Hospitalization rates and the number of people infected with the coronavirus in San Francisco's intensive-care units (ICUs) have remained fairly steady since early April. But on Wednesday there was a sudden jump of over 100 new hospital patients with suspected but unconfirmed cases.
Since early April, the city has been publishing hospitalization data that includes both confirmed COVID-19 cases in acute care and ICU beds, as well as numbers of suspected cases also in hospitals. There has been an average of 30 confirmed cases in the ICU since early April and the number has remained relatively steady — there were 38 cases in the ICU on April 4, and the number has remained below that ever since.
The number of acute cases has remained very steady over the last five weeks as well, averaging 55 per day, and the highest number since the pandemic began was 63 on both April 11 and April 14.
But the suspected case count, which the city only began publishing a few weeks ago, has jumped up and down a bit more — but it hasn't jumped over 100 since early April. Apart from a brief jump on April 26, when there were 81 suspected cases, the number of suspected cases has remained under 50 and mostly under 30 for much of the last month, the vast majority of those being in acute, not intensive, care.
SFist has reached out to the Department of Public Health to better understand why there was a sudden jump in suspected cases, or to find out how many of those have been confirmed in the two days since that data was recorded.
San Francisco saw 47 confirmed cases added to its cumulative total between Thursday and Friday, bringing it to 1,853. And the city added one more death today, bringing total to 33. With the jumps in cases in SF this week, the city is on track to possibly overtake Santa Clara County in cumulative cases — Santa Clara recorded only 9 new confirmed cases today and new-case totals there have remained low for two weeks.
The lack of any notable drop in cases or hospitalization rates in San Francisco gives credence to Mayor London Breed and health officer Dr. Grant Colfax's decision not to reopen more retail stores for curbside pickup in the coming week — they're suggesting that some of this may happen on May 18.
On average, SF has recorded 39 new cases per day since April 4, with the single biggest one-day leap coming earlier this week. On Monday, we added 104 cases to the tally — likely the majority of which came out of UCSF's mass-testing project in the Mission District, where around 87 positive cases were found.
And the numbers may increase as SF's free testing sites opened this week to all essential workers, regardless of their symptoms or lack thereof.
As Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, said in this week's Grand Rounds teleconference, per Mission Local, the majority of new cases being found in San Francisco are among essential workers and multi-generational families living in one household.
But when he was first asked the question of where new cases were coming from, Wachter responded facetiously saying, "Dolores Park."
See all the latest Bay Area COVID data here
Above charts via SF's Department of Public Health