Health workers are wrapping up testing at four temporary sites in San Francisco neighborhoods hard hit by COVID-19, and preliminary results in at least one location show a marked increase in test positivity rates during the coronavirus surge in the city, state, and nation.
Doctors, nurses and volunteers fanned out to test sites in the Mission, Bayview, Tenderloin and Excelsior neighborhoods for a handful of days before and after Thanksgiving, testing more than 6,800 people. The testing is part of a health initiative called Unidos en Salud, a partnership between UCSF, the community organization Latino Task Force, the City and County of San Francisco, and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.
The group has offered pop-up testing every few months since the start of the pandemic, running a weekly test site in the Mission on Thursdays.
Unidos en Salud co-founder and UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Diane Havlir says she was already worried about the high positivity rates when she saw them go even higher after Thanksgiving.
"At the Mission test site, post-Thanksgiving test positivity seems to be in the 9-10% range," Havlir wrote in an email. "The increase from 6% before the holiday likely reflects the serious and rapidly increasing trajectory in the city overall."
The numbers represent those who voluntarily took tests and are not representative of the Mission or the city as a whole, Havlir said.
Still, the numbers are high.
"(P)reliminary data suggest that the Latinx community, low-income individuals and front-line workers living in crowded households continue to be disproportionately affected," she said.