San Francisco has been in COVID-19 'red zone' for 7 weeks, health director says

ByAlix Martichoux and Melanie Woodrow KGO logo
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
SF in COVID-19 'red zone' for 7 weeks straight
New COVID-19 cases have San Francisco in the "red zone" for seven weeks. As of Tuesday, SF had 7,692 confirmed coronavirus cases and 67 related deaths. Hospitalizations have dipped slightly.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The coronavirus crisis in San Francisco is far from over, Mayor London Breed emphasized in a press conference Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, San Francisco had 7,692 confirmed coronavirus cases and 67 related deaths. Hospitalizations have dipped slightly since last week, with 88 people currently being treated for the virus.

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"We see the numbers declining, but that doesn't mean we don't have several people every day testing positive for the virus," said Mayor Breed.

Every day, the city has seen at least 50 new confirmed COVID-19 cases.

"Anything above 50 new cases a day puts us in the 'red zone,' on our highest alert, and we have been there for the past seven weeks," said Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax.

MORE: San Francisco Mayor London Breed announces cuts to police in new city budget

Breed and Colfax hammered the importance of wearing masks and socially distancing in order to get the virus under control.

"From our contact tracers, we know that many people are contracting the virus because they're having family gatherings, birthday parties and other events," said Mayor Breed.

"Today is my birthday and I wish I could have a birthday party," she continued. "And you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to socially distance and talk to people on Zoom."

The Mayor admitted most of us didn't expect to still be wearing masks and socially distancing in August.

"Part of why we are investing $446 million in this upcoming budget to respond to COVID has everything to do with the understanding that we are going to be living with this for some time," said Mayor Breed.

To that end, the mayor revealed the budget break-down; $16.5 million for emergency communications and operations, $184.9 million for health operations, $61.8 million for food security and human services and $182.9 million for housing and shelter programs.

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The budget is based on the assumption that there will not be a surge in COVID-19 cases. If that were to happen, Mayor Breed said, more resources would need to be diverted.

The budget also assumes continued reimbursements by FEMA.

While Mayor Breed says we've come a very long way.

"The fact is there's still a lot of work to be done," said Mayor Breed.

As health officials manage the financial resources needed for testing, housing and health services, they continue to implore residents to do their part.

"Together we have the power to save lives and crush that curve," said Dr. Grant Colfax.

When asked about recent delays in testing results, Dr. Colfax said while the city had fallen behind due to increased demand a few weeks ago, it was now caught up and looking to further expand testing.

The city leaders said getting out of the "red zone" and getting off the state's watch list were both necessary before resuming reopening of salons, schools and other businesses.

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