Free testing underway this weekend in San Francisco neighborhoods hit hardest by COVID-19

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Starting Saturday, one of the areas hit hardest by COVID-19 in San Francisco will have the chance to get tested for free.

Testing sites will go up in Bayview, Sunnydale and Visitacion Valley.

Kevin Epps took a video on his cell phone moments after he was rushed to the hospital with what he later found out was COVID-19.

"I don't know what's going on," Epps said in the video. "I woke up with a shortness of breath. Help yourselves. Take care of yourselves."

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The community activist says he recorded it for a very specific reason.

"I just kind of put it out there to make sure my people my community knows like this is real," Epps said.

His community is San Francisco's District 10, which includes the Bayview, Visitacion Valley and Sunnydale.

The area has the second highest rate of COVID-19 in the San Francisco, and the highest concentration of communities of color.

Now, the same groups that tested thousands of people for free in the Mission District, are coming together to do the same thing in District 10.

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"Well this initiative is vital," Epps says. "Because if you're a carrier just think about not just yourself but the people around you that you can impact the people that you love, your aunties your grandmothers."

Dr. Kim Rhoads is spearheading the effort on behalf of UCSF.

"As a black faculty member at UCSF I felt that it was imperative for me to get involved," Dr. Rhoads says.

Dr. Rhoads was inspired by testing she saw take place in the Mission.

There, more than half the people who tested positive were asymptomatic, which means they couldn't have spread the virus unknowingly.

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That's why Dr. Rhoads says the initiative is not just about testing, but about support.

"The response is to support people to be able to self-isolate or quarantine if they test positive for the virus so that they have an opportunity to heal themselves and allow for the virus to get out of their system," Dr. Rhoads says. "So when they come back into the general population circulating they are not infecting other people."

Still she and community partners know some people may have concerns.

That's why District 10 supervisor Shamann Walton says he went and got tested with Mayor London Breed.

"We did that so that we could demonstrate one that the test is safe," Supervisor Walton says. "And let everybody know that we want to be an example and practice what we preach because it is very important. The only way we're going to stop the spread is to know who has it."

The testing will be at Leola Havard School on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Monday and Tuesday, testing will be at Herz Field from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

They are still looking for volunteers so if you'd like to help out, or register to be tested, you can do so at here.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here

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