COVID testing demand 'overwhelming' San Francisco community test sites

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As the demand for COVID testing has more than tripled across San Francisco in the past month, smaller community testing clinics are getting overwhelmed.

"We don't want to turn people away," said Susana Rojas, with San Francisco's Latino Taskforce. "It's exploding."

The Mission District has two COVID testing sites -- one at 24th and Capp that's open Saturday through Tuesday and another at 701 Alabama which is only open on Thursdays.

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"On Thursdays we see up to 550 people at 701 Alabama," she said.

Rojas told ABC7 the two sites are reaching capacity almost every day.

"There's a lot of people," said Walter Locke, a residents who got turned away due to capacity limits.

Alberto Anton Farris says the lines to get into the Mission's two COVID test sites have more than doubled in the past couple weeks.

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"I've seen two three cases pop up with my friends and they told me they went out to a club, starting feeling sick and then tested positive," said Farris.

The Latino Taskforce is working with the city to expand testing services to meet the demand in districts disproportionately affected by the virus. This includes the Mission District, an area that has reported 381 new COVID cases in the past two months. The only district surpassing that is Bayview and Hunter's Point with 458 new COVID cases reported in the past two months - the highest case rate across the city.

"We expect testing demand to increase just like it did for the fall and winter surges," said San Francisco Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax.

Rojas hopes the city will reopen some of the mass testing sites to help reduce the impact on smaller community sites. The San Francisco Department of Public Health says a decision hasn't been made yet as the city is 'still monitoring and assessing our current testing needs.'

The Latino Taskforce is also requesting more space in the hotels that allow patients to isolate and quarantine now that the positivity rate from the Mission's two test sites increased from five to eight percent in the past couple weeks.

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