Tony Campana washes his face at a water pipe installed by San Francisco in the Tenderloin.

SF to Add Water Outlets in Neighborhoods With Large Homeless Populations

San Francisco plans to expand access to drinking water for people living on the streets by adding permanent taps in three neighborhoods and leaving in place – for now – the temporary taps it installed after COVID-19 hit.

For many homeless residents, water access represents a hurdle between them and a job, a home — even survival. The demand for fresh water has been so great since March that several organizations began buying bottled water for distribution to homeless people at a cost of thousands of dollars.

Photo courtesy of Paula Heaney.

SF Librarians Become Contact Tracers in Coronavirus Pandemic

If you have been in close contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19, you may get a call from a contact tracer, who will want to offer you some guidance about quarantining — including, potentially, connecting you to food or cleaning supply delivery. Among them is Paula Heaney, a San Francisco librarian. Like other city employees, who serve as disaster workers in the event of an emergency, Heaney transitioned to working as a contact tracer when the pandemic hit.

SF Braces for Final Holiday COVID-19 Statistics

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.

Burlesque performer RedBone was planning to work an in-person New Year’s Eve party in the Tenderloin to help her stay financially afloat. The party was canceled after the venue was critiqued for potentially violating a new city shelter-in-place order.

How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve? For Some, by Earning Enough to Eat.

No fireworks, no parties on the beach, no Golden Gate Park light displays. How is a San Franciscan wanting to celebrate the end of this murderous, soul-sucking pandemic year supposed to have any fun?
You could attend any one of numerous live-streamed events, from comedy shows to live music to bell-ringing ceremonies to vaudeville cabaret shows.
Or, for a brief period, there was the opportunity to drop $100 for an in-person, three-course meal complete with burlesque and drag queen show in the Tenderloin. Except that event was canceled …

U.S. Army Spc. Sterling Hutcheson, a medic with the Colorado National Guard Joint Task Force Test Support, prepares to swab a nursing home resident during COVID-19 testing in Rocky Ford, Colo. on May 29, 2020.

Nursing Homes to Get Vaccines Soon Through Major Pharmacy Chains

Vaccines are arriving in California and doses will be administered at nursing homes soon through a government partnership with pharmacy giants CVS and Walgreens, whose staffs will deliver vaccines to long term care facilities. Eric Dowdy, chief government affairs officer at Leading Age California, an organization representing mostly nonprofit senior care facilities, said the top priority for those planning the vaccine rollout is combating misinformation that fuels mistrust in the vaccine.

COVID-19 Cases Spike Among Homeless San Franciscans

Coronavirus cases have soared this month among San Francisco’s homeless population and residents of the city’s single-room-occupancy hotels. The city reported 59 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among unhoused people from Dec. 1 to Dec. 18, more than in September, October and November combined.

San Francisco officials are requiring any residents who leave the Bay Area to quarantine for 10 days upon their return.

10-Day Quarantine Required for Anyone Coming to S.F. From Outside Bay Area

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.

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Overdoses Have Killed More Than Three Times as Many People as COVID-19 in San Francisco

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.