SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – San Francisco is now offering coronavirus testing to every adult in the city with a symptom. The hopes is that it will help close the city’s current testing gap. So far, the testing sites are operating far from capacity.
“It took like five seconds, the time to put the thing up your nose and rotate,” says Pedro Frota. “Yeah, it’s kind of annoying, but it’s easy.”
Frota was among the handful of people who came by the South of Market test site Wednesday morning. He says he does not feel sick, but he has one symptom and wanted to take every precaution. His biggest challenge, he says, was figuring out that he could be here.
“It took me forever to find out the link that would give me access to the test,” Frota says. “I had to hear from other people who had done the test before, but I couldn’t find the link.”
Between public hospitals and the two SFCityTest sites, San Francisco now has the capacity to test as many as 5,800 people per day, but is only testing about 500 or so.
When KPIX asked about this during the mayor’s press conference, public health officials said they were just rolling out their testing program.
“So it’s only been within the last week that we have increased, or expanded, the symptoms that will qualify someone for testing,” said Dr. Susan Philip with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
The service is available to any adult in San Francisco, but it’s not clear how many people are aware of that. The “by appointment” flashing on the sign outside does not mean one needs a doctor’s referral. All a city resident would have to do is go to the city’s website, list one symptom and schedule a visit at one of the two test sites. There is no charge for the test, and the city says it does expect more people to start taking advantage.
“So you will see the numbers reported, of tests completed in San Francisco of residents go up over the coming days and weeks,” Philip says.