Mayor Breed shared on Twitter Friday that around 400 City employees were either sick with COVID-19 or are currently isolating from a potential exposure—a tweet that was followed a day later by the SF Department of Emergency Management urging residents to only call 911 "for life-threatening medical emergencies.”
As of publishing, San Francisco's rolling seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases sits at 1,218 — a new record high. The number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations in the city is now at 135; such a figure hasn't been observed in San Francisco since February of 2021. Alas, coronavirus infections and hospitalizations aren't the only things to surge as of late.
911 calls, as well, have swelled in San Francisco.
We are still seeing staff out due to COVID including:— London Breed (@LondonBreed) January 7, 2022
184 SFPD members
140 SFFD members
122 Muni workers
Despite this, we are continuing to provide the critical services our residents deserve. Thanks to all the frontline workers stepping up to cover shifts to support our City.
And the city is utterly overwhelmed, unable to meet the influx of emergency calls; the fact that hundreds of City workers are out due to Covid-19-related reasons isn't helping the problem, either.
"140 city fire department employees, 184 employees from the San Francisco Police Department, and 122 Muni workers are not working because of infections or isolation from potential COVID-19 exposure," Breed tweeted Friday, January 7. "Despite this, we are continuing to provide the critical services our residents deserve. Thanks to all the frontline workers stepping up to cover shifts to support our City."
Most COVID cases are mild & can be treated at home. Look for emergency COVID warning signs but only call 911 or go to the emergency dept. for life-threatening medical emergencies. Keep medics available for life-threatening situations. For more info: https://t.co/l1Qs77Hcrr— San Francisco Department of Emergency Management😷 (@SF_emergency) January 8, 2022
The next day, Saturday, January 8, the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management posted on Twitter that residents should "only call 911 or go to the emergency department for life-threatening medical emergencies." Waxing in a similar tone, the San Francisco Fire Department is asking the public not to dial 911 for minor questions or concerns or queries that can't otherwise be found elsewhere online through City resources.
“Please don't call 911 to ask for a COVID-19 test, or because you have a cold, or minor flu symptoms. We really want to keep our ambulances available for people having a heart attack or strokes,” said SF Fire Department Chief Jeannie Nichols to NBC Bay Area, previously stating that the department has "been having about over 400 EMS calls a day in the city for the past several days"—about 30% more calls than average.
Similarly, SF Zuckerberg General Hospital is seeing a swing in people either looking for a COVID-19 test or coming in with mild symptoms. Mind you: That same hospital has about 400 staff members currently out because of COVID-19.
“We're seeing more people looking for tests. We're seeing more people walking up with mild symptoms. And this is particularly a challenge now because of all the circumstances I just described earlier,” said Dr. Susan Ehrlich, CEO of the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, to the news outlet.
If you're experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19-like symptoms or are looking to procure an applicable test, don't dial SF's emergency department. Turn your attention instead to the San Francisco Public Health Department's digital resource portal dedicated to the coronavirus, here.
Related: Of Course There Are Unauthorized Testing Sites Popping Up In SF as COVID Tests Get Scarce
Omicron Surge Should Peak Shortly In Bay Area, Says UCSF Prof — and We Need to Rethink All This Panicked Testing
Photo: Getty Images/lechatnoir