Public Health officials began offering free coronavirus testing Saturday in the Mission District in an effort to get a clearer picture of COVID-19’s spread in key San Francisco neighborhoods where infection rates are believed to be the highest in the city.
Officials hope that the information will arm them with key information they need to better battle the virus.
A line formed early outside of Flynn Elementary School, one of four free testing sites in the Mission District. At least 2,000 people have already pre-registered for the testing, which will also check for antibodies.
The tests will take place over the next four days.
“That’s why we need to find out who’s infected, and who has already had it,” said Dr. Diane Havlir, chief of the Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine division at UCSF. “So we can devise some really, really good strategies.”
Supervisor Hillary Ronen is concerned that President Trump’s tough immigration policies could scare away some in the Mission’s Latinx community, especially undocumented immigrants.
“Immigrants have been threatened by the federal government that if they accept assistance, it will be considered a public charge and they will not be able to adjust their legal status,” Ronan said.
Ronan and other community leaders said that if people need housing and testing they can get it without fear of retaliation.
“I have to tell everyone how important it is right now to be part of this, so we can find solutions and so we can fight COVID-19 out of the Mission,” said Tracy Brown of the Latino Task Force for COVID-19.
The district has seen a disproportionate amount of cases among its Latinx community. Some people wonder if the tight living quarters or the fact that many in the Mission work essential jobs plays a part.