Community Labs.
Community Labs Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

San Antonio is turning the page on yet another chapter of the coronavirus pandemic. Community Labs, a local nonprofit that launched last year with the goal of testing thousands of people for the coronavirus every day, announced Monday that it would be closing its public COVID-19 screening sites and turning its focus entirely to testing in schools.

The nonprofit ran several public sites that offered free rapid coronavirus testing. Results were turned around within 24 hours, and the organization administered more than 800,000 tests throughout the course of the pandemic. In mid-January, Community Labs reached a peak of testing 3,000 people per day.

“Community Labs answered the call from the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and Bexar County when our community was in crisis. I’m proud of how quickly our team was able to begin administering free, PCR COVID-19 screenings to quickly identify asymptomatic “silent spreaders”, to help suppress the spread of the virus,” said Sal Webber, president of Community Labs, in a press release.

The organization said it would continue its weekly screenings at more than 230 local school campuses. At many of those schools, screenings will continue for students and staff for the rest of the summer. That work will be important, as thousands of area students plan to attend summer school this year.

President Joe Biden’s summer goal of vaccinating at least 70% of adults by July 4 appears to be in jeopardy as fewer people have been electing to get the jab. In an address earlier this year Biden envisioned a Fourth of July that all Americans could celebrate in a manner resembling normalcy. States in the South and Midwest, such as Oklahoma and the Dakotas, are driving the slowdown, according to The Washington Post. Read the full story »

If you have a friend who has yet to get vaccinated, would a free beer be enough to entice them? Anheuser-Busch announced recently that if the U.S. does reach Biden’s goal of fully vaccinating 70% of the adult population by July 4, it’ll buy a round of beers (or any of its products) for every of-age American. Here’s more »

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who sits on Pfizer’s board, said Monday that fully vaccinated Americans will be protected against the coronavirus throughout the summer, but a booster shot could be needed by the fall.

Gottlieb, who led the FDA from 2017 to 2019 in the Trump administration, said more clarity on timing could arrive in the coming months.

“I think as we get into the fall, we’re going to have to look at giving, especially the vulnerable population, boosters,” Gottlieb said, predicting that those discussions will be more of a focus after July 4.

Read more at CNBC.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that he plans to sign a bill that would discourage businesses from requiring customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The governor had already prohibited Texas government agencies and other public entities from enforcing so-called vaccine passports. Passed in the last few days of the legislative session, Senate Bill 968 bans businesses from mandating that customers provide proof of their vaccination. Violators of the ban would not be allowed to contract with the state and could face revocations of certain licenses or permits. Read more from the Texas Tribune »

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers in Bexar County, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services:

  • 2,391 active cases
  • 101 seven-day case average
  • 1.2% positive test rate
  • 3,583 deaths
JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez

JJ Velasquez is a columnist at the San Antonio Report. A former reporter and editor at the SA Report, he currently works as a project manager for New York City-based Advance Local.