San Francisco essential workers who must leave their homes during shelter orders will now have access to free Covid-19 testing regardless of symptoms or exposure.

The increased access announced Monday morning is a phase of city health officials’ efforts to ramp up citywide universal testing. Previously, essential workers had to present virus symptoms as a testing condition.

Praising essential workers for keeping The City moving during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mayor London Breed said in a statement:

“They continue to show up every day, often at great personal risk, and I am so grateful to them. Now that we have our testing program established and are certain that we can test everyone with symptoms, we want to extend to them the opportunity to get tested more easily—for peace of mind and to take action if needed to protect themselves and their families.”

Jesse Garnier/SFBay SFBay Covid-19 dashboard, San Francisco cases by day as of Monday, May 4, 2020.
Open SFBay Bay Area coronavirus dashboard in new window.

Elaborating on the method of test expansion based on needs and available resources, Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement:

“We focused first on people with symptoms – in outbreaks, vulnerable populations, case contact investigations and among essential workers. As the circle keeps widening, we now can test more people without symptoms, including close contacts, residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities and essential workers.”

So far, 25,165 people have been tested for Covid-19 and 1,624 people have tested positive for the virus, the department said as of 9 a.m. Monday. Health officials have recorded 29 deaths related to the virus.

Workers can be tested for free at one of two CityTestSF sites — one in the South of Market and one in The Embarcadero. Appointments can be made online at the CityTestSF website.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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