Major COVID-19 Surge in S.F.

Screen capture from SFGovTV via Zoom

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of health.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in San Francisco is rising rapidly and the city is facing “a major surge.” Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. “In April, we experienced a surge of COVID-19 cases, which at its peak, saw 94 San Franciscans in the hospital. That number dropped to just 26 patients six weeks ago. Today, it’s 107.” 

Dr. Colfax said the growth rate of new infections is alarming. “It took us 38 days to go from 2000 to 3000 cases, it took us half as long to go from 3000 to 4000. And in just 10 days, this month, we went from 5000 to 6000 cases.” At the current rate, Colfax predicts more than 750 people will be hospitalized by mid-October. 

With hospitalization growing by 15% per week, the city has announced the creation of a standby low acuity care facility in the Presidio for non-COVID-19 patients. District Two Supervisor Catherine Stefani said, “The site will be staffed by medical professionals and will open with 20 patients. At this time, the facility is not expected to treat COVID positive individuals.” 

Stefani said the facility on Gorgas Avenue, can grow over time. “At capacity, the site will allow the city to provide medical care for up to 93 San Franciscans who received treatment here in lieu of a hospital visit or who have been discharged from a hospital but still need short term supervised medical care.” The site is for patients sent from other facilities and will not be taking drop-in cases or people experiencing an emergency, Colfax said the site will be funded by the city with medical staff from the Department of Public Health and University of California San Francisco staff. 

Other updates from today’s press conference:

  • Stefani announced creation of a low acuity care facility in her district to help with a surge in COVID-19 cases. (2:12)
  • Colfax said at the current rate of growth, 600 San Franciscans could be dead from COVID-19 by year’s end. Plausible worst case scenario, 24,100 hospitalizations and 1800 deaths. (6:49)
  • Colfax said the city remains in the red zone with 100 new cases a day. (8:30)
  • Colfax answered a question about why there wasn’t the feared mass outbreak of cases among the city’s homeless. (15:24)
  • Colfax said getting a negative test does not mean it is safe to attend social gatherings. (19:12)

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