In response to the significant amount of Covid-19 cases in California and throughout the nation, San Francisco officials are indefinitely extending the mandatory travel quarantine and local stay-at-home order, public officials said.
Given the strain on intensive care unit availability in other parts of the Bay Area, city officials Thursday said they don’t foresee the Bay Area Region meeting the 15 percent ICU availability requirement by Jan. 7, the earliest state officials would have lifted the regional stay-at-home order.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Wednesday that the state has extended the order in the Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions indefinitely. Hospitals in the southern portion of the state have resorted to extreme measures to treat a surge in Covid-19 patients.
State data currently shows that 8.5 percent of ICU beds remain available throughout the Bay Area Region, up slightly from the 7.5 percent reported on Wednesday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Dec. 3 announced state plans to issue regional stay-at-home orders if and when ICU availability fell below 15 percent, but The City joined several other counties and Berkeley to voluntarily issue local orders on Dec. 6. The Bay Area Region was officially directed by the state order on Dec. 17.
Applauding progress made possible by the proactive measures, Mayor London Breed added:
“This seems to be working but we need more time to determine that we are moving in the right direction and that the December holidays don’t set us back. There are glimmers of hope and now is not the time to let up.”
The 10-day travel quarantine applies to anyone who enters The City from outside the designated Bay Area. That order was set to expire on Jan. 4 but is now also indefinitely extended. Officials are urging residents not to travel, especially now that Covid-19 variant discovered in the U.K. has been detected in San Diego.
Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said that the rate at which the virus is spreading has slowed slightly, but added that number of new cases per day remains high.
In a statement, Colfax said:
“The steps we have taken together have served us well, but the fact remains that San Francisco is in the midst of its worst surge yet.”
City officials said they will continue to monitor cases and hospitalizations over the course of the two weeks to better understand the impact holiday travel and gatherings.