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SF Gets Three New COVID-19 Drive-Thu Test Sites

Three new test sites for the public open by April 4, upping SF’s total to seven.
By - posted 3/27/2020 No Comment

Mayor Breed Announces Three New Drive-Thru/Drop-In Covid-19 Testing Sites For The Public And Additional Prioritized Testing For First Responders And Health Care Workers

Prioritized COVID-19 testing for front line first responders and health care workers will serve as an interim step to help preserve San Francisco’s capacity to serve the public during this emergency.

  • San Francisco expects to have seven drive-thru/drop-in COVID-19 testing sites by next week.
  • City-run lab has increased its capacity threefold.

Mayor London N. Breed and Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health, on Friday, March 27 announced prioritized COVID-19 testing for critical first responders and health care workers who are essential to the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as three new mobile testing sites available to members of the public who have a clinician referral.

Coming Soon: Three New Mobile Testing Sites for the Public

Opening the Week of March 30 – April 4

Mayor Breed also announced that the City has worked with North East Medical Services (NEMS), and Brown & Toland Physicians to establish three new mobile testing locations for the public in San Francisco. Patients will need a clinical referral to be tested at these mobile testing locations.

New COVID-19 Testing Sites
Patients need a clinical referral to be tested

  • NEMS Outer Sunset – Opening “early next week”
  • NEMS Chinatown – Opening “early next week”
  • Brown & Toland near Oracle Park – Opening “end of next week”

The three new sites augment the four COVID-19 mobile testing locations currently available through Kaiser Permanente,  One Medical (public) and UCSF, Sutter CPMC (prioritized for first responders)

The Sutter and UCSF locations are prioritized for use by their health care employees and first responders. The City is continuing to pursue additional testing partnerships and opportunities for expansion.

The San Francisco Health Service System (SFHSS) reached an agreement with the City’s two largest private health service providers, Kaiser Permanente and Blue Shield of California, to prioritize COVID-19 tests for San Francisco first responders and health care workers showing symptoms of the virus. Kaiser and Blue Shield are making these changes across their entire network.

Supporting this agreement, the Department of Public Health (DPH) issued a health advisory this morning to San Francisco clinicians and labs to similarly prioritize testing for these two classes of workers, in addition to high-risk and vulnerable populations.

Read the Full Press Release

DPH continues to test City employees who have been exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace and are experiencing symptoms. However, COVID-19 is present in our communities and first responders and healthcare workers may also be exposed in other ways.

As an interim step, San Francisco first responders and health care workers who are covered under the City’s Kaiser or Blue Shield health insurance plans can contact their primary care physician starting today and indicate they are in one of the two priority COVID-19 test classes.

Upon confirmation that their symptoms indicate that a COVID-19 test is needed, their test will be prioritized along with other tests for high-risk, vulnerable patient classes. The City is also expanding resources available to first responders and healthcare workers through SFHSS and its nurse triage hotlines to assist them with getting tested.

In addition, the San Francisco Department of Public Health Laboratory this week has increased its testing capacity three times. By automating certain parts of the process, the DPH Public Health Laboratory can now run 150 tests per day, up from 50. The testing turnaround time is one to two days and typically much faster than other laboratories, which allows the City to take quicker action to conduct contact investigations and minimize spread.

The expanded availability of testing is expected to increase the number of positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in San Francisco. As of March 24, San Francisco along with other Bay Area counties issued a health order requiring laboratories performing COVID-19 tests to report all testing data to state and local health authorities. The City is working with UCSF and UC Berkeley to use these data and develop models to understand the spread of virus in the community and inform strategies.

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