COVID Tests Scarce In SF, But Here’s How To Get One
“We’re out of tests,” the guy at the front counter told me when I went to a walk-in testing site in San Francisco. Fine, I figure, it’s 4:55 p.m., and maybe they ran out of their daily allotment. I’ll come back right at 9 a.m. tomorrow when they open up, which is what I did. “Sorry, we’re out of tests,” the exact same guy told me that next morning.
I’ve been turned away at COVID testing sites three times in the last 24 hours for lack of available tests. But in the process, I’ve picked up a few pointers on how to get a free COVID-19 test as quickly as possible in San Francisco, even if you don’t have insurance or a primary care physician.
— SFBay.ca (@sfbay) August 17, 2021
The city is making a big deal over reopening their mass testing site at 7th and Brannan Streets, but that site is by appointment only. They will turn you away if you show up without an appointment.
You can make an appointment online, but be aware they will ask you about a million questions before letting you schedule an appointment.
Then after you answer all the questions, the availability of appointments is… not great!
So I checked the San Francisco COVID-19 Testing Locations map to see if there were better options. The map makes it look like there are lots of them, but then when you click on the actual location, you will see they have extremely limited hours, like “Tuesdays, 10am-3pm,” or that you “Must be a Carbon Health patient.”
Going through a bunch of locations, I found the easiest way to get COVID-19 test in San Francisco was to call Zuckerberg SF General Hospital. You have to call them at (415) 682-1740, you cannot schedule it online. You will be on hold for at least five minutes. But once I got someone on the phone, they offered me same-day slots late in the afternoon, or numerous slots available the next morning.
You can also get a free COVID-19 vaccination at SF Zuckerberg General Hospital. And yes, it is ironic that a vaccination site is named after the guy who invented the world’s leading source of vaccine misinformation.