Unfortunately for the local paranoiac community including myself, there will be no on-demand testing for the coronavirus at the new SF facility, but test turnaround time will go down to one or two days from seven.
"This is a benefit to our community because it will speed testing and results," says San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax, saying that the city will have its own testing kits and be able to respond quicker to possibly infected patients than the CDC. Up to now, all tests had to be done through the CDC's lab in Atlanta and required a full week's turnaround.
Colfax assured us — and freaked us all out further — Monday, saying "For San Francisco, it’s not a matter of if but when" there's a confirmed, locally derived case. There have now been several in both Santa Clara and neighboring San Mateo counties with no discernible connection to anyone who traveled to an affected country. And because up until a week ago no one was being tested who had no travel connection, the novel coronavirus known as covid-19 may well have already begun circulating in San Francisco as it has in nearby counties and in the Seattle area.
As KPIX reports, SF Public Health officials are prioritizing populations within the city that are most vulnerable to becoming sick or dying, which includes the elderly and chronically ill. Those patients will still need to reach out to their own physicians first who will determine if they ought to be tested for the virus. And, Colfax added, "There is no on-demand testing at this time."
Photo via National Cancer Institute