Positive COVID-19 rates in Mission District four times higher than San Francisco average

The overall COVID-19 rates are starting to decline in the Bay Area, not so in San Francisco's predominantly Latino Mission District, according to UC San Francisco.

Mission District resident Roberto Hernandez, an executive on the San Francisco Latino Task Force, says the results are frustrating.

"I know people who caught the virus and show up to the food hub for food. I have to send people home. We deliver," Hernandez said.

Such an anecdote is a piece of a troubling picture.

UCSF released the results from testing more than 2,000 people at the Mission and 24th Street Bart Station Plaza in August.

The rate of positive tests among Latinos was 11%. That is more than four times the positivity rate in all of San Francisco. 

Those on the task force say the government is not doing enough to help people here once they test positive.

"We are being provided with what's comparable to buckets of water to fight a 5-alarm fire," says SF Latino Task Force Executive Joe Jacobo.

They say the city needs to be more aggressive about getting those testing positive in the Mission into quarantine hotels, and provide wages for those with the virus who can't work from home.

"Figure out whatever the bureaucratic mess is and get us the resources to provide the solutions we need for our community," says Jacobo.

In a statement, San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said in part, "we must continue to expand investments in our COVID-19 response, including in the LatinX community."

"Put the money in the community so we can do that work ourselves," says Hernandez.

UCSF plans to conduct similar testing in a parking lot Oakland's heavily Latino Fruitvale District, which has a higher infection rate than most of the Bay Area. 

It's an effort to better understand how COVID-19 is spreading.

"The messaging needs to be different. The way we approach things. The way we do business here in the Fruitvale. Hopefully, this will give us the tools we need to get that message home," says Chris Iglesias of the Unity Council.

Health care workers say many residents can't work from home, are afraid of losing their jobs, and live in crowded conditions. Infection rates among children are especially high.

"Once the virus makes it into a household in our community it pretty much will spread and get to every kid in the home," says La Clinica Chief Medical Officer Paul Bayard.

UCSF hopes to test 4,000 people in the Fruitvale District, September 12th and 13th, with results coming back in four days.

Update Sept. 11: This event has been postponed to a future date because of the unhealthy air quality anticipated in the region due to wildfires in California, following guidance from the Oakland Fire Department. This story will be updated once a new date has been announced.