SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A coronavirus screening focused on San Francisco’s Mission District revealed that approximately one out of every 50 subjects living or working there tested positive, according to officials.
Results for testing that began in late April showed that of nearly 3,000 residents and workers in a Mission District census tract showed that 62 individuals or 2.1 percent have tested positive for active infection with the novel coronavirus. The test indicated that over half of those who tested positive were asymptomatic.READ MORE: COVID: FDA Expected To Authorize Mixing Moderna, Johnson & Johnson Booster Shots
The testing was conducted by Unidos En Salud, a unique cooperation between Mission community organizers in the Latino Task Force for COVID-19, researchers with UCSF, the City and County of San Francisco, and officials with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH). According to a press release, the effort was organized “to inform and mobilize a population that was not being reached by current testing and care systems.”
The test showed that overall, 1.4 percent of the participants who lived in the research area tested positive for COVID-19. On the plus side, more than half of those who tested positive — a total of 53 percent — reported experiencing no symptoms of COVID-19.
Of the test subjects, about 75 percent were male and an overwhelming number — 95 percent — were Hispanic or Latinx. The majority of those who tested positive — 82 percent — said they having been financially affected by economic fallout of the pandemic, while only 10 percent reported being able to work from home.
The project aims to determine active and prior COVID-19 infections by providing voluntary testing for all persons living in the specific Mission District census tract, regardless of symptoms. It also is evaluating a new community-based “test to care” program that will provide extensive follow-up support to those who test positive for the virus.READ MORE: UPDATE: Fast-Acting Good Samaritan Rescues Man Trapped In Burning Building In San Francisco
Due to the limited testing citywide, officials said it remains unclear how representative the results were for the city overall, although project leaders estimated that infection rates are considerably higher in the Mission due to the long-standing legacy of socio-economic inequities that contribute to the continued spread of the virus.
“The virus exploits pre-existing vulnerabilities in our society,” said Dr. Diane Havlir, chief of the UCSF Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General. “We have already seen that 84 percent of people coming into ZSFG for treatment for COVID-19 are Latinx, and our community-based screening study emphasizes how high infection risk continues to be for this population. Hopefully, with this data we can respond and start putting resources to work towards more equity in supporting this highly impacted community.”
The initial findings covering current infections provide critical information for public health officials in gauging how widely the virus is spreading in the community. Results of antibody tests to assess prior infections take longer to process and are expected later in May.
Earlier Monday, San Francisco announced it would allow all essential workers, regardless of symptoms to get tested for COVID-19 in San Francisco.
“We’re making free COVID-19 testing available for everyone who is going in to work, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not,” Mayor Breed tweeted on Monday morning. “We’re making free COVID-19 testing available for everyone who is going in to work, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.”MORE NEWS: PG&E Blames Overnight Power Pole Fires On Rain, Dust, Dirt, Salt Accumulation
San Francisco workers can schedule an appointment to get tested for COVID-19 at http://sf.gov/gettestedsf or call 311.