SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — People across the Bay Area are scrambling to get tested for the coronavirus once again due to the Delta variant, but many are finding it is not as easy to get a test appointment this time around.
Signs that read “Appointment Only” are clearly posted at San Francisco’s newest high-volume testing site that reopened Wednesday. The site on 7th and Brannan can test 500 people per day.READ MORE: Oakland Ties 2020 Homicide Total in First 9 Months of 2021
But many are trying to walk-in, claiming they have an urgency to get tested anyway.
“Now I have to wait a few weeks before I have time off and get it done. That’s kind of stupid,” said San Francisco resident named Mark.
The city’s testing map shows some sites with drop-in availability, but hours are often limited. Getting to a site farther away can be a logistical challenge.
“I have been concerned about getting a test. I’m vaccinated. I don’t have a lot of time because I work a lot,” said Mark.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health wants major health care providers to do more to provide tests during the surge in demand.
“I have been experiencing some symptoms like sore throat and fatigue so I’m going in just to make sure,” said a San Francisco resident who gave her name as Christine.
Health officials are urging people — including travelers — to get tested through health care providers or buy home-testing kits, instead of using city-run sites.READ MORE: Advocates for Immigrant Rights March From Santa Rosa to Healdsburg
“Anytime we set up something that is for the public or for public consumption and we try to make it low barrier, we run a risk of people using it who may have other options,” said Dr. Andrea Tenner of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Nancy and John Taylor, who were visiting from out of state, planned ahead and locked in appointments.
“It was all part of what we do every time we travel and we’re around our grandchildren. We make sure we’re tested,” said Nancy Taylor.
“Delta variant has made it difficult. We’re vaccinated too,” said John Taylor.
The city says it is testing 5 to 10 times what each of the private healthcare systems is doing daily.
“We have to work together to try to make sure that we can provide the services that people need to get them through this,” said Dr. Tenner.
In San Francisco, the number of daily tests has doubled since July, approaching the city’s capacity of 5,000 a day.MORE NEWS: Pelosi Expects House to Pass Infrastructure Bill This Week
The San Francisco Department of Public Health is keeping a close eye on case data and demand to determine whether officials need to open up more mass testing sites. So far, there is no definitive action or word yet on whether they will do that