As part of a study and in an outreach effort aimed at the San Francisco community hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, free, fast testing will be offered two days a week at the 24th Street & Mission BART station.
This latest testing drive is being sponsored by UCSF, the City of San Francisco, BART, and the Latino Task Force, and as ABC7 reports, the tests will be offered Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the next three weeks, beginning tomorrow (7/29).
As Mission Local reports, signs in English and Spanish have gone up around the neighborhood advertising the program.
Since the pandemic began, communities of color across the country have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. An earlier UCSF study in April that offered both active-infection tests and antibody tests to everyone living in a single census tract around 24th and Mission found that of those who turned up COVID-positive, 90 percent were people who had to work outside their homes, and 95 percent were LatinX.
And according to city data, the Mission District remains one of the city's main hotspots for infections.
"Number one, we should protect people that are on the margins and most impacted because that's the right thing to do, but number two, if that's not your jam, you should do it because it helps protect you too," says Jon Jacobo, the health committee chair for the Latino Task Force, speaking to ABC 7. "If we were to reduce the amount of people that are infected here, that means they're not traveling to other parts of San Francisco where they work and passing that virus on to somebody else," Jacobo adds.
The team will bringing a limited number of tests and will be targeting essential workers who must commute to work.
Dr. Lucia Abascal, a UCSF clinician who manages contact tracing teams for the city, tells ABC7 that part of the problem when it comes to getting LatinX people tested is access to healthcare, part of it is economic and people needing to keep working, but part of it is also fear that the community will become stigmatized.
The people whom her team is contacting are often those who "feel like they need to go out and work to feed their families," she says. "Most of the people we are calling don't have access or aren't connected to a primary care physician, which is obviously an issue." And, she adds, "What the LatinX community is worried about is that they're going to start being stereotyped as the COVID-19 affected population, and that's going to change how people around them perceive them."