As San Francisco health organizations move to increase the number of available COVID-19 vaccinations, the city is dealing with a holiday surge that came on top of a huge Thanksgiving increase.
All of the staff and patients at San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital who wish to are expected to be vaccinated by Wednesday. The University of California San Francisco is vaccinating 1,100 health care staffers a day, with plans to increase that number. The San Francisco Department of Public Health has inoculated over 6,000 people served by the department and supplied another 30,000 vaccines to other health care agencies in the city over the last 2½ weeks.
Those are just some of the medical organizations in the city vaccinating the city’s nearly 80,000 health care workers and vulnerable populations, with the allotments sent directly from the state, having been distributed by the federal government.
Dr. Grant Colfax, director of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, said at a press conference Tuesday that “there have been no delays of people getting vaccinated at this time, demand far outweighs supply.” He added: “Our goal is to make sure that vaccine is not sitting in the freezer, and that as soon as the feds in the state supply a vaccine to local jurisdictions, to health care entities in San Francisco, that we get it into as many arms as quickly as possible.”
He said San Francisco weathered the post-Thanksgiving surge better than the rest of the Bay Area did. Whereas San Francisco has 35% of its intensive care unit beds vacant, only 5.9% of those beds are available, he said. Consequently, the region’s intensive care bed availability is below the state threshold to allow San Francisco to relax the stay-at-home order.
San Francisco remains in the most dangerous surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are signs that people’s adherence to the recent stay-at-home orders are helping. UCSF tests for more contagious variant first seen in United Kingdom.
Mayor London Breed on Tuesday called Gov. Gavin Newsom’s appointment of Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris “unfortunate.”
In the latest effort to slow a post-Thanksgiving surge in coronavirus infections, San Francisco has issued a strict quarantine order.
Anyone traveling, moving or returning to San Francisco from outside the 10-county Bay Area to quarantine for 10 days. The quarantine requirement applies to visitors, people moving here and returning residents alike. There are exceptions for medical professionals, first responders, essential workers and others.
While COVID-19 deaths have the potential for exponential growth due to the nature of a viral pandemic, they are dwarfed by the number of people who have died from drug overdoses in the city this year.
As of Dec. 16, the San Francisco Department of Public Health reports that 172 people have died from COVID-19. The number of overdose deaths reported through the end of October stood at 570. There were 441 in 2019.
The latest pandemic order shutting down outdoor dining struck a devastating blow to restaurant owners and workers who have tried to adapt.
Maria Moreno with the Restaurant Opportunity Center United of the Bay in Oakland said the food service industry is reeling. “So many of the people in the industry are out of work right now, both undocumented and documented,” she said. “They’re just left behind right now. We’re talking like, half of the industry or more.”
San Francisco joined four other Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley on Friday afternoon to announce a new lockdown ahead of a state mandate to preserve intensive care unit beds.
“Our dangerous winter has arrived.” San Francisco Mayor London Breed warned as she told city residents that more rollbacks could come as early as Wednesday with the state and city preparing new orders to contain the worst surge yet in coronavirus infections.
“It’s not good,” she said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “Cases are spiking. Hospitalizations are increasing quickly. 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, our country. We’ve been worried for months, but now it’s real.”
San Francisco remains on track to move out of the state’s COVID-19 red zone into the most restrictive purple zone within a matter of days, forcing new rollbacks on businesses and a late night curfew.
“The city will be required to roll back or reduce capacity of several activities within 24 hours” said Joaquin Torres, the director of the Office of Economic and Workforce development for San Francisco. He also laid out what will happen next.