Chinatown has some of the lowest COVID-19 rates among neighborhoods in San Francisco, but community groups still urge residents to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated if they haven’t already.
At a news conference Friday, Chinese Hospital and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, along with officials from the city’s Department of Public Health, said that though there has been a recent uptick in infection rates with the more-contagious COVID delta variant, vaccinations are the way out.
As of Friday, the Chinatown community has 81 percent of its residents vaccinated, compared to 77 percent citywide with at least one dose of the vaccine and 71 percent fully vaccinated, according to city data.
“Coronavirus has ravaged conversations for a whole year, and we’re desperate to get back to normal,” said Dr. Sunny Pak of the Chinatown Public Health Center. “The best way to do so is using the vaccine.”
Victor Lim, COVID-19 outreach campaign manager at the San Francisco COVID Command Center, said one of the greatest accomplishments in keeping numbers down in the community was allocating accessible, culturally competent testing sites, like the one in Portsmouth Square.
“It’s been a great success, because the specialty of the site is that the Chinese Hospital staff will call every single person, not just getting the testing results through text or email providers … our medical partners, Chinese Hospital, provides the language and cultural competency, and it’s been a great help,” Lim said.
Around 500 people are getting tested at the site daily, he said, though this also includes tourists or other San Francisco residents. About 25 to 30 percent of the people who visit the site are visitors, and this is a good sign: not only is the free site convenient, but it’s also bringing in more visitors to support Chinatown businesses.
“That’s actually good, because we’re seeing that since June 15, we’ve seen an uptick and a rise in returning to normalcy for people visiting Chinatown and helping our local businesses,” Lim said.
Kelvin Wu, AAPI affairs manager at the city’s Department of Public Health, said that community outreach shouldn’t end once the numbers are promising, however.
“Our community has been pretty good ever since the beginning, but it doesn’t mean that our community should have less resources,” Wu said. “We’re going to advocate for the community and continue to communicate with the media to find out what the needs are.”
Residents can visit Chinese Hospital’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic at 845 Jackson St., B1, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.