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Community Labs to expand testing to Bexar County schools

The collaborative non-profit organization is focused on identifying silent spreaders of the coronavirus to create "safety zones."

SAN ANTONIO — Wide-spread coronavirus testing will be coming soon to more Bexar County school districts.

“We want to keep San Antonio open,” said Sal Webber.

Webber is the President of Community Labs, a collaborative non-profit organization focused on identifying silent spreaders of the coronavirus.

“Our take on the best approach to this pandemic is to develop as a high volume screening capability where we can screen the healthy people, and the people who might be infectious, and then let them know as quickly as possible,” said Webber.

Community Labs has designed a process where large groups can be tested for the virus, and results are provided in less than 24 hours.

The process uses a PCR test to quickly identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus, so infected individuals can quarantine.

Webber said the process of testing “micro populations” can help create what Community Labs calls “safety zones.”

“The idea is that you have micro populations that see each other every day. And a perfect example of that is a school,” said Webber.

Somerset ISD was the first school district to partner with Community Labs.

“What we wanted to do is define that micro population, test that population, make sure they're safe, make sure that parents feel safe sending their kids back to school,” said Webber. “And, what we're actually seeing in Somerset is, it is a very rapid increase in kids actually going back to school.”

Last week, Santikos Entertainment announced they would be partnering with Community Labs to test all their employees weekly.

The team at Santikos is very enthusiastic about joining us on this mission, and making Santikos a safe place for people to come in and get away from some of the madness that has been this pandemic,” said Webber.

Last week, Bexar County Commissioners approved $2 million in C.A.R.E.S. funding so Community Labs could expand testing to other local school districts.

“This new funding from the county, along with matching funds, is going to fund over 114,000 thousand tests for schoolchildren in and around the San Antonio area.  We're very, very excited, honored and we feel a great responsibility to use this money as effectively as possible to make sure schools are safe,” said Webber.

Community Labs said the testing is projected to begin the week of November 2.

Community Labs is also offering free COVID testing to asymptomatic carriers at two local community centers.  For more information, click here.

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