San Francisco this week will reopen a mass testing site for COVID-19, with health officials citing a local surge in coronavirus cases due in part to the highly contagious delta variant.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health and Mayor London Breed (D) said in a joint announcement Monday that the testing site opening on Wednesday will have the capacity to administer roughly 500 tests each day.
Testing will be available by appointment only and results are expected within 24 to 48 hours, the department said.
Breed said the reopening of the testing location is in response to increased demand amid the recent case surge. San Francisco is now averaging 230 new coronavirus cases a day.
“We know that the most important thing people can do to keep themselves and their friends and family safe is to get vaccinated, but with the Delta variant here and cases at a higher level than we’d like, testing remains an important part of our strategy to slow the spread of this virus,” the mayor said in a statement.
“If you feel sick, have symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, we want to make it easy and convenient for you to get tested,” she added.
The city health department said it would be reserving the early testing time slots for “disaster service workers who have been exposed to the virus as close contacts and for individuals involved in potential outbreaks of three or more individuals from separate households.”
San Francisco also plans to issue a health order later this week “requiring large healthcare facilities in the City to provide testing for patients, specifically those entities with acute care hospitals and associated clinics, offices, or urgent care centers, and medical practices with at least 100 licensed healthcare providers.”
“The order is designed to ensure that private health providers contribute fully to the City’s COVID-19 testing infrastructure,” the city said in Monday's announcement.
Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s health director, said in a statement that city officials were “responding to this fourth surge in COVID-19 by doing what we know works best — and that is vaccinations, indoor masking, and expanding our testing capacity once again with this new high-volume testing site.”
The reopening of the testing site follows Breed’s announcement last week that San Francisco would require people to provide proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities like going to bars, restaurants, gyms and city events.
The mayor said vaccinations also would be required for workers at health care centers, including dentist offices and residential care facilities.