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Transit hub serves as COVID-19 testing site in UCSF study on impact in Latinx community

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A transit hub in a densely populated area served as a COVID-19 testing site for high risk essential workers. 

The location was part of a UCSF study focusing on the alarming impact of COVID-19 in Latinx community. 

UCSF Mission Plaza COVID-19 pilot study preliminary results are in. 

Researchers say the low barrier COVID testing at a major transit hub finds ongoing high transmission in Latinx essential workers.

“We definitely found that this low barrier approach is acceptable. During these six half-days. We tested 2,622 persons. We were testing up to 100 persons per hour. The yield per testing was high. 9% of the persons that we tested were PCR positive. For perspective, if we look at the Embarcadero the yield positivity was 1%,” Dr. Diane Havlir, UCSF Chief of infectious diseases and global medicine, said. 

The study was done in partnership with the Latino Task Force for COVID-19. 

Health committee chair Jon Jacobo says the results show the city needs to focus targeted testing in the areas most impacted by the coronavirus.

“In many ways it’s great that we have testing on the Embarcadero and in other parts of San Francisco. The strategy must come into the communities where we know infection is higher. We know that it’s 9% in the Mission District. We know the Bayview is deeply impacted, we know the Excelsior is. So strategizing to ensure that we can get low barrier, easy access testing with quick turnarounds has to be a primary push,” Jacobo said. 

One of the major contributing factors for why COVID-19 is prevalent in the Latinx community is mixed messaging, says Latino task force for COVID-19 member Susana Rojas.

“There are people saying conflicting messages. The masks are not necessary. They don’t really work or that it’s all a hoax,” Rojas said.

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