SAN FRANCISCO, CA — New health orders have been issued in San Francisco as coronavirus cases surge, and the city lands on the state's "Watch List." Malls and nonessential offices must close starting on Monday.
Other openings are on hold, including outdoor bars with food, indoor restaurants, hair salons, and nail shops. Cases have risen by almost 1,000 in the past 2 weeks.
Also on Monday, a new health order will require that private health care providers increase testing services and provide same-day testing for patients with symptoms and for those close to a person who recently tested positive.
The new health order aims to ease the demand at the city-run testing sites, particularly in areas with high cases like the Tenderloin, Mission, Bayview and Sunnydale neighborhoods.
Additionally, the new order requires private hospitals and clinics to provide testing to asymptomatic workers who are most at risk like health care workers, first responders, and others who have jobs that require them to be less than 6 feet apart from the public.
As cases surge, patients are waiting up to a week or more for testing appointments and results, city officials said.
Mayor London Breed and Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax emphasize the importance of everyone social distancing to stop the spread of the cirus.
"We have a small window of time right now to get our cases under control before we could see the large outbreak that is continuing around this country," Breed said.
"If conditions in our city don't improve, we can also choose to close additional businesses and activities as well. We have flattened this curve once and we must do it again, but what I'm afraid of is the complacency. People are tired of the virus, but the virus is not tired of us," she said.
Breed and Colfax urged residents to avoid social gatherings with people outside of their immediate household. "What we know from our contract tracing team is that large part of the new virus spread we're seeing is coming from people who are having gatherings with others outside of their household," Breed said. "Gatherings remain inherently dangerous and you need to give a lot of thought if they're worth it and how you can do it safely."
As of Friday, the city has recorded 4,975 cases, including 50 deaths. He added, currently there are 80 people hospitalized for COVID-19.
"The people in the hospital in San Francisco today as we speak are not only the elderly and most frail. In fact, at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, the average age of the person hospitalized with COVID-19 as of July 1 has been 41 years old," Colfax said. "Young people, middle aged people, old people, they are all at risk for this disease."
Breed, who said earlier this week she had been exposed to the virus at an event but tested negative, said she recently took a second COVID-19 test, which has also come back negative.
— Patch editor Bea Karnes and Bay City News contributed to this story
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