San Francisco now testing for possible coronavirus infections

San Francisco is now testing locally for any Covid-19 infections in the city.

One week after declaring an emergency in San Francisco city leaders announced the latest steps in combating the coronavirus. 

"We must be ready because we know it's coming," said Mayor London Breed. "It's not a matter of if, it's really a matter of when."
The city's director of public health said as of Monday morning the city is conducting local testing for coronavirus instead of sending those kits to Atlanta and waiting five to seven days for results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

"This is a benefit to our community because it will speed testing and results," said Dr. Grant Colfax from San Francisco's Department of Public Health(SFDPH). "Our lab will conduct testing seven days a week with a one to two day turnaround time."

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The health department said the tests will only be administered to those who meet CDC guidelines for testing, which means individuals will not be able to just walk into a hospital and request testing. Officials also said they are recruiting an additional 50 city workers to ramp up San Francisco's response. 

"These are members of the city departments that are considered disaster service workers to help with these efforts," said Mayor Breed.

The city also announced that it will be focusing on addressing the most vulnerable populations including the elderly, immune-compromised.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) said that it is continuing its practice of routinely cleaning of its fleet of vehicles at night.

San Francisco schools released its action plan saying it will be reinforcing messaging about proper hygiene, and developing plans in case of quarantines or school closures. The district said any decision to shut down schools would be made on a case by case basis in collaboration with the San Francisco Department of Public Health. 

"Our infectious disease specialist and our environmental health team are reviewing these protocols with the entities that you're talking about to ensure the steps that are taken are commensurate with the latest recommendations on how to best clean," said Colfax.

City leaders are saying they are working on plans for a regular update plan to release information about coronavirus as the situation unfolds.

In the meantime, all questions are being directed to the San Francisco Department of Public Health website and 311.