San Antonio’s COVID-19 Self-Screening Tool

In March of 2020, COVID-19 was at a reasonably high point, especially in Texas. My school was closed, and I was learning through online school via Zoom. On March 15th, my family was watching the news. We saw our mayor talking about a shortage of testing kits for COVID-19. I am always looking to give back, so I sent a message offering some help in developing some software to the CIO of San Antonio, Mr. Craig Hopkins.

Within a day, he responded, saying that would be wonderful. He requested a simple survey that people can quickly fill out to see if they should get tested. I took the initiative to build the website with the help of some professionals.

I had some decent programming knowledge from the classes I took over the past couple of years that helped me start the website’s process, but it was nowhere near enough to what the city government was asking. I spent many hours learning more about how I can make the website within two days. 

After I gave the city government a draft for the website. They said it looks great, but many things need to be added. Previously, they only gave four questions on the survey, but now they had sent ten more. I worked on updating the website with additional questions and logic and sent it back to them for review.

Their IT team and Metro Health Department continued to provide more feedback. After four days of going back and forth more than a hundred times, we finally came to a finished product. The website looked great, and it was ready to be launched.

The next day on March 23rd, the city launched the website on the official city website. Within a few hours, there were some bugs. I went ahead and fixed them all and then updated the site. Many people from other cities, states, and even countries began to use the website, but it was only meant for people in San Antonio. This error was huge because the data of the survey was entirely off. I worked on adding a zip code field when users fill out the form to track if the data is from someone in the city; otherwise, there would be an error stating that this tool is only for San Antonio people. We updated the version again. Since than there have been many iterations based on changing CDC guidelines, city opening up more testing centers and adding more resources for users. There have been over 150,000 users so far, and more come every day.