San Francisco Health Department to Cut COVID Test Site Hours of Operation Due to Staff Shortage

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – With the omicron variant soaring, experts say demand for COVID testing has never been greater. But a Bay Area city said it was forced to cut testing appointments during this critical time.

The lines for COVID testing are long no matter where you are in the Santa Rosa Bay area in Antioch, where California National Guard troops are now assisting at this testing site.

We are here to support whatever they need, which is a good thing, ”said Sgt. Victor Del Real of the California National Guard.

In San Francisco, there was a long line Sunday for testing at school district headquarters, stretching around the block. Some parents waited two hours.

RELATED: Some Bay Area Families Wait Over 7 Hours for COVID PCR Tests

“With omicron on the rise, it’s important to get tested,” said Stefanie Garcia, senior at Lowell High School.

SFUSD says it performed 11,000 rapid tests in the past week and distributed 57,000 home test kits.

It’s great that they do these testing sites, the lines are long but people are diligently getting tested, ”said parent Liz Maino.

Even a member of ABC7 News’ vaccination team, Dr Alok Patel was recently challenged to find a test after he had possible exposure to COVID.

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“I tested negative for several days on a rapid antigen but wanted to confirm with a PCR test and had to go through my doctor and wait more than an hour in line, it is not a luxury that everyone a, “Patel said.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health is now warning of test site slowdowns next week. He tweeted:

“On Monday, some SFDPH affiliate sites will temporarily reduce testing hours due to issues beyond our control. Please check your health care system first for testing, do not go to the emergency room for testing.”

San Francisco supervisor Matt Haney calls this unacceptable.

“This is something we need to prepare for, we should have back-up plans,” Haney said.

RELATED: SFFD Urges Public To Avoid Calling 911 For Non-Emergencies When There Is A Staff Shortage

Haney says the public health department told him that some COVID testing sites were experiencing staff shortages at a time when COVID was on the rise.

“Day to day testing capacity is reduced in the biggest increase on record in the pandemic, so we need more responses, more oversight and accountability,” he said.

Haney says he will convene a hearing next week to discuss solutions to keep test sites open, or even increase capacity.

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