News

COVID-19 testing capacity at an all-time high

COVID-19 testing capacity is at an all-time high, even as impacts on staffing and laboratories temporarily affect hours at four city testing sites.

In recent weeks, SFDPH-affiliated sites have greatly increased testing capacity, more than doubling the number of tests since the Omicron surge began in early December. Some sites have been operating at 500-900% above capacity levels before this surge. 

Beginning on Monday, the SFDPH contractor at four SFDPH-affiliated testing sites will be temporarily impacted with reduced hours due to COVID-related staffing shortages and because of an increase in processing times for test results given the high demand on laboratories across the country. We currently estimate that this will reduce SFDPH-capacity by about 4%, or approximately 250 tests per day out of the current 7-day average of 6,000 tests per day at SFDPH-affiliated sites. One site, Southeast Health Center, will experience a reduction in hours on Monday only, and then will resume normal operating hours on Tuesday. Updates on the hours of these sites will be shared as we learn more.  

We want to emphasize that we anticipate this to be temporary period of time, and the sites will continue to operate far above their designated capacity. Additionally, SFDPH is working to minimize the impact of this temporary reduction by bringing in additional resources to augment capacity, including over 150,000 rapid tests due to arrive early this week. SFDPH-affiliated sites have been increasing efficiency, and therefore the volume of tests, through supervised self-swabbing methods at some of the testing sites.  

SFDPH-affiliated sites currently account for about 60% of the tests administered at site locations in SF. While SFDPH’s testing capacity has been stretched to the maximum, SFDPH has asked that health care systems in SF do their part and meet the high demand for testing for their patients and members to get us through this critical stage.  

The four SFDPH-affiliated testing sites with temporarily reduced hours include: 

  • Ella Hill Hutch, reduction of three hours in the afternoon. (New hours: 8am-2pm) 

  • Southeast Health Center (SEHC), reduction of three hours in the morning on Monday only. (Monday only: 11am-5pm; then return to 8am-5pm on Tuesday) 

  • Alemany, reduction of two hours in the evening. (New hours: 8am-6pm) 

  • SOMA (7th/Brannan), reduction of three hours in the morning beginning Tuesday. (New hours: 12pm-6pm) 

We remind people to please continue to check your health system first for testing, if you have one. Do not go to the emergency room for tests.  

For updated hours of operation at SFDPH-affiliated and health system sites, go to: sf.gov/gettested