January 18, 2022

Fake coronavirus testing sites are popping up in S.F. amid omicron surge – San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco public health officials issued a warning Friday against patronizing unauthorized coronavirus testing facilities.

“Unauthorized COVID-19 test sites are popping up throughout the city,” the agency tweeted.

“We know demand for testing is high. Please use authorized testing sites or FDA-approved rapid tests.”

The department declined to answer questions about how it discovered the unauthorized testing operations, their motives or what authorities intend to do about them.

But it advised people to stick with authorized sites or home test kits purchased at a store. People should contact their health care providers or go to http://sf.gov/gettested for more information on where to get tested in San Francisco.

In a statement, the department said an unspecified number of testing facilities are “not operating in affiliation with the San Francisco Department of Public Health or our community, academic and health care partners,” and lack the proper permits to administer tests.

“People should use caution and not use testing sites that seem too good to be true because they may not be trustworthy,” the department advised. It said public health officials are working to increase the availability of testing.

The caution comes as people in San Francisco — and all over the Bay Area — are reporting difficulties in scheduling or locating PCR tests for COVID or find at-home rapid tests in stores and at pharmacies. Demand for the tests has soared along with the spread of the omicron variant, the holidays and students returning to schools.

Michael Cabanatuan is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: mcabanatuan@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ctuan