As San Francisco works toward partially reopening some businesses for pickup and delivery beginning next week, city health officials said they are keeping a close eye on Covid-19 hospitalization rates.

Dr. Grant Colfax, Department of Public Health director, said Tuesday that the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients has ranged from 70 to as high as 94, with 71 people hospitalized as of last reporting on Saturday.

Noting the flattening trend, Colfax also said:

“We’ve not yet seen a substantial downward trend.”

An increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations would indicate to health officials that the virus is gaining strength in the community.

San Francisco Department of Public Health San Francisco, Calif. hospitalization rates as reported through Saturday, May 9, 2020.

Colfax said:

“If indeed our rate of hospitalizations starts to climb substantially, it may not be safe to continue to reopen.”

Mayor London Breed urged the public against complacency as businesses like bookstores, florists, sewing stores, toy stores, art supply stores and cosmetic stores move to reopen May 18.

The mayor said during a Monday press conference:

“As it relates to the number of cases, the number of hospitalizations, the number of deaths, and because of all of you who have followed these orders, San Francisco is in a better place than most cities, but we’re still not in a place where we are seeing a decline.”

Colfax said businesses who do plan to reopen next week and businesses currently operating need to follow health orders set forth on May 8.

Jesse Garnier SFBay Covid-19 tracker highlighting case trends in San Francisco and neighboring San Mateo County, Calif. as of Monday, May 11, 2020.
Open SFBay Bay Area coronavirus dashboard in new window.

The new order mandates that each business creates a health and safety plan by May 15 to address employee and customer safety by requiring face coverings, prohibiting self-service/handling without purchase and providing 6-foot physical distancing space and sanitation supplies.

Colfax added that The City is planning to ease medical care restrictions, which would allow for non-essential surgeries and non-urgent ambulatory visits.

As of 9 a.m. Monday, The City reported a total of confirmed 1,954 Covid-19 cases and 35 deaths related to the virus.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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