Although Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that low-risk retailers will be able to open later this week, city officials said San Francisco would have to meet five requirements before the shelter-in-place order would be lifted here.
“The reason why our counties have control over whether or not we implement some of those suggestions has everything to do with what’s happening with the facts,” Mayor London Breed said at today’s press briefing.
San Francisco has not “lowered the curve” she said, noting that the recent UCSF study in the Mission proved that more personal interactions still lead to more infections.
The governor’s new guidelines, which will be released later this week, recognize that each municipality will open on a different timeline.
Dr. Grant Colfax, the director of the Department of Public Health, outlined the five key indicators that help guide their decision making with the public health orders: sustained low numbers of hospitalizations over a few weeks; sufficient Personal Protective Equipment for frontline workers; expanded testing and support for families, vulnerable populations, and frontline workers; enough capacity to investigate each confirmed case, and the ability to measure the rate of infection in the city.
“The virus may quickly outrun us,” he said. “It’s not over yet, not by a long shot.”
Colfax reiterated that the most current stay-at-home order in the six Bay Area counties does not allow nonessential businesses to open and provide curbside pickup to customers.
“It’s important to remember that the rule of thumb is whichever order is more restrictive is the order that will take precedence going forward,” Colfax said.
He said that, according to surveys, he has seen “the vast majority of the public want to continue” the restrictions in place and that they support the public health orders.
In terms of testing expansion, Colfax reported an accumulated 27,334 tests done, with an average of 8 percent coming back as COVID-19 positive.
He said that they are already seeing “a significant uptick” in the number of tests conducted. The city’s current capacity is 4,300 tests a day. There were 700 people tested yesterday at the CityTestSF sites alone, which Colfax described as the “largest day of testing” since the sites at Piers 30-32 and SoMa were opened on April 6 and 17, respectively.
Colfax reported that the city will start the routine testing of all staff and patients at Laguna Honda Hospital today. He also said that skilled nursing facilities throughout the city should be testing all staff and residents as well. There are 160 confirmed cases in the 21 nursing facilities within the city, all of which are overseen by the state, said Colfax.
Colfax encouraged all essential workers in the city to get tested either through their own healthcare provider or through CityTestSF or at community test locations.
Essential workers may register for free testing either by calling 311 or by visiting the CityTestSF website.
City officials also announced a major block-by-block program to ease the homeless situation in the Tenderloin.
The number of tents citywide – down to 385 in 2019 – jumped back up to more than 1,200 in an April survey.
The Tenderloin has been at the center of the upswing, officials said.
Jeff Kositsky, the manager of Healthy Streets Operations Center, reported that the Tenderloin Neighborhood Plan for COVID-19 released today analyzed and outlined tentative plans to address the current encampment situation within the 49-block area of the Tenderloin.
On April 28, over 50 employees from HSOC surveyed the 49 blocks to assess housing and health conditions and challenges, said Kositsky. They found a total of 251 tents and 54 encampments throughout the surveyed area, according to the plan.
In the plan, HSOC identified 13 priority blocks where almost two-thirds of the total tents and encampments are currently present.
“Tenderloin is, by far, the most impacted and hardest-hit neighborhood,” he said. “Its residents deserve better than what’s happening there right now.”
He said that in the past few weeks, they have installed six water manifolds for more drinking water supply, opened additional locations to pick up meals, added four 24-hour Pit Stops, and identified high-risk homeless individuals who would qualify for a hotel room.
Thirteen percent of the 310 unhoused individuals in the Tenderloin are reported qualified for a hotel room, according to the plan. It’s unclear if and when they will be moved into hotels.
The plan aims to offer safe sleeping alternatives to unsheltered individuals, close streets and parking to allow social distancing, ensure safe passage to residents, improve hygiene services and meal access to the homeless population, increase police presence and health services in the neighborhood, and expand COVID-19 education through its Care Ambassador Program.
The Care Ambassador Program would enlist 50 employees to regularly go out on the streets, remind people to follow social distancing protocols, and report problems they would see, said Kositsky.
San Francisco Police Department Chief William Scott reported lower crime rates for violent and property crimes compared to this time last year. There were 91 fewer violent crimes and 1,895 fewer property crimes to date. Auto burglaries are also down 22 percent or 1,895 fewer cases than this time in 2019. However, Scott also noted 190 more burglaries and three more homicides now than the year before.
Scott said that they have had a “successful response” during the pandemic, as most San Franciscans are adhering to public health orders. He reported giving a total of 22 citations — 12 businesses and 10 individuals — and 103 formal admonishments to 57 businesses and 60 residents since shelter-in-place started.
He and Breed also commended the public for following social distancing practices in city parks, especially in Dolores Park where they saw a crowding issue last Sunday. Breed said that Dolores Park will continue to be open to the public and that the police will continue to monitor the park in the following days.