7 Bay Area counties in CA's COVID red zone facing high levels of community transmission

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Wednesday, April 27, 2022
7 Bay Area counties in CA's COVID red zone
COVID cases throughout the Bay Area have been increasing for the past two weeks with the majority of the region in the red.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- COVID cases throughout the Bay Area have been increasing for the past two weeks.

The majority of the region is in the red. The only counties that are not experiencing high transmission numbers are Solano and Contra Costa County.

This map with CDC data collected by our ABC7 news data team puts seven Bay Area counties in the red. Meaning there are high levels of community transmission. One of those counties is Marin.

CDC COVID-19 Transmission Categories by California County

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"We are definitely seen a swell in cases in Marin or a surge in fact. We are looking at our case counts that are about 70 in average per day. If you look back at the delta surge our peak of the Delta surge was about 50 cases per day. On average. We are already exceeding what that peak was with the delta surge," said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County's Public Health Officer.

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Marin County faced a similar surge in December, but Dr. Willis is not worried. He says hospitalizations are not going up this time around.

"When we had 50 cases per day of delta we had about 25 people in the hospital. Right now we are looking at about six people on the hospital in Marin County," said Dr. Willis.

Marin County is the most vaccinated county in the state. So, why are they in the red? Dr. Willis attributes this to the mask mandate being lifted, people gathering again and natural immunity.

"The fact that we may have less natural immunity might put us at higher risk now for more infections, but less risk significantly less risk of what we are most concerned about which is severe illness and death," said Dr. Willis.

WATCH: Bay Area doctors say mask recommendations, not mandates, could return given recent COVID case rate

Considering the Bay Area's COVID case rate, local doctors explain why mask recommendations, but not mandates, could be made.

San Francisco is seeing about 200 COVID cases per day. Dr. Chris Colwell, chief of Emergency Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital believes that number is higher.

"We are getting some of the highest rates that we have seen in a long time," said Dr. Colwell and added, "A lot of people are not even reporting it so the numbers we are seeing aren't the entire picture."

San Francisco's Department of Public Health said in part:

"San Francisco is seeing a steady increase in case rates likely due to the BA.2 subvariant, which is even more transmissible than BA.1 (omicron). At this time, we do not expect more severe disease or hospitalizations for people who are up to date on their vaccinations."

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San Francisco reports 33 people are hospitalized with COVID right now. Dr. Colwell said the majority of those who are vaccinated and boosted are recovering at home.

"By day two, they start to feel pretty lousy. By day three and four, are really generally the worse. They get better by day five and by seven they feel like they are back to normal again and a little bit fatigued than usual," said Dr. Colwell.

Dr. Willis said he is not planning to bring back the mask mandate despite Marin County reporting 70 COVID cases per day.

"It's a different approach than we used to have. In the past we would say we are going to seek to prevent that gathering from occurring in the first place from a public health stand point. Now its more up to individuals to recognize their own risk," said Dr. Willis.

VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine

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