Coronavirus

Health officials step up COVID-19 testing, booster efforts ahead of holidays

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SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — Health officials in San Francisco are continuing to recommend that residents get their booster shots as the COVID-19 omicron variant continues to spread through the U.S. after the first confirmed case of the variant was found in the city.

On Thursday, officials with the San Francisco Department of Public Health said the department is making access to the vaccine boosters and testing easy with drop-in clinics.

Health officials are also cautioning residents to take extra precautions ahead of holiday gatherings, particularly since the COVID-19 case rate in the city has tripled from 91 cases to 273 cases within the last week as of Monday.

“Omicron is rapidly spreading, and all evidence points to the fact that we need to do more to protect ourselves and others from infection,” SFDPH Director Dr. Grant Colfax said in a statement.

“Boosters are key right now for your own protection and those you love. We also want people to celebrate the holidays more safely and with an extra dose of caution, and that includes layering our defenses and taking extra caution around those who are at higher risk, including people who are elderly, immunocompromised, or unvaccinated like small children,” he said.

Health officials recommend using all defenses possible against the virus including receiving the vaccine and a booster, as well as getting tested immediately upon feeling symptoms also before and after traveling.

They also recommend mask use and limiting the size of indoor gatherings.

On Dec. 1, the first Omicron case in the U.S. was reported in San Francisco coming from a patient who had returned from South Africa a week prior.

The patient, however, only showed mild symptoms, health officials said.

To get a vaccine or booster shot, residents can go to one of four drop-in sites: at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital at 1001 Potrero Ave.; the Southeast Health Center at 2401 Keith St.; Chinese Hospital at 845 Jackson St.; and the Kaiser Tent at 2350 Geary Blvd.

More information can be found at http://sf.gov/getvaccinated.

To get tested, residents can check with their health care provider, or visit one of more than 20 SFDPH sites.

A full list can be found at http://sf.gov/gettested.

As of Wednesday, more than half, or 53 percent, of San Francisco residents have received their booster shot.

To tack the city’s booster efforts, SFDPH have launched a new data page at https://sf.gov/data/covid-19-vaccine-boosters.

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