San Francisco offers free COVID-19 testing to children in Mission District to curb racial, financial disparities

The new equity metric starts on Oct. 6, and says a county like San Francisco has to prove that the positivity rate in a neighborhood like the Mission is not lagging behind the overall rate in this county.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- There is a big push in San Francisco to reduce the positivity rate in neighborhoods that have higher-than-normal cases of COVID-19. The Mission District which has many essential workers - is one of those neighborhoods. For the first time, children there were allowed to be tested.

Jessanie Gallegos, 11, had no hesitation in being tested for COVID-19. She showed up with her aunt and cousin. "It hurts a little bit but you have to get it over with," she said.

Her cousin Lilyana Guerra wanted to get tested because she divides her time between Antioch and San Francisco, living with two families.

"I travel from city to city. I go to a lot of places. I'm not used to staying in one house," explained Lilyana.

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Their aunt said a few months ago, she tried to get a test for her son through their private doctor.

"They were asking questions why, for what, and well, if he doesn't have symptoms, he can't get a test so having this opportunity for younger kids is super, super important," added Bianca Faddis.

This testing site at 701 Alabama Street in the Mission District is a collaboration between the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Latino Task Force. Testing is free every Thursday. No questions asked.

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"These are multi-generational households that live together and we know that the young ones are also in that same household," explained Jon Jacobo, who is part of the Latino Task Force

The state is trying to reduce the number of infections among certain groups like African Americans, Latinos and Pacific Islanders. All counties must now meet California's new health equity metric before moving to the next color tier.

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Basically, the new metric says a county like San Francisco has to prove that the positivity rate in a neighborhood like the Mission is not lagging behind the overall rate in this county.

The positivity rate here in the Mission has been four times higher than the entire city rate.

"If they want to get to this 50% opening of things and get back to some level of normalcy, they will have to prioritize investing in under-invested neighborhoods, the most marginalized, to ensure that they are also safe," added Jacobo.

The new equity metric goes into effect on October 6.

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ABC7 News has partnered with the Latino Community Foundation to present, "Race and Coronavirus: A Bay Area Conversation" a virtual and interactive town hall addressing the impact of COVID-19 on Latinos.

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