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San Francisco may soon join most Bay Area counties in purple tier

It is likely San Francisco will slide back into the state’s most restrictive purple tier as early as Sunday due to a rise in Covid-19 cases, which means a curfew and additional restrictions would be imposed, public health director Dr. Grant Colfax said Friday.

The number of weekly cases has grown significantly from 217 in the week of Oct. 12 to 768 cases on the week of Nov. 15. The Department of Public Health reports a rate of 12.1 confirmed infections per 100,000 residents, or a seven-day average of 105 new cases per day as of Nov. 12.

Colfax worries that if the case rate continues to grow, The City’s hospitals could be swarmed with hundreds of Covid-19 patients by next month.

Just three weeks ago, San Francisco was leading in mitigation efforts as one of the first Bay Area cities and first major city in the state to move into the least restrictive yellow tier. However, it was bumped back down two tiers in a state adjustment Monday.

Colfax said during online press conference:

“This is indicative of how fast the virus is spreading in our city, but we can change the course of the surge.”

The City would be required to impose more restrictions if it is moved into the purple tier, including closure of indoor gyms, museums, movies theaters and places of worship. Retail stores would also have to reduce capacity, Colfax said.

Jesse Garnier San Francisco, Calif. health officials warn the city could be moved into the state’s most restrictive purple tier as early as Sunday, November 22, 2020.

Gov. Gavin Newsom the state’s California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Thursday that counties in the purple tier will be subject to a curfew beginning Saturday. At the time, 41 out of California’s 58 counties were classified in the purple, most restrictive tier. 

Under the state’s curfew mandate, residents are asked to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., with exceptions for trips to the grocery store or drug store, to walk dogs and pick up takeout food.

Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties fall into the purple tier — The City, Marin and San Mateo counties are currently designated in the red tier, though that could soon change.

Colfax urged residents again not to travel next week for Thanksgiving and to not rely on testing to determine safety of travel or gatherings with family and friends outside their households, adding:

“People who test negative still harbor the virus if they are early in their infection or if they are exposed to the virus after they test.”

The City has been able to fight off two Covid-19 surges and Colfax asked residents to buckle down and do so again. He said:

“After all, we are San Francisco and we have shown the country how to fight Covid. Let’s show them once again.”

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