Dr. Grant Colfax

As San Francisco receives doses of a vaccine against Covid-19, residents must continue to take precautions against transmission as a surge in infections continues, the director of the Department of Public Health said at a Monday press briefing in which most journalists’ questions were left unanswered.

Two thousand doses arrived at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital in the morning, while new cases in San Francisco had surged by 50 percent after Thanksgiving, said the public health director, Dr. Grant Colfax. The city had an estimated 2,897 active diagnosed cases, and less than 17 percent capacity for new cases in intensive care unit beds. 

“I think it’s important to step back and realize how dire our situation is,” Colfax said. “Let’s give thanks for the lifesaving vaccine that is on the way. But I cannot emphasize enough: we still must remain vigilant, because the hope of this vaccine will not crush this curve.”

Colfax cautioned that residents should not gather with anyone outside of their households, and stay home for the holidays. 

Reporters’ questions at the video-only press conference seeking details about the announcement and information about the region’s strict stay-at-home order were, for the most part, not answered. The Department of Emergency Management, which hosted the event, requires that reporters keep their videos and microphones off and that they submit questions by text in the meeting platform’s chat function. 

“Please take the time to submit your question(s) clearly, and include your name and outlet. Unidentified questions will not be taken,” an unidentified staff member wrote. Nearly all of the reporters whose questions were not taken identified their outlets in their question text.

(Update: Late this afternoon, the Joint Information Center sent out an email apologizing for cutting off the press conference and said it had done so “due to procedural errors.”)

The only set of questions accepted on Monday were about the vaccine, including who would receive vaccinations first. Colfax did not describe who would be prioritized for receiving the 2,000 doses. He did not answer Mercury News reporter Marisa Kendall’s question about whether the city had a plan to vaccinate homeless residents, and when people in encampments and shelter residents and staff could expect to be vaccinated.

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