San Franciscans may soon be faced with additional restrictions prompted by a rise in Covid-19 cases, Mayor London Breed and Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax announced Tuesday at a press conference.
Colfax said the changes could come as early as Wednesday. Health officials are looking to reduce retail store capacity even further and are considering a required 14-day quarantine for residents who have traveled outside of The City — a requirement Santa Clara County officials implemented Monday.
The City is currently placed in the state’s most restrictive purple tier, along with seven other Bay Area counties. Marin County is the regional exception designated in the somewhat less restrictive red tier.
Breed noted how fast the virus is moving, adding:
“Our infection rate is higher than it was at a point during the summer and this isn’t just about San Francisco. It’s about our entire region, our state and our country.”
She yielded this warning to residents:
“We’ve been worried for months, but now it’s real. Our dangerous winter has arrived.”
Considering that the number of new cases has tripled since Oct. 29, Colfax said:
“We do not expect this to stabilize anytime soon. We have more virus circulating than ever before.”
The Department of Public Health reports a case rate of 16 per 100,000 residents, which averages 140 new cases per day. Colfax said that rate is about four times what it was just one month ago, noting that people who traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday were not yet accounted for in the latest data.
The City’s Covid-19 hospitalizations are also on the rise. Colfax said that as of Tuesday, a total of 91 patients were being treated for the virus in hospitals citywide, which compared to the 21 patients on Oct. 15. is also a more than fourfold increase.
“If this trend continues, we will see a hospital bed shortage around Christmas. That is a sobering thought.”
The mayor also acknowledged that Tuesday was World AIDS Day and recalled how The City came together to confront that crisis, adding:
“As we remember the history fighting HIV, AIDS, let’s remember what we can do because I know people are trying. I know people are tired. I know it won’t be easy, but I believe in the city and I believe in all of you.”
Since the virus onset in March, The City has seen a total of 15,792 confirmed cases and 160 related deaths.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation and occasionally City Hall and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.