COVID-19 Response

$76.6 Million in ARPA Funding

  • $50 Million in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF)
  • $26.6 Million in Health Disparities Grant Funds

Nurse giving a vaccine shot to someone

The City of San Antonio allocated funds to assist in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the funding is from SLFRF, and was approved by the City Council in 2021. In 2022, the City received additional ARPA funding to assist with the pandemic response. These additional ARPA funds were allocated for Health Disparities grants.

State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds - $50 Million

These funds support the City’s response to COVID-19 by providing services to the community.

Community Testing
The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, referred to as Metro Health, initiated a contract with Community Labs, a local non-profit, to provide COVID-19 tests to San Antonio residents. This testing was primarily conducted because of the COVID-19 surge, and it ended due to a lower number of residents getting tested. Metro Health, San Antonio Fire Department, and Community Labs operated six COVID-19 testing locations in neighborhoods with high COVID index scores. Neighborhoods with high COVID index scores are those with the highest concentration of pre-existing health inequities, COVID cases and COVID deaths.
Contact Tracing
Metro Health initiated a contract with the University of Texas Health School of Public Health Houston, San Antonio Campus (UTSPH Houston) to assist with COVID-19 case investigations. UTSPH Houston trained staff to conduct case investigations on positive COVID-19 cases. Case investigations involved notifying the individuals and interviewing to gather information on symptoms, providing isolation guidance, and providing referrals for social resources. All contact investigative efforts were accurately and timely entered in the National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS)-based system (NBS).
Vaccine Incentives
Metro Health began issuing $100 H-E-B gift cards as an incentive to individuals receiving any COVID-19 vaccine in August 2022. These were issued through Metro Health’s main immunizations clinic and mobile pop-up clinics, and coordinated with community stakeholders in neighborhoods with high equity scores. All gift cards for this program were issued as of January 2023.
Community COVID-19 Hotline
This funding provided support to fulfill staffing needs for the City’s COVID-19 Employee Hotline. The hotline served City employees with reporting COVID symptoms, close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, received a positive COVID-19 test result, protocols after testing positive, and to address work issues related to COVID-19.
Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH)
Provides support for personnel in the MIH Blue Team during peaks. This program uses patient-centered mobile resources in the out-of-hospital environment. The program supports the wellness and healthcare delivery to our citizens. MIH extends the San Antonio Fire Department’s reach out into the community.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
Provides support for City personnel at the EOC during peaks. The EOC is the focal point for:
  • Information coordination
  • Resource requests
  • Decision-making during emergency response and recovery in Bexar County
Police & Fire Uniformed Backfill
Uniformed police and fire staff are unable to work when testing positive for COVID-19. This program provides funding to fill vital staffing shortages and includes proper COVID-19 tools and personal protective equipment.
Personal Protective Equipment & HVAC Supplies
Support to ensure the City workforce has proper COVID-19 tools and protective equipment.
Employee Support
The program supports the administration, reporting, and oversight of ARPA grants, and also provided:
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • COVID-19 testing for City employees
  • City employee COVID-19 vaccine incentives

Health Disparities - $26.6 Million

Communities with pre-existing health disparities face public health and economic challenges. The ARPA Health Disparities grant funds provide support to address these concerns. The San Antonio Metro Health District (SAMHD) manages these funds.

COVID-19 Response
This allocation provided support for COVID-19 case investigations, the latest prevention and control recommendations, data analysis, and reporting.
Health Equity & Social Justice
The initiatives in this priority area are cross-cutting and are intended to strengthen the City's ecosystem. This is accomplished by addressing structural racism and other factors, such as the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) that impact the health and well-being of all.
Access to Care
Health care is important to physical, social, and mental health. This initiative prioritizes access to affordable, quality, patient-centered health care. Initiatives include:
  • Conducting an assessment to understand how access to care has changed under Covid-19
  • Developing a Community Health Worker Hub to unite and train health navigators across San Antonio
  • Establishing a Clinician Ambassador Program to promote evidence-based public health practives among health practitioners
  • Establishing a medicolegal partnership to prevent and decrease medical debt
Violence Prevention
Violence is an urgent public health problem. From infants to the elderly, violence affects everyone and can lead to chronic physical, emotional, and economic problems. Metro Health is committed to preventing violence so that people of all ages can lead safe and healthy lives.
Initiatives include:
  • Expanding the City's domestic violence prevention program
  • Establishing a citywide Center of Excellence in Trauma-Informed Care
  • Expanding the City's Stand Up SA program to San Antonio's Westside
  • Expanding the service area of the City's Triple P Positive Parenting Program
  • Enhancing trauma-informed practices in the justice system
Mental Health & Community Resilience
Mental health problems are an increasingly large part of our community's burden of disease. To address this, we seek to ensure emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing through improved coordination of mental health services in our community.
Initiatives include:
  • Partnering with San Antonio Police Department and San Antonio Fire Department, to implement SA CORE, a multidisciplinary response team (MDRT) mental health pilot program
  • Expanding access to cognitive behavioral therapy for child survivors of violence
  • Enhancing our Project Worth Teen Ambassador Program through the inclusion of a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum
Food Insecurity & Nutrition
Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Addressing food insecurity starts with understanding the complex webs that make up food systems (production, processing, transport, and consumption), as well as the chronic disease burden often experienced by individuals with food insecurity. The initiatives in this priority area address the complex interplay between individuals, groups, community, and societal factors that have led to food insecurity and disproportionate chronic disease rates.
Initiatives include:
  • Serving as the backbone organization for the San Antonio Food Insecurity Workgroup
  • Using a Community Health Worker model to expand our Viva Health and Por Vida Programs
  • Creating a community-based education campaign
  • Expanding our Peer-Led Diabetes Prevention and Control Program
  • Expanding our Healthy Neighborhoods Program and Healthy Corner Store Project
Data & Technology Infrastructure
Updated data and technology infrastructure are essential to developing the foundational workforce and the advanced technological services required for robust, state-of-the art public health interventions.
Initiatives include:
  • Enhancing our epidemiology capacity and technological infrastructure to support infections disease reporting and investigations
  • Expanding the application of informatics across Metro Health programs
  • Improving our capacity to conduct next-generation genomic sequencing on infections diseases of high consequence
Operational Support
Metro Health’s operations section plays a critical role in the successful implementation of SA Forward. To support its rollout, operations will streamline operational efficiencies to:
  • Provide support to staff and stakeholders
  • Enhance staff communication and engagement
  • Expand opportunities for staff growth and development
  • Planning for SAMHD to maintain accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB)

Learn more about Metro Health's SA Forward Plan