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?

If you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you are considered asymptomatic. Limited asymptomatic testing is available for free at the locations listed above. Results are available within 24 hours. For more information, visit

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 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. COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

The City of San Antonio is providing initial vaccinations to those most at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Individuals have been placed in two groups, designated as Phase 1A and 1B. For more details regarding these groups, please visit the Vaccination page.

If you qualify for the vaccine under the Phase 1A or 1B categories, you may proceed to register for an appointment.

Is there a cost for the COVID-19 vaccine?


Will I need an appointment?

Yes. You will need to make an appointment. Appointments are available based on the quantity of vaccine received.

Is there a waitlist for appointments?

At this time, there is no waitlist. Appointments are first come first serve for the priority populations.

Where do I go for my appointment?

Please see the Location information on the vaccination registration page for directions and arrival instructions.

What do I need to bring with me to my appointment?

You need to bring an ID and wear a face mask.

What proof to I need for my chronic health condition?

No proof is required. We are relying on the honor system and hoping people will be respectful of the process.

I have a chronic health condition that is not listed on your website, am I still qualified for Tier 1B?

The state leaves the door open by saying that the list provided is not comprehensive. If you have questions about whether you should take the vaccine, ask your primary care doctor.

How will I schedule my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

You will need to schedule an appointment for your second dose. You can schedule it at the same location or ask your doctor if their office can administer the second dose. You do not need to take the second dose at the same location, but you must use the same manufacturer as you first dose. (i.e.; If you received the Moderna vaccine at your first dose, you must receive the Moderna vaccine for your second dose. Your vaccine may not be effective if you do not use the same manufacturer for your second dose.)

How long do I need to wait to get my second dose?

The timing between your first and second shot depends on which vaccine you received. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.

  • If you received the Moderna vaccine, you will need to wait at least 24 days after your first dose.
  • If you received the Pfizer vaccine, you will need to wait at least 21 days after your first dose.

You will need to complete the series of the 2 shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after receiving the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.

When will more vaccine be available?

At this time, we do not know when we will receive more vaccine. We will keep everyone updated by sharing all updates on social media. Look for @SAMetroHealth on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Do you have to be a San Antonio resident to register for an appointment?


What should I expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

  • Common side-effects
    • On the arm where you got the shot:
      • Pain
      • Swelling
    • Throughout the rest of your body:
      • Fever
      • Chills
      • Tiredness
      • Headache
  • If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You can also contact a Federally Qualified Health Center.
  • If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.
  • CDC is also implementing a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you should also receive a v-safe information sheet telling you how to enroll in v-safe. If you enroll, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

I got my vaccine, now what?

It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

I made an appointment, but can I give my appointment to a family member who is more high-risk?

No, the registration is not transferrable. Each person needs to register individually. Registration will be confirmed at the site for each person. Multiple registrations for the same person will be cancelled.

What if I need to reschedule or cancel my appointment?

We cannot accommodate a reschedule or change to an appointment at this time.

How do I get second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine at the Alamodome?

Metro Health will be scheduling second dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments on-site after patients receive their first dose at the Alamodome to streamline the scheduling process.

Patients who received their first dose of the vaccine at the Alamodome from Jan 11 - 12, will be receiving a phone call from Metro Health to schedule their second dose. If a person missed a call from Metro Health and would like to schedule their second dose they can call 311 and select option 8 or email


3. 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.

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

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:

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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Housing & Evictions


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.
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


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.

8. Schools

Virtual Town Hall FAQ

View the City's virtual town hall that took place on Wednesday, August 5. The meeting discussed concerns and safety measures for the upcoming school year.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19?

COVID is primarily spread person to person. Everyday actions to prevent transmission include:

  • Maintaining a 6-foot distance from people outside your household.
  • Frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds.
  • Using a face covering that covers the mouth and nose.
  • Avoid sharing utensils, face coverings, musical instruments, drinks, or other high touch personal items.

COVID may be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your own mouth, nose, or possibly your eyes. Surfaces that people frequently touch such as doorknobs, faucets and handrails should be frequently cleaned.

A cloth face covering should have two or more layers. A face shield is not considered a face covering.

People exposed in an outdoor setting have less risk of acquiring COVID-19. Yelling, singing, and playing wind instruments can increase risk of spread.

What are symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID symptoms may include:

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

Fever is defined as 100.4 or higher (a cutoff of 100.0 is recommended for screening at workplaces).

People with these symptoms should be excluded immediately from the school environment, evaluated by a medical professional and tested to rule out COVID. Find free testing sites here.

If no test is performed, then a symptomatic person should remain in isolation until at least 10 days after symptom onset, symptom improvement, and 24 hours fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

Is it true that children are more contagious than adults?

Children can definitely get COVID-19, but we still do not know much about children and their contagiousness. We need more information about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it (SARS-CoV-2) to know how much children spread the virus. From some studies it appears that children, particularly children under 10, might be less contagious than adults.

How long does COVID-19 live on a surface?

The virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, can survive for between hours to days on some surfaces. It survives longer on glass, wood, plastic and stainless steel (3-5 days) than on cardboard or fabric (less than a day). The amount of virus on a surface decreases over time, so risk of infection goes down. Risk of infection from touching a surface also decreases if that surface is in the sun. The virus is easily killed by commonly used disinfectants.

The CDC recommends cleaning (with soap and water) and disinfecting high touch surfaces regularly. This list of disinfectants that work to kill SARS-CoV-2 includes many standard household disinfectants (like bleach).

Should young kids be able to use the playground? I just think of how many kids are touching the equipment. Should we be worried about that?

All playground equipment should be cleaned regularly, according to school protocols. Children should try not to touch their eyes or mouth and wash their hands before and after playing, and hand hygiene should be used frequently. The CDC has guidance on the cleaning of outdoor spaces.

Should all students and staff be tested before returning to school?

The current guidelines do not recommend testing students and staff who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 before they return to school. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should be isolated and tested immediately. Find information about symptoms and how to get tested.

How long can you test positive for COVID after an RT PCR positive with symptoms?

People who are sick with COVID-19, but not sick enough to be hospitalized, are infectious/contagious for 10 days after they start to feel ill (develop symptoms). If people are hospitalized, they are infectious/contagious for 20 days after they start to feel ill.

However, the COVID-19 test for active infection (the RT PCR, NAAT or antigen test, not the antibody test) can stay positive for longer than someone is infectious. In some cases for the RT PCR test, people have tested positive for 8 weeks after their symptoms are over and they are no longer infectious. This is why the CDC and we do not recommend re-testing to find out if someone is still infectious. The RT PCR test detects RNA fragments of the virus and not viable (living) virus.

What is the process if a student tested positive? What happens if a teacher gets COVID-19?

The Texas Education Agency (TEA) offers specific guidance for this in their guidebook and in their responses to various scenarios within schools.

An overview is that, if a teacher or student tests positive:

  • They should isolate themselves from others immediately and inform the school.
  • The school should notify the local health authority by calling 210.207.8876.
  • The school is required to notify student families, teachers, and staff in writing.
  • The school should follow appropriate cleaning protocols and collaborate with the local health authority for following up potential contacts of the person with COVID-19 (case investigation and contact tracing).

Much more detail and guidance on these individual steps is available from the TEA:

When can someone who had COVID-19 return to school?

People with COVID-19 can return to work or school after it has been 10 days since their symptoms started, symptoms are better, and they haven’t had a fever for 24 hours even without taking fever reducing medicines. A negative test should not be required.

Recovered persons should not be retested for COVID-19 for at least 3 months after their initial positive test, even if exposed to COVID-19 again during those 3 months.

How do I report a case to Metro Health?

Within 24 hours of notification of the positive result, report to Metro Health by calling 210.207.8876. You will be asked to provide:

  • Person’s Name
  • Person’s Date of Birth (DOB)
  • Person’s Address
  • Person’s/Guardian Contact Information
  • Testing Location
  • Symptom Onset Date (if known)
  • Grade or Job Position
  • Class Schedule/Teacher’s Name(s), if the case is a student
  • Last Date at School
  • Extracurricular Activities 

What are some considerations when contact tracing at a school?

Consider potential exposures from:

  • Transportation to/from school
  • Afterschool programs, extracurricular activities
  • Tutoring, specialized classes
  • Affiliations, close friendships, romantic relationships
  • Meal times and break times

People with underlying health conditions are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19. This includes:

  • older adults
  • people of any age with
    • obesity
    • type 2 diabetes
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
    • cancer
    • history of a solid organ transplant
    • serious heart conditions
    • sickle cell disease

Read more here.

What should be done after an exposure in a daycare, school, college or university?

Please see CDC guidance here. We anticipate further TEA recommendations shortly.

NOTE: Someone who was a close contact to a person with COVID-19 should quarantine/isolate for 14 days, even with a negative test. A negative test is just a snapshot from the date the test was performed, and the virus can incubate up to 14 days.

What kind of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) does a school nurse need?

Recommendations for school nurses caring for people with suspected COVID-19 include: a fresh, fit-tested N95 mask each day and eye protection (face shield or goggles). Fit testing is an OSHA requirement, and a user seal check should be performed each time a mask is used.

For hands-on care of a symptomatic person, gloves should be worn, and an impermeable gown if there is splash or spray risk.

Nurses should have thermometers, biohazard disposal, at least a 2-week supply of PPE and a handwashing station.

Please advise on the use of face shields vs face masks.

All children should be encouraged to use face masks while indoors, particularly when they are within 6 feet of others. Face shields add protection for the eyes and the rest of the face in addition to face masks. We do not know how much using a face shield without a face mask protects you.

If one of my children is told to stay home because they have been exposed to COVID19, do I keep my other school aged children home as well? What about the rest of my family? Should the exposed child quarantine or be isolated?

The child should be separated as much as possible from the rest of the family. The rest of the family does not need to quarantine unless the child develops symptoms. However, one adult may need to stay home to supervise the child.

What are requirements for a school isolation care room?

Each school should have one or more isolation care rooms, which is a designated place to safely evaluate and hold a person awaiting transportation. Students should be escorted to the isolation space. The area should be away from other students and staff, allow privacy of the evaluation, and have a clear sight line for a supervising adult. It is best for this space to include a cot that can be wiped down and cleaned easily, a dedicated bathroom, and exterior exits to prevent sick individuals from mixing with healthy staff and students. Ideally, isolation care areas are located on an exterior wall to maximize ventilation options. Anyone who enters a designated isolation care room must use appropriate PPE and should be logged to facilitate contact tracing.

Bear in mind that isolation is not a diagnosis; it is a recognition that someone is sick, and needs extra care. Take steps to reduce fear, anxiety, and stigma related to isolation.

After the individual leaves isolation care, the room must be closed and cleaned before it can be used again. The CDC recommends waiting 24 hours before cleaning; if that is not possible, then wait as long as feasible. The area where the individual was originally showing symptoms also must be cleaned and disinfected.

Preguntas de Salud Publica del Foro de Escuelas Virtual - español (Spanish)(PDF, 156KB)

9. 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