A forthcoming public health order will require tests for all San Francisco residents and workers at nursing homes beginning next week, according to Mayor London Breed’s office. The goal is to repeat testing on a two-week cycle. The order is likely to be the first in the state requiring universal testing for COVID-19 in nursing homes.
“Testing asymptomatic residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities is a decisive move to protect these most vulnerable people, and their caregivers, who are at high risk of an outbreak,” said San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax, in a release.
As of April 29, the California Department of Public Health reported outbreaks at seven of San Francisco’s 21 nursing homes, including Laguna Honda, where a spike in cases nearly two months ago prompted a barrage of health orders and other responses from public health officials.
State health officials have suggested that people in congregate living settings are the highest priority for COVID-19 testing. This week Gov. Newsom said there’s not enough testing in long-term care homes. Los Angeles is considering taking steps similar to San Francisco's order.
Breed says the directive is a key step toward testing everyone in the city.