The San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)
The San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living in the Excelsior neighborhood of San Francisco. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)

Covid testing set at S.F. Jewish senior home as third staff member tests positive

UPDATED May 21, 9:50 a.m

Starting on Thursday, everyone at the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living — staff, residents and patients — will be tested for Covid-19. The testing will run through Monday, according to a Tuesday night announcement on the facility’s website.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health is in charge of the testing as part of a directive by city officials, announced in early May, requiring universal testing at all skilled nursing facilities. Both state and city health officials have been criticized for how slowly they have scheduled those tests, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the SFCJL, testing will take place in a tent outside the entrance of one of its buildings. Staff must be tested as a condition of employment. Employees working from home can be tested at an offsite location, but it must be done by Monday, and proof of the testing must be submitted to SFCJL’s human resources department.

In a May 20 email sent to the families of residents and patients, the SFCJL said they would notify relatives if their loved one tested positive for Covid-19. The senior home also said it would post aggregate data of the test results on their website when it becomes available.

The announcement comes as a third SFCJL staff member has tested positive for Covid-19, according to the facility’s website.

The staff member works in physical therapy and was asymptomatic when they were working at the SFCJL, according to Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, who represents the district where the senior home is located. Safaí said the staff member’s husband first tested positive for Covid-19. The staff member then informed the SFCJL and was instructed to quarantine. The individual was diagnosed sometime after that.

Safaí said anyone at the SFCJL who came into contact with the infected staff member has been informed, either directly or through family members. Contact tracing is now being conducted to determine how extensive the staff member’s exposure was within the facility.

As of Tuesday, San Francisco had tested about 40 percent of the city’s skilled nursing facilities. Late Tuesday night, the SFCJL’s website said test results would be available within one to five days. A Wednesday afternoon update extended that time frame to 10 days.

According to the city directive, another round of testing may happen in two weeks, depending on “information [that] becomes available about the virus.”

“We want to make sure everyone’s safe,” Safaí said.

“I am happy that the Jewish Home has finally started testing the staff that works with the most vulnerable and at-risk population,” said Tanya Kulberg, whose mother is a resident.

SFCJL spokesperson Marcus Young directed J. to the campus’ website when asked about timelines and other details regarding the third infected staff member. The website has a chart, updated daily, indicating overall numbers of infections at the facility.

The SFCJL has been accepting recovering Covid-19 patients from nearby hospitals to its skilled nursing facility since early April as part of a statewide effort to keep hospital beds open for a potential surge. The facility is currently caring for three Covid patients. Seven others have been released so far.

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler was a staff writer at J. from 2019 to 2021.