"In the last two weeks we've just been slammed," said Shawna Sherman. "We're starting to double the length of our shifts."
RELATED: New data shows how effective contact tracing is across Bay Area
Pre-pandemic, Sherman was a San Francisco librarian. Now, she leads a team of contact tracers in the city whose workload has increased from about one call a day in September, to up to 10 calls a day right now, some of which involve hours of counseling.
"One guy talked to a mother of a newborn, who was a positive case. She was just having a hard time figuring out how to isolate and take care of her newborn baby." And when Sherman spoke to her tracer about the case, "we both got emotional on the call."
"We just want to get through it, that's just what we have to do."
VIDEO: 1st person in US to try COVID-19 vaccine talks side effects
"It was Halloween day and I was chatting with people," said Christina Moretta, another San Francisco librarian turned contact tracer, who said people were telling her about their travel plans and social gatherings. "I was like oh my gosh, I feel it, the surge is going to happen."
It's clear that Moretta was right. Looking at San Francisco's COVID-19 dashboard, graphs show a steep spike in cases starting at the end of October.
Moretta is also a case investigator, which means she calls people who have tested positive for COVID and tries to find out who they may have infected.
RELATED: AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: Officials say it's less expensive, easier to store, and effective
"It's during that infectious period that people are like, I went to a party and there were like 10 people, and then I went to a bar," she said.
When asked if people who test positive are forthcoming about other people they've been in contact with, Moretta said, "I want to say yes, but not always."
"Some people don't want to modify their behavior and others are like I don't know how I got it, here's everyone I was in contact with."
San Francisco's COVID cases are now more evenly distributed across the City and are impacting a higher percentage of White people than in previous surges. Moretta says she ends up talking to a lot people who have taken advantage of all the reopenings. "Doing all the things like having lunch with friends, going to the nail salon, or doing the gym."
Her advice, "what I tell my 24-year-old daughter is keep your contact list short."
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here. Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Map: CA counties that can, can't reopen under new rules
- COVID-19 risk calculator: The safest and most dangerous things to do this holiday season
- Updated number of COVID-19 deaths, cases in Bay Area
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- California EDD: The most commonly asked questions we get about unemployment and PUA
- Health experts urge flu shots in effort to avoid 'twindemic'
- How to tell the difference between seasonal allergies and coronavirus symptoms
- Here's which mask is better to protect from COVID-19
- First COVID-19 vaccine volunteers in US describe experience as Bay Area launches vaccine trials
- From salons to dinner parties: Experts rate the risk of 12 activities
- Coronavirus origin: Where did COVID-19 come from?
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic