At the end of the week, San Antonians will have fewer COVID-19 testing options available to them following the announcement that the two remaining Community Labs testing sites are closing.
Community Labs said Thursday their two mass testing sites at the Alamo Colleges District Support Operations Building and the Wonderland of the Americas mall will close Friday, marking the end of operations for the nonprofit lab. Community Labs previously suspended its testing in schools.
“It has been an honor to serve the people of San Antonio and South Texas in this way,” said Sal Webber, president of Community Labs. He hinted the organization is not going away.
“… Now that demand for testing has decreased and the positivity rates are the lowest we’ve seen, we’re suspending operations. We’re not completely going away, though. We’re exploring other ways our nonprofit organization can serve the public health needs of our community.”
The nonprofit was founded in September 2020 by a group of local philanthropic organizations. It was initially funded by the 80|20 Foundation, the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, and The Tobin Endowment. It had been operated by BioBridge Global in collaboration with UT Health San Antonio.
Since its launch, more than 2 million tests have been administered. As testing first began at schools in Somerset ISD in the fall of 2020, Community Labs soon grew to serve 292 campuses weekly across 13 school districts. In addition, the organization hosted as many as 14 public testing locations throughout the city at various times.
At its busiest point, Community Labs was testing 6,000 people a day in addition to its continued testing at local schools, said spokeswoman Mary Japhet.
For a list of testing sites that remain in operation, click here.
Earlier Thursday, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District Director Claude Jacob said that after five consecutive weeks of being in the low-risk category for COVID-19, the local risk level has moved into the higher “mild” category.
“The last time we were at this level, low for five consecutive weeks, believe it or not, was this last fall just before” the omicron variant surge, said Jacob. “We do expect this pattern to continue to fluctuate.”
Positivity rates are rising, now at 5%, compared to last month’s rate of 2.3%.