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Covid testing sites in San Francisco reduce hours due to staffing shortage

Four Covid-19 testing sites affiliated with the San Francisco Department of Public Health will temporarily reduce its hours as residents continue to scramble to find either home test kits or endure waiting in line for hours at testing sites.

Officials with DPH said contractors at the four sites are experiencing Covid-related staffing shortages and an increase in processing times at laboratories due to the current high demand of testing. The department estimates the reduced hours will decrease capacity to 4 percent, or about 250 tests per day out of the seven-day average tests per day of 6,000 at DPH-affiliated testing sites.

At least one site, the Southeast Health Center in the Bayview, will have its hours reduced by three hours just on Monday. The hours for Monday are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then the site will return to its normal hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, officials said.

The Ella Hill Hutch site in the Western Addition will have its hours reduced by three hours in the afternoon, starting Monday. The new hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Additionally, the site at Alemany will reduce its hours in the evening and will now close at 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. The site opens at 8 a.m.

Beginning Tuesday, the South of Market site will open from noon to 6 p.m. — a reduction of three hours in the morning.

Despite the reduced hours, officials said they have increased capacity at DPH sites since the omicron surge, with some sites operating 500 percent to 900 percent above capacity before the surge.

Since the omicron variant began to spread in December and became the dominant variant, requests testing has rapidly increased in The City. Data from DPH shows the seven-day rolling average tests per day at 9,082 as of Jan. 2. The figure includes all testing sites affiliated with DPH as well as private providers.

The virus is spreading fast as data from The City shows. San Francisco’s rolling seven-day average cases per day is 1,245 as of Jan. 2, surpassing previous surges. As of Thursday, there were 157 people hospitalized with Covid-19 citywide.

More information about where to get tested for the virus can be found online at http://sf.gov/gettested. Officials said Saturday to not go to the emergency room for a Covid-19 test.

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