Saying that a "huge surge" in COVID-19 hospitalizations is around the corner, SF Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax announced Thursday that the city is opening up a new in-patient hospital facility in the Presidio in order to accommodate COVID-negative patients in need of acute care.
Hospitalizations have been rising in San Francisco and across the Bay Area for the last several weeks, and Colfax said in a press conference that hospitalizations peaked this week at 107 and was "higher than it's ever been before" — though city data shows that there were 125 confirmed and suspected patients in city hospitals as of Monday, which is still significantly lower than the 212 hospitalized patients recorded on April 6. Hospitalization data published by the state shows San Francisco had 123 confirmed and suspected patients in hospitals as of Wednesday, with 41 of those in ICU beds.
"Let me be clear. We are in a major surge of COVID-19," said Colfax on Thursday. "The virus is moving fast and more people are getting seriously ill."
Colfax also cited the figure of 26 hospitalizations, which was the total just six weeks ago in San Francisco.
At the current rate of virus spread in the city, Colfax said, we could be seeing 750 hospitalizations by mid-October, and more than 600 deaths.
As of Thursday, San Francisco had recorded 6,423 COVID-19 cases, a leap of 226 more than on Wednesday. The city also added one new death, for a total of 58.
The city is now opening the new hospital site on Gorgas Avenue in the Presidio, as the Chronicle reports, which will have capacity for 93 patients who do not have the coronavirus.
As ABC 7 reports, Colfax cited a "plausible" worst-case scenario in which 2,400 people might require hospitalization in San Francisco by fall, and 1,800 people could die.
The case count has been climbing in San Francisco on average about 2 percent each day in July. In June, the daily uptick averaged about 1.15 percent. And the Department of Public Health reports that the seven-day rolling average of percent-positives among San Franciscans being tested for the virus climbed to 4.8 percent last week, after hovering around 2 or 3 percent for two months.
Colfax was trying to sound the alarm once more in Thursday's press briefing, saying, "Everyone needs to behave as if each of us has COVID-19. It doesn't matter how you feel or look, or even if you got a negative test, be careful."
And, he added, "Please wear a mask. It's really not that hard. I want to see San Francisco opening schools instead of medical sites, and I know you do too."