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Rapid COVID-19 testing opens up in SF’s Mission District

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — A new COVID-19 testing and response effort began in San Francisco’s Mission District on Sunday.

The rapid testing site at the 24th Street BART Plaza aims to serve the city’s hardest hit areas like the Latinx community in the Mission.

The new testing effort is a first of its kind in the city and provides more than quick testing results.

A line wrapping around the 24th Street/Mission Station BART Plaza in San Francisco on Sunday, where a new rapid COVID-19 testing effort begins in the Mission District.

“We’re truly intending to target the hardest hit community, the essential workers, folks without insurance, people who know they’ve come into contact with someone and need that test to make sure they’re OK,”

According to city data, Latinx and Hispanic residents make up 15% of San Francisco’s population, but make up nearly 44% of the 26,282 confirmed coronavirus cases in the city.

And here, according to the city’s cumulative cases map, the Mission has an estimated case rate of 544 cases per 10,000 residents — with more than 3,200 confirmed cases to date.

Jon Jacobo of the Latino task force says that’s why they started this new effort here, to help a community being underserved and to provide more than just testing.

“We are doing BinaxNOW tests which means you go in and take that test in the morning and within two hours we’re going to have the results back to you, just about,” Jacobo said. “But also at the Latino task force, we don’t believe testing by itself in underserved communities is enough so in addition to rapid testing we are providing rapid response, meaning you are going to get food if you need it, cleaning supplies if you need it or a hotel connected to the city if that’s needed.”

The site takes feedback from participants and also provides informational fact sheets on the vaccine.

The rapid testing site will operate Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and run through Jan. 29.

However, Jacobo hopes to extend its operation and believes the new testing effort will be key in bringing city case numbers down. 

“We know that if we have been at our peak 15 times more likely to have COVID, we know that if we take care of this community, we take care of all of us and so that is what the focus and importance is and why it’s there but it’s really to take care of all of us,” he said.

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