Coronavirus in California: Mayor Breed says SF is preparing for 'what we know is coming'

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's only a matter of time before novel coronavirus makes an appearance in San Francisco, Mayor London Breed and city officials said Monday.

In a press conference, Mayor Breed talked about the steps the city is taking to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak since declaring a state of emergency last week.

One of those steps includes the health department implementing programs to test for the virus locally, instead of sending tests across the country to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

RELATED: SF Mayor London Breed explains declaring state of emergency over coronavirus

"This will allow us to move faster and confirm any diagnosis more quickly," she said.

The city has also started processes to prioritize the safety of the most vulnerable residents and beef up staffing for emergency and disaster efforts.

"While we still have no confirmed cases here in San Francisco at this time, we must be ready because we know it's coming. It's not a matter of 'if' it's a matter of 'when,'" Breed said.

She says she doesn't want anyone to panic or jump to conclusions and adds that the city is taking extra precautions in order to "protect our public health."

"It's important that we don't panic, it's important that we get the right information and that we work with the public to address this situation," said Breed.

WATCH: Full press conference from London Breed, SF city officials

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed explains what the city is doing to prepare for novel coronavirus.


Dr. ColFax, director of the San Francisco Health Department says antibacterial wipes and simply washing your hands can lower the risk of contracting the virus.

"Standard cleaning solutions will help prevent the transmission of the corona virus," Dr. Colfax added, "Wash your hands, cover your cough and sneeze. Stay home if you're sick. Get a flu shot. Which while it doesn't prevent Coronavirus, it prevents symptoms similar to Coronavirus."

As the numbers continue to change rapidly, California has about 40 cases of the coronavirus.

With no cure or vaccine, many are doing their best to avoid the virus.

Marty Becker is a professional shopper for InstaCart who is seeing an influx of customers getting antibacterial supplies. Becker says stores like Costco on Harrison Street are running out of Clorox wipes, toilet paper, some cold medicine and water.

"It's what I like to call 'apocalyptic shopping'," said Becker.

According to the San Francisco Public Health Department the local lab will have results of anyone who might be infected with coronavirus in 1-2 days.

Get the latest news and updates about the novel coronavirus outbreak here.

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