coronavirus testing

SF to Deploy Mobile COVID-19 Testing Vans as Cases Continue to Drop

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As COVID-19 cases continue to drop in San Francisco, city officials on Monday announced a new strategy to continue making COVID-19 resources available to neighborhoods that need them the most, via mobile testing vans.

Last week, a mobile testing van funded by the state began serving the Tenderloin, South of Market, and Bayview neighborhoods, and will continue to do so for the next 90 days.

In addition, starting next month, more mobile testing units will be available for the Tenderloin, Mission District, and Bayview through the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

The mobile testing comes as SFDPH officials prepare to close the COVID-19 testing site at Seventh and Brannan streets at the end of the month due to a low volume of cases. During its peak in mid-January, the site averaged 1,200 tests per day; however, that number has dropped as of last week to just 150 per day.

"We recognize that we need to be practical and nimble in the use of our resources and with a focus on health equity," SFDPH Deputy Director of Health Dr. Naveena Bobba said in a statement.

"We can scale up these mobile testing teams as needed if we have an increase in cases, and we can target locations where we know there is the highest demand and the most need for low-barrier access to testing. For most San Franciscans with health care providers, those providers are where you should go for testing. Over-the-counter test kits are also available from retail stores and other sources," she said.

Under the new mobile testing strategy, SFDPH officials will evaluate COVID-19 positivity rates throughout the city and decide where to station testing vans on a monthly basis. The locations of where vans will be available will be listed at https://sf.gov/gettested.

While the city has closed the SoMa testing site, SFDPH will continue to operate other testing sites, including those at the Alemany Farmers Market, Southeast Health Center, and Ella Hill Hutch.

During the omicron surge in January, the city averaged 16,178 tests daily, much greater than the 4,663 tests per day as of March 13, according to SFDPH data.

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