SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco General Hospital continues to see a lot of traffic, but not all are sick patients. Most of the people who show up are the ones who simply cannot find a test elsewhere.
“My wife needs to be tested because she is coughing and we think she has COVID,” said Arthur Penta, dropping his wife off at the hospital to wait for a test.
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It was an endless stream of people on SF General Monday, many of them desperate as other test sites were overwhelmed or shut down.
“Here, the line was circling the block,” Jaqueline Hernandez said. “People are waiting. Some people have been there for over an hour waiting. If you don’t have a date, you just don’t get it.
But test crowds are just a challenge.
“Please do not call 911 to request a COVID test or because you have a cold or minor flu symptoms,” San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson pleaded on Saturday.
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Over the weekend, the city warned of stress on its 911 system. Call volumes have since fallen back to normal.
“And just like the 911 system, not only Zuckerberg San Francisco General, but every emergency department, every hospital in the city is affected by the current wave of omicron,” said Dr Susan Erlich, CEO of the hospital. “Not only because of the treated patients who have COVID, but also because a lot of our employees are either sick with COVID themselves or because they are in quarantine because we had a high risk encounter. “
The hospital is also increasing its testing capacity.
“My wife’s wait today, probably about an hour and a half, two hours,” Penta guessed.
At one point, staff decided the queue was long enough for the day and those who didn’t have an appointment were turned away.
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“This is exactly what happened to me today,” Hernandez said. “I thought maybe it wouldn’t be too bad. They said ‘No, you probably won’t make it because there is a 4 p.m. cut-off time.’