San Francisco Announces Three New Testing Sites in Effort to Combat Hardest Hit Neighborhoods

© Frank San Nicolas/PDN

Monday morning San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax announced three new testing sites for COVID-19 to open up in the Tenderloin, Hunters View, and at City College. These new sites, among others, have been determined by the state as those with the highest need for testing.

The city of San Francisco has worked diligently so far to make equity a focus of their testing, even creating an equity task force as part of their COVID response team. These new sites have specifically been designed to help the neighborhoods and communities of those hardest hit by the pandemic which have been overwhelmingly been communities of color and communities of low income.

“Equity has been a central focus of the City’s COVID-19 emergency response, and ensuring access to testing is an important part of that ongoing effort,” an article published by the Mayor’s office stated.

The city has ramped up it’s testing capabilities in the previous weeks and with the addition of these three sites will increase the city’s testing capabilities by over 500 per day. The city’s outline for who can get tested are as follows:

  • Any worker that serves San Francisco and who leaves their home to work (regardless of symptoms or exposure)
  • Any person living in San Francisco with at least one symptom of COVID-19
  • Anyone who has been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19

The city’s first mobile test site will be serving the Tenderloin neighborhood (District 6) and will begin offering walk-through testing starting Wednesday, May 20. Done in collaboration with Verily, formerly Google Life Sciences, the mobile test center will first appear at the Tenderloin Recreational Center. After a currently unknown time the mobile center will be moved to another “high-need neighborhood.” Online appointments are strongly encouraged though GLIDE and Code Tenderloin staff, foundational community outreach programs, will be available on site to help those with barriers to making online appointments. The site will be able to conduct around 100 tests per day.

“A testing site in the Tenderloin will help ensure that testing is easily accessible and available to those who need it most,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney. “Tenderloin residents are especially vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 with many unhoused residents as well as people living in SROs with shared facilities and shelters. The neighborhood has many essential workers, people with underlying medical conditions, and seniors.”

The second site will operate through City College Student Health Center starting today. In partnership with OptumServe, funded through a contract with the state, the new testing facility will have the capacity to do around 130 tests per day by appointment. Dianna Gonzales, the college’s Interim Chancellor, was excited to be a part of the creative solution to use their facilities while the school continued to teach remotely.

The third site, located in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, will have a family focused testing mechanism that will service families with preexisting social services programming. Bayview Child Health Center, partner organizations, and the city will allow residents who are part of these existing programs to opt into a screening via telehealth appointments or sign up for a same-day examination by a physician in person. Those who test positive will have access to a hotel room to self quarantine. Furthermore, families will be provided sanitary items like face masks and hand sanitizer along with food distribution and educational literature about the virus. Testing will first be available Wednesday, May 20, through Friday, May 22, and will continue every Friday thereafter.

“In addition to having one of the highest rates of cases in the City, there are unique risk factors inherent to many families in this community, including higher rates of multigenerational households, chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes, transient housing, and essential workers,” an article published by the Mayor’s office stated.


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