The battle to thwart COVID-19 is now at the doorsteps of City College. On May 18, the Student Health Center became a new testing site that is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., thanks to San Francisco’s Emergency Operations Center. Those who are not experiencing symptoms can get tested at the Student Health Center.
Medical insurance, a doctor’s note, and photo ID are not required to schedule a test. Moreover, a test authorization number must be shown which the website issues to those who schedule an appointment online. It is required to wear a face covering, and people must check in with security guards and a nurse once people enter the Student Health Center.
Although the site is open to everyone, it targets the Excelsior, Outer Mission and Ingleside neighborhoods who were identified as having minimal access to COVID-19 testing.
Diane Carter, a San Francisco resident from District 4 said, “To the extent that CCSF is imbedded in a community that contains groups subject to ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities every site that can be opened to screen for COVID-19 in San Francisco is a wonderful positive step toward protecting all members of the community from a virus that we do not have any vaccine for at this time.”
The Student Health Center offers free testing by scheduled appointments on the City and County of San Francisco website. OptumServe, which is funded through a contract with the state of California, operates the testing service.
“OptumServe is responsible for the end-to-end testing process of our sites,” Aaron Albright from External Communications at OptumServe said. “We bring in the administrative and clinical staff. We provide the ability to make appointments for testing via our online portal, collect specimens, send to the lab for testing, and report results back to individuals. As for how long the site will be open, that decision will be up to the county working with the state.”
According to the Department of Public Health, the Student Health Center has the capacity to conduct around 140 tests per day. Those being tested should expect results within 48 hours, on average through text, email, letter, or phone call from a nurse. The nasal test takes overall, less than a minute.
Jennifer Yin, a journalism student at City College was one of many who have gone to the Student Health Center to get tested.
“I highly recommend getting tested if you’re an essential worker, have older family members living with you, or have been protesting for the Black Lives Matter movement.” Yin said. “The test is beneficial overall because you can stop the spread of COVID-19 if your test comes back positive and you can find out if you’re asymptomatic. Also it gives you a piece of mind especially if you’re socializing with friends, family, or others.”
Personal information provided on the website is confidential, according to the Department of Public Health. The test results will be directly reported to the San Francisco Department of Health, the individual’s home county health department, as well as the state.
If an individual has decided to share the name of their doctor, their doctor will also get their results. If the individual has a positive result, their home county’s public health team will contact them. In addition, the individual’s home county’s public health team will also help them safely isolate themselves at home so they don’t infect others.
English Professor Tehmina Khan states that the Student Health Center should also address and take on several mental health concerns due to the pandemic.
“I think we really need to address the mental health concerns in the fallout of social distancing. The health center should offer mental health services online or in-person following social distancing guidelines. Online support groups or wellness programs would really help,” Khan said. “We should also have a food distribution site on campus as well as a few designated spaces for students to gather while following public health guidelines.”