Starting next week, San Francisco will begin testing all skilled nursing facility residents and staff.

The City has 21 operating SNFs regulated under the state health department. The facilities have been a hot spot for outbreaks throughout the Bay Area as many residents are seniors with underlying health conditions and are especially vulnerable to the virus, health officials said.

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement that the ultimate goal is universal testing for every resident throughout The City.

Health officials have continued to expand testing capacity, enabling the ability to test all residents who present Covid-19 symptoms.

Colfax said:

“We have focused first on mitigating outbreaks, protecting vulnerable populations, following case contact investigations and testing of frontline workers. As we have made progress in those areas, we grew to test everyone with symptoms, and we are expanding again. Testing asymptomatic residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities is a decisive move to protect these most vulnerable people, and their care givers, who are at high risk of an outbreak.”

<a>Peter Kaminski</a>/Flickr Laguna Honda Hospital, a skilled nursing facility in San Francisco, Calif.

The first round of SNF testing will take approximately one month to complete. Tests will be conducted at Laguna Honda Hospital Monday — there are 21 confirmed cases at that one facility as of Friday, city officials said.

After all facilities have been initially processed, The City plans to establish a regular testing cycle to occur every two weeks.

Mayor London Breed said in a statement:

“We responded quickly to the outbreak at Laguna Honda, and we’ve learned a lot during our ongoing response that can help the other skilled nursing facilities in the city. Complete testing of staff and residents in all of San Francisco’s skilled nursing facilities is the next step in our commitment to vulnerable populations and universal access to testing.”

California Department of Public Health staff will primarily administer tests but will train facility personnel so they can begin administering tests on their own.

According to the CDPH as of April 29, a total of 2,697 healthcare workers and 4,711 residents have been infected with Covid-19 at skilled nursing facilities across the state.

As of 9 a.m. Friday, San Francisco health officials reported a total of 1,523 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 28 deaths related to the virus.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn covers transportation and City Hall in San Francisco for SF Bay. Email: jerold@sfbay.ca. Twitter: @Jerold_Chinn. Instagram: jeroldwashere.

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