Council Connect Articles

San Francisco Issues COVID-19 Testing Health Order


  • Hospital Council 
  • Grant Colfax, MD, San Francisco health director 
  • Susan Philip, MD, San Francisco health officer 


The San Francisco Department of Health issued a health order on Aug. 18 mandating COVID-19 testing in hospitals. The order, which applies to entities with 100 or more licensed health care providers, requires hospitals to provide COVID-19 testing on demand within 24 hours. This requirement extends only to a hospital’s staff and patients (or members). Dr. Philip met with San Francisco hospital CEOs, noting this order was issued to fill gaps, but acknowledged that many systems were meeting current demand. The order also requires hospitals to file a plan outlining current testing capacity and how it will scale up as demand rises. Hospitals are also required to report any complaints regarding access to testing.


CEOs questioned the need for an order and reiterated current challenges this impacts, including staff resources and operations. In response to concerns, Dr. Philip agreed to revisit the order in conversation with the Section, to determine when it can be scaled back or rescinded.