Knock on wood or whatever you must do, but San Francisco has so far been spared the major surges in COVID-19 cases that are being seen elsewhere in California. Hopefully that trend will continue as more businesses continue reopening.
Over the last six weeks of relatively widely available testing, San Francisco has seen an average of 30 daily new cases reported — and looking at the entire three-month timeline of the pandemic, the city has seen 34 new cases per day in the rolling seven-day average reported by the city. And remarkably, especially when compared to other major cities around the country, we've only had 48 deaths to date — though of course each of those 48 represents a loved one lost to pandemic that has impacted nearly every corner of the globe.
"Thanks to San Franciscans’ efforts to follow health requirements, wear face coverings, and practice social distancing, our COVID-19 health indicators are in a good place and we can continue reopening our city," Mayor London Breed said Monday in conjunction with her announcement that the city would be reopening for outdoor drinking at bars, and reopening hair and nail salons as well as outdoor pools and some other businesses starting on June 29th.
That announcement came just as SF recorded 127 new cases, however the city had reported only one new case over the previous two days, and that jump appears to have been the result of a backlog. Averaging it out, that would have been 42 for each of those three days. On Wednesday, the city added 30 new cases for a cumulative total of 3,249 since early March.
"San Francisco's global leadership in flattening the curve continues to result in more and more opportunities for safe re-engagement in the civic, cultural and economic activities that make living here so special," said Joaquin Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, in a statement that came with Monday's reopening announcement. "As summer begins, we know the businesses and public institutions included in this round of reopening will come as a breath of fresh air for San Franciscans and the hardworking people set to reopen their doors and welcome us back while keeping us safe."
Case counts are still surging in Los Angeles County and elsewhere in the state, and as SFist noted yesterday, cases are ticking up notably in Santa Clara, Marin, Contra Costa, and Sonoma counties. New cases statewide surpassed 6,000 on both Monday and Tuesday, and a jump of 121 cases in Santa Clara was called "worrisome" by the health officer there.
Still the Bay Area has not seen anything like the continued surge in Southern California. There were 2,614 new cases recorded in LA County alone on Tuesday, and yesterday the county's health services director, Dr. Christina Ghaly, suggested that as many as one in every 200 Angelenos may currently be walking around infected. "What this means is that Angelenos over the course of a typical day are likely going to interact with a number of people who are potentially infectious," Ghaly said.
San Francisco's hospitalization rates have mostly trended downward in June, which is another positive sign, although there were 43 total COVID patients in hospitals as of Monday, which is the same number who were in hospitals on June 1. Health department director Dr. Grant Colfax warned on Monday that the city can expect to see case counts and hospitalizations rise as more businesses reopen.
"To keep that increase manageable and sustain our commitment to protecting the people most vulnerable to the virus, everyone in San Francisco must continue to take the precautions that save lives," Colfax said.