Coronavirus testing access has been expanded to all essential workers and residents without access through other means who show symptoms. (Courtesy Tyron Jue/SFFDPH)

SF expands coronavirus testing to all ‘essential’ employees with symptoms

Access to coronavirus testing has expanded to include public and private essential workers in San Francisco and any resident who cannot otherwise access COVID-19 testing, Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday.

Essential workers and residents must be experiencing symptoms to make an appointment for the tests, which are available at two sites under a program called CityTestSF. The sites can accomplish 1,500 tests daily.

The expansion gives testing access to those who work in places like grocery stores and restaurants and who are delivery workers or social workers. Scheduling of the tests can be done online at Doctors’ notes are not needed to schedule a test, but they must have one of a number of symptoms, including a fever, cough or sore throat.

“Our goal is for every San Francisco resident who has symptoms of COVID-19 to have access to testing. We want to ensure all frontline and essential employees that leave their homes every day to serve our residents have a fast, easy, and accessible option for testing,” Breed said. “We also want those who don’t have insurance, or who lack access to health care or access to basic services to know they can be tested through CityTestSF and receive the support and health care they need.”

The CityTestSF site at Piers 30-32, which operates as a drive-thru and walk-thru site, is for health care workers, first responders and essential workers. It can accommodate as many as 1,000 appointments a day.

Last week, the site expanded to include access city contractors and city-contracted nonprofits, in-home supportive services workers, janitorial staff, homeless service providers and street cleaners.

The other CityTestSF site is in the SoMa, which can complete about 500 tests a day.

“The expansion of CityTestSF is a leap forward in our fight against the coronavirus,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health. “It is critical to test essential workers and other people with symptoms, so that swift action can follow to provide care, contact investigation, and isolation and quarantine to reduce the risk of further exposure and slow the spread of the virus.”

The City’s effort to test at these sites is a partnership that includes Color, a health genetics testing lab that has shifted operation to test for COVID-19. The lab can provide results within two days.

There were 12,054 people tested for the virus to date in San Francisco and 1,233 confirmed cases. Twenty-one people have died from the virus. All but one was over the age of 60 and had underlying health conditions.

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