The Perfect Enemy | S.F.’s COVID positive test rate hits second-highest level ever
July 7, 2022

S.F.’s COVID positive test rate hits second-highest level ever

S.F.’s COVID positive test rate hits second-highest level ever  San Francisco Chronicle

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The coronavirus test positivity rate in San Francisco, which tracks the percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19, topped 14% on Wednesday, according to city data analyzed by The Chronicle. That is the second-highest rate the city has reached to date.

The seven-day average climbed up to 18.9% this January during the winter surge before dropping to 2.4% in mid-March. It has been rising steadily since and is now far higher than the statewide average of 8.9%.

A rule of thumb among infectious disease experts is that 5% is considered “too high,” according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

San Francisco reached a pre-omicron peak of 13.4% in April 2020.

Alongside Santa Clara and San Mateo, San Francisco is the county with the highest coronavirus infection rate in the state. It reported an average of 57 cases per 100,000 residents as of Friday, the most recent day with confirmed data. That is up from about 43 per 100,000 a month ago. And that number is likely an undercount, since many people now rely on at-home tests that don’t usually get reported or added to official case counts.

Medical Assistant Cindy Mont, left, administers a COVID test on Victor Torres, a food delivery driver who delivers food to people under quarantine, at a community testing site managed by Unidos En Salud in the Mission District of San Francisco, California Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.

Stephen Lam / The Chronicle

The uptick comes as San Francisco’s new budget eliminates funding for multiple community coronavirus test sites in the Mission and Bayview districts, some of the city’s hardest-hit neighborhoods by the coronavirus.

“Our health programs would close in the next 30 days,” Ivan Corado-Vega, manager for the Latino Task Force, told ABC.

Community leaders say with the city experiencing another surge of cases and hospitalizations, the results of the cuts could be devastating.

“At our testing sites, we are seeing double-digit positive rates. At both of our sites here in the Mission. For the Excelsior site, we are seeing positive rates in the 20s, so COVID is here,” said Corado-Vega.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton said shutting down the testing sites is “devastating to our communities of need.”

Mayor London Breed’s office blamed state and federal officials for the lack of resources.

“There will be less funding overall for our COVID response in our upcoming budget,” it said in a statement. “But the mayor’s budget still includes $57 million for San Francisco’s ongoing COVID response in the upcoming budget, including $3 million for community hubs.”

Aidin Vaziri (he/him) is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: avaziri@sfchronicle.com