After 500,000 Tests, SF’s Mass Testing Site at Pier 32 Closes June 15
The Department of Public Health and the COVID Command Center announced today that, because of the City’s high vaccination rates and subsequent decline in demand for COVID-19 testing, San Francisco will close the Embarcadero high-volume testing site on June 15 and Alternative Testing Sites (ATS) in early July and provide testing through a network of low-barrier community access points and a robust mobile testing system to meet existing demand and better align with the current prevalence of COVID in the community.
The effectiveness and availability of COVID-19 vaccines has dramatically driven down case rates, hospitalizations, and community spread and the need for testing. Currently, nearly 80% of San Franciscans eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination have received at least one dose; and as of June 7, San Francisco’s case rate was 1.5 per 100,000, 18% lower than the state representing a 96% decrease in San Francisco COVID-19 diagnoses since January. Hospitalizations are at their lowest point since the pandemic began and the average number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in San Francisco declined by 96% since in January; from 372 to 13 as of June 7.
Testing has played a critical role throughout the pandemic and the testing data collected has allowed the City to address health and socioeconomic inequities as it deployed resources and stood up vaccine sites in areas with higher COVID-19 test positivity.
Over the past several months, test positivity has declined along with demand for testing. As of June 7, the City’s COVID-19 seven-day average positivity rate – the percentage of tests that return a positive result – was 0.59%, down from 5.36% since the last peak in January and 13.43% in April of 2020. The City currently collects 3,100 tests daily, a 67% reduction since December 2020.
Since it opened in April 2020, the CityTestSF Embarcadero Testing Site at Pier 30/32 – operated in partnership with Color Health – was remarkably successful with nearly 500,000 appointments and test results returned within 36 hours 99% of the time. The site, one of the nation’s first mass testing sites available to the public, began as an effort to test essential workers and eventually reallocated appointments to support mobile testing efforts at communities disproportionally affected by COVID-19.
Where Can I Get Tested Now?
ATS locations were implemented in July 2020 to provide low barrier, culturally competent access to COVID testing for San Francisco Health Network (SFHN) patients and residents of neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19. Moving forward, the ATS locations will continue to provide testing for SFHN’s patients and residents of these communities.
Low-barrier access to testing in priority neighborhoods will continue with all City operated sites expanding evening and adding weekend hours as well as offering drop-ins and on-site registration. Existing community testing sites with high daily
capacity for testing include the Mission, Excelsior, Bayview Hunters Point, and the Tenderloin.
Additionally, essential workers and the general public can get tested at Alemany Farmers Market, which will expand testing capacity and accept appointments and onsite registration starting June 16.
Testing continues to be an important component of reopening our economy and stopping the spread of COVID-19, along with vaccination efforts. Individuals who are not vaccinated should get tested if they have COVID symptoms, were in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 within 10 days of their positive result (even if they do not have any symptoms), or have been asked to get tested by their school, workplace, healthcare provider, or the health department. Additionally, they might get tested if they plan to take part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 – such as attending large, crowded gatherings – or work in a setting where there is a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission, such as homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and settings with close contact with the public.
Those fully vaccinated should get tested only if they experience COVID-19 symptoms or if they work in a healthcare setting and are required to be tested by their employer.