The San Francisco Department of Public Health provides updates daily at 9 a.m. We will do the same.
The latest count shows 40 new confirmed cases and no new deaths.
In the past two weeks, we have averaged 36 new cases a day and a total of seven deaths. Public health officials want to see new cases drop to no more than 6.3 cases a day for 14 consecutive days and no new deaths for the same time period.
On Saturday, there were 53 COVID-positive patients hospitalized in San Francisco: 34 in Acute Care Units, and 19 in Intensive Care Units. That represents the lowest number of ICU hospitalizations since March 25. Those are good numbers, and it is clear the city will go ahead with the partial re-opening that begins today.
The city announced Monday the creation of three new testing sites: one at City College’s Ocean Campus, another in Bayview-Hunters Point, and a mobile site initially stationed in the Tenderloin. The Tenderloin location is the first mobile site in San Francisco and will begin offering walk-through testing starting Wednesday. Online appointments are “strongly encouraged,” but on-site staff will also be available to help those who can’t register online.
Testing in San Francisco is available to essential and frontline workers working in the city, regardless of where they live or if they are experiencing any symptoms. Testing is also available for adults living in San Francisco if they are experiencing symptoms, or if they have had contact with a COVID-positive person in the last 14 days. The tests are available free of charge and do not require health insurance or a doctor’s note. More information on how to schedule a test is available at sf.gov/citytestsf, or by calling 311.
In a joint statement on Monday from five Bay Area counties, including San Francisco, health officers said the supply of personal protective equipment has improved, but “shortages continue in certain healthcare settings.”
For those wanting to keep track of the metrics that the city is using to inform its re-opening decisions, Dr. Grant Colfax, the director of the Department of Public Health, showed this slide to the supervisors on Tuesday.
The better metrics led to Mayor London Breed’s Tuesday announcement that 95 percent of all businesses in the city will be allowed to reopen today for curbside pickup and delivery. This includes most retail businesses with street access.
But experts warn that “we may be taking a greater risk than we should be taking” with the reopening of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Although testing rates have improved, they are still far below the city’s total capacity of 5,800 residents a day.
Dr. Cofax and San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragón addressed this issue on Tuesday, promising “universal access” at some point in the future.
At present, the Department of Public Health has the capacity to run 2,100 tests through its labs with a total public/private capacity to run 5,800 tests a day.
The city’s goal is two tests per 1,000 residents. “We’re clearly above that number,” said Aragón said on Tuesday.
He called pharmacies being able to test a “game-changer,” that will allow food handlers, for example, to get tested easily and on a regular basis. Just when that will begin is unclear.
As the city re-opens, Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF, said at UCSF’s town hall on Tuesday that “masks are going to become more and more and more important” in preventing the spread of the virus. “We’re talking about masks as a source control against droplet spread,” he said. “Meaning you’re wearing the mask to prevent you from infecting other people.”
Making them mandatory – which the city has yet to do except for residents waiting in lines or inside stores – has yet to happen, but Rutherford appeared to suggest that would be a good idea. Wearing cloth masks, he said, can translate into a decrease in transmission in the order of 80 percent. “It’s one thing to recommend it,” he said. “It’s another thing to make it mandatory.” Studies show that compliance increases substantially when masks are mandatory, he said.
Masks, social distancing and washing one’s hands will only increase in importance as the city re-opens. These all impact the reproductive rate of the virus – known as the R factor. More residents out and about will mean more opportunities for the virus to spread.
“What’s striking about this is that the more we move around, the more the virus is transmitted,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, the director of the Department of Public Health. “If the reproductive rate goes just above one, the virus will continue to spread throughout our community. If it’s just below one, even point nine, the virus will slow.”
Meanwhile, the rate of COVID-19 in the Latinx population continued to get worse with the figure jumping from 41 percent to nearly 43 percent of the cases.
Other stories to help you catch up on the pandemic and other news:
- Miss seeing the rest of San Francisco? Browse through our photo essays from different parts of the city.
- If you want to hear the top doctors talk about the coronavirus, join Thursday’s grand rounds at UCSF or read our summation of last week’s here.
- Sonoma County has an updated dashboard of cases and deaths in all Bay Area counties that is useful to look at.
- And here is their dashboard for the world, the U.S. and California.
As you have probably noted in the graphs below, there is a discrepancy between the total number of positive test results reported by the city and the total daily number of confirmed cases. The discrepancy comes from a delay in fully investigating positive test results. In doing so, health investigators find some duplicates and some are for people who live outside of the city, according to epidemiologists at the Department of Public Health. New cases are only added to the daily confirmed cases after an investigation is completed.
Also, there is also a discrepancy between the hospitalization data reported by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and the county hospital data reported by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). This is because SFDPH receives data from one additional hospital, San Francisco VA Health Care System, that is not required to report to CDPH. “SFDPH statistics will trend higher as long as this hospital has patients admitted as either COVID-19 positive or suspected COVID-19 positive.”
Lydia Chávez contributed to this report.