May 22, 2020
The Chinese Hospital, one of San Francisco’s critical healthcare providers, is launching a pilot program to begin free testing of residents in single-room-occupancy (SRO) buildings in Chinatown, the most densely populated neighborhood in San Francisco. This first of its kind program launched today in San Francisco’s Ning Yung Benevolent Association’s SRO building, located at 41 Waverly Place.
“We are grateful for the City’s aggressive and large-scale testing efforts across San Francisco,” said Jian Zhang, CEO, Chinese Hospital. “SROs house some of the most vulnerable people of our city. Chinatown residents are overwhelmed with fear. If they leave their homes, they risk exposure to COVID-19. If they test positive, they have nowhere to isolate and fear infecting others, eviction, becoming homeless, and losing communal support. We are working with our partners to meet our communities where they are so we can prevent, trace, and limit the spread of COVID-19.”
“Since day one of the global pandemic, the City has acted quickly to confront the impacts brought by COVID-19 and protect the health of all San Franciscans,” said Mayor London N. Breed. “Sadly, our most vulnerable community members have been disproportionately impacted by this virus. We are working to expand testing to communities that have historically been underserved and need more resources, but we can’t do this work alone. That is why community health organizations and partners like the Chinese Hospital are so important. I want to thank the Chinese Hospital for their partnership and their work to provide culturally and linguistically competent services for Chinatown residents.”
“After seeing our COVID case numbers in SRO’s steadily increase for months, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved public health mandates this week that require DPH to test everyone in a SRO where a case has been confirmed,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “But we know we must do much better, including performing robust contact tracing and offering affordable and culturally competent testing to asymptomatic individuals. I’m hopeful that this pilot will be scaled up quickly — our most vulnerable community members don’t have the luxury of time and every hour counts.”
“During this pandemic, we need to make sure we’re protecting everyone in our community, particularly Chinatown’s SRO residents who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 spread,” said Assemblymember David Chiu. “We know we can keep the curve low by testing, contact tracing, quarantining and supporting those who test positive or are exposed – and this pilot is the first major step of this strategy. I’m grateful to Chinese Hospital and our health care, community and elected leaders for partnering on this groundbreaking program – we are stronger together.”
“The San Francisco Department of Public Health is committed to working with Chinese Hospital and our community organizations to provide culturally and linguistically competent medical care to our immigrant and SRO residents in Chinatown,” said Dr. Sunny Pak, Acting Director of Chinatown Public Health Center, San Francisco Department of Public Health. “This pilot is another step the City is taking to expand our testing capacity, engage with the Chinatown community, and connect vulnerable populations with the services they need on all aspects of COVID 19.”
“We are proactively in contact with the Chinese Hospital and City agencies and sharing information about testing. We are reporting information regularly and updating our protocols in our SROs,” said Ding Lee, President of San Francisco’s Chinese Community Benevolent Association. “This is our community. SRO owners must also be diligent partners in the fight against COID-19.”