San Francisco is halting plans to reopen due to an increasing number of coronavirus infections and hospitalization reports, early signs that the wave of surge that has swept through much of the United States is starting to enter the Region Bay.
City and public health officials say most of the activity scheduled to reopen or expand on Tuesday has now been delayed. That includes an indoor swimming pool, a bowling alley, and a gym locker room. Restaurants and places of worship must remain at 25% of capacity instead of up to 50% as planned previously.
Schools are not affected by the suspension and will be allowed to reopen with the approval of the city.
San Francisco’s cases and hospital admissions are still very low, but they have increased in the past two weeks. The average number of new cases per day increased from about 3 cases per 100,000 residents to 4 cases per 100,000. The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 increased from as low as 21 on October 15 to 37 on Wednesday.
With cases spiking in parts of California and due to the massive wave of infections and rising hospital admissions in most other states, city officials say they need to be careful about the demolition. local restrictions and make San Francisco vulnerable to a local surge that could overwhelm hospitals.
Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said: “San Francisco is fortunate that our numbers are low, but we can’t wait until our numbers are so high that we don’t can slow the spread ”. “By the time you get the high numbers, the systems will be overwhelmed, as we saw in New York this spring, in Arizona this summer and right now the Midwest.
“There is no reason for the excessive alarm at this point, but we are concerned about the increase. With what we’re seeing in the rest of the country and our local data, we think the right thing to do is pause, “he said.
Colfax said he and other city officials will reevaluate the local figures for several weeks and see if it is safe to reopen or expand operations.
San Francisco restaurant owners are “disappointed” about the delay in capacity expansion, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association said in a statement on Friday. But they understand the need to take a break to protect hospitals and feel reassured that they can continue to open up at 25% capacity, the association said.
Balancing controlling virus transmission while enabling economic recovery is a constant source of stress on public health and city and economic leaders. Thousands of businesses have closed permanently and residents are suffering from job loss and financial failure.
But city officials insist that getting the economy on the right track requires stopping the pandemic as much as possible. According to them, the worst case scenario would be for the incidents to spike to the point where the city was forced to reverse course and largely shut down.
“We know that the more we open, the more people moving around, the more contagious,” Mayor of London Breed said at a news conference Friday. “The last thing we want to do is go back. The last thing we want to do is tell a business or school that they can open and then tell them they have to close.
Indeed, some parts of the US and other parts of the world have re-established door locks and other protections as local incidents spiked. El Paso County in Texas issued a new, two-week order of on-site accommodation last week, and on Friday, Chicago abruptly stopped eating indoors. France and Germany this week ordered a new closure.
The United States reported a record 91,000 new coronavirus infections on Thursday and most states, but especially those in the Midwest, are reporting explosive developments in local outbreaks. Cases in California started to rise over the past week, though not as significant as the rest of the country.
The Gulf region is also seeing an increase in new cases and hospital admissions are also starting to increase. Two counties – Solano and Napa – are at risk of moving to more restrictive tiers in the state’s reopening plan after reporting a worrying new case rate this week.
San Francisco outperformed most counties in the state on most of the pandemic indicators. It was the first major county in the state to switch to the least restrictive yellow grade, on October 20th. But San Francisco reopened at a slow pace. Cities may choose to reopen more slowly than state guidelines allow.
The decision to suspend reopening in a pattern – San Francisco did so in July, as it halted plans to allow restaurants to open indoors as cases and hospital admissions soared. . The goal is to slow transmission and prevent outbreaks from going out of control, city officials said.
“During our response to COVID-19, San Francisco has proven we are ready to make tough choices and reopen deliberately and deliberately,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “Given what we’re seeing in our numbers here as well as across the country and around the world, we want to make sure we continue a conservative and deliberate approach.”
Businesses and operations scheduled to open or expand on 3 November and are now suspended include:
• Indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, gym locker room and shower.
• Capacity expansion – up to 50%, or up to 200 people – for indoor restaurants, movie theaters, museums and places of worship. Capacity remains at 25% or up to 100 people.
• Expanding capacity – up to 300 people – for outdoor worship or political demonstrations. Capacity remains at 200.
Apart from schools, a number of other activities scheduled to reopen will not be affected by the pause. Such activities include dining in museums, film production, outdoor mini-live performances, and property open houses.
The city had hoped to allow bars that would not serve outdoor food in mid-November, but Colfax said the planned plans had also been halted.
“The next few weeks will be really important to see,” he said.
Erin Allday is a writer of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org