previous 14 days has travelled internationally to countries with widespread, sustained community transmission.
  • Require pick up and drop off of children outside of the operation, unless you determine that there is a legitimate need for the parent to enter an operation.
  • Ensure that each child is provided individual meals and snacks. Do not serve family style meals.
  • Please remember to sanitize your operations, wash hands diligently, and have staff members stay home if they are sick.

5. Employees/Employers

I can’t work because of COVID-19. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

On 3/17/20, Texas Governor Greg Abbott instructed the Texas Workforce Commission to waive the waiting week, for Unemployment Benefits. In addition to waiving the waiting week, the Texas Workforce Commission is exercising its authority under the Governor’s declaration of a Statewide Disaster to waive Unemployment Insurance work search requirements effective immediately.

Please visit WorkforceSolutions Alamo for resources. They are updating their website daily to reflect job seeker, business and community resources:

Can my employer require me to get a negative COVID-19 test before I return to work?

It is always important that employees who feel ill stay home from work until fully recovered. At this time, Metro Health encourages employers to allow employees to return to work without getting a doctor's note. We cannot test employees without symptoms who have been absent from work. Only individuals who meet certain criteria for COVID-19 are tested. If you do not meet the requirements, you will not be able to be tested and provide a negative test.

A downloadable Return to Work Letter is available that you can share with your employer.

6. Housing & Evictions

Bills

I need assistance paying my bills or relocating. Where can I go for help?

The City has programs to assist qualifying households with rent, mortgage, utility, and relocation expenses.

Bexar County Temporary Rental Assistance Measure (TRAM)
Provides up to 1 - 3 months of temporary rental assistance to residents whose income has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fair Housing and Emergency Assistance
Effective March 18, 2020, the City's Fair Housing Division is accepting emergency rent and mortgage assistance referrals
Risk Mitigation Program
Rent, mortgage, utility, and relocation assistance for low to income households. Visit the website or call 210.207.5910.
Utility Assistance Program
Utility assistance administered through the Department of Human Services for low income households. Visit the website or call 210.207.7830.

The following resources are also available.

The Salvation Army Rental Assistance
The Salvation Army assists individuals and families who are struggling to pay their rent. They are also able to assist those facing eviction.
SAMMinistries
Offers rental assistance, utility support and long-term housing assistance.
Fair Housing Council
The Council's programs and services, such as complaint investigation, advocacy, and education & outreach are available to consumers living in this South Texas service area.

I am unable to pay my utility bills during this time, will they get shut off?

CPS Energy & SAWS are suspending disconnections during the COVID-19 crisis. If you need help paying utility bills apply online or call 210.207.7830. The Texas Public Utility Commission may also provide assistance by calling 866.454.8387.

Will I still receive a utility bill for my water and electricity payments?

Yes, you will continue to receive bills from the utility companies. For help paying your bills, go to:

I need help paying my rent or mortgage. Where can I go for help?

You can get help paying your rent from the City’s Emergency Housing Assistance program online or by calling 210.207.5910.

I am unable to pay my property taxes. What can I do?

The Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector canceled tax foreclosure proceedings through May 2020. On March 23, Judge Wolff suspended all foreclosure proceedings for the next 30 days via a Declaration of Public Health Emergency. For more information, call 210.242.2432 or go to Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector.

I am unable to pay my mortgage payment. What can I do?

On March 26, the Federal Housing Administration enacted a 60-day ban on foreclosures for federally-backed mortgages. Federally-backed mortgages come from HUD, USDA, FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Call your mortgage lender to find out if you qualify. Borrowers can request a forbearance from the lender for up to 60 days, with an option to extend another 120 days. For information on the federal loans go to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

What is a forbearance?

Forbearance is an agreement to pause your regular mortgage payments for a set period of time. During forbearance, your mortgage lender will not charge late fees. Ask your mortgage lender for more information on this type of agreement.

I am having trouble managing my money and need help.

For free help with budgeting or debt management, contact The City of San Antonio Financial Empowerment Center or call 210.206.5372

Evictions

What is an eviction?

An eviction is a legal process where a landlord removes a tenant from a rental property. Many evictions happen because the tenant has not paid rent, or even because the tenant is often late on the rent. Your lease may outline other reasons for eviction.

Is a Notice to Vacate the same as an eviction notice?

A Notice to Vacate is the first step in the eviction process, but it is not an eviction. By comparison, an eviction is a court order to vacate the unit.

Is there an eviction moratorium?

The Texas Supreme Court’s moratorium on evictions ended on May 18th. Bexar County Courts will not hear evictions until June 1 at earliest, but your landlord can file an eviction unless they are federally-financed.

About half of renters in San Antonio are protected by the federal moratorium as part of the CARES Act. CARES Act properties cannot serve Notices to Vacate or charge late fees until August 31st. To find out if you are covered, search your property name or address.

If you live in income-qualified housing or you pay rent with a voucher, you are protected.

I got a Notice to Vacate or am being charged late fees, but I think I live at a property covered by the CARES Act. What should I do?

If you live in a property covered by the CARES Act and received a Notice to Vacate or late fees, you can file a complaint the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA). All complaints must be submitted in writing to TDHCA.

If you want to submit your complaint yourself but do not have access to the internet or have a disability, submit a compliant over the phone by calling 512.475.3800 and ask to speak to a staff member in the Housing Resource Division.

I am an off-campus college student but have moved home because my campus is closed. Is my lease binding? What can I do?

Yes, most off-campus student housing leases are binding. Leases are effective even with colleges switching to online classes. They also cannot be broken due to financial loss or mental distress. Leases with force majeure or ‘frustration of purpose’ clauses may not be binding.

Available Relief Options
  • The CARES Act gave money to colleges and universities. The funding helps students with unexpected COVID-19 related expenses. Eligible expenses include food, housing, health care, online class materials, and childcare. The aid can help:
    1. U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens
    2. Students eligible to file a FASFA
    3. Students enrolled in the Second Chance Pell experiment
    How each school distributes these funds is largely at their discretion. Contact your school for details about available aid.
  • You can try to sublet your apartment.
  • You can try to work out an individual arrangement/payment plan with the landlord.

Please note, the Bexar County moratorium on eviction and late fees includes students. More information can be found in Executive Order NW-03.

I use a voucher to pay my rent. Am I protected under the CARES Act?

Yes. For more information, visit:

I am unable to pay my rent during this crisis. Can my landlord evict me? What steps should I take?

If you are unable to pay rent, talk to your landlord. They may help you make a payment plan or even change your lease.

You can also get help paying your rent from the City’s Emergency Housing Assistance program online or by calling 210.207.5910.

Your landlord can still give you a Notice to Vacate (NTV.) A NTV is not an eviction but is the first step in the process. If you get one, you do not need to leave immediately. Talk to your landlord and apply for help.

If you would like to talk to an attorney, you can request one through the link or phone number above.

Some programs that may help you pay rent are available on the Housing & Evictions page or see Rent & Mortgage Help.

I am a homeowner and unable to pay my mortgage during this crisis. Can I be evicted?

On March 26, the Federal Housing Administration enacted a 60-day ban on foreclosures for federally-backed mortgages. Federally-backed mortgages come from HUD, USDA, FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Call your mortgage lender to find out if you qualify. Borrowers can request a forbearance from the lender for up to 60 days, with an option to extend another 120 days. For information on the federal loans go to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)

I am a San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) resident or voucher holder. Can I be evicted?

Currently, SAHA will not give lease violations, notices to vacate or issue non-criminal evictions until further notice. This applies to you if you live on a SAHA property or Beacon Community. The CARES Act offers renters protections through July 24th. If you have a voucher and do not live on a SAHA property or Beacon community, the CARES Act applies to you as well. Get more information at SAHA or call 210.477.6999

Related Questions

I am a landlord, what should I do if I am not able to collect rent from my residents?

It’s important to remember that we are facing this crisis as a community and it will have an impact on all of us. Industry groups are encouraging their landlord members to waive late fees for those residents impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, as well as urging members to work with those residents on any needed payment arrangements.

I think that I am being discriminated against for housing. Where can I get assistance?

If you are experiencing housing discrimination or have a fair housing issue contact:

I have a legal issue related to my housing. Where can I get assistance?

For legal assistance contact the Neighborhood and Housing Services Fair Housing Team online or call 210.207.5910.

7. Seniors

I’m over 65 or immunocompromised. How do I keep myself safe?

Take Action

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Be Prepared

Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions, such as lung or heart disease, diabetes seem to be particularly susceptible to COVID-19. Older adults should take the following precautions:

  • Make a plan to prepare yourself if you get sick.
  • Know who will take care of you if your caregiver gets sick.
  • Talk to your doctor to have enough medication on hand if you get sick.
  • Stay informed on what is happening locally and avoid crowds.
  • Call your doctor immediately if you develop warning signs such as difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or blueness of the lips or face.

I’m a senior. Where do I go for help?

Senior Centers

All Senior Center members enrolled in the Senior Nutrition Program will receive meal distributions and San Antonio Food Bank commodities at the Senior Centers during the closure.

Senior Centers Operated by the City of San Antonio Department of Human Services are Currently Closed until Further Notice

Seniors needing a meal or food bank commodities can contact the Department of Human Services Senior Center nearest them for services:

For more information: City of San Antonio Senior Services Division: 210.207.7172 or call 311

More Resources

 

8. COVID-19 Questions? - Ask the Chat Bot

Common Questions About COVID-19

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