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San Francisco’s COVID instances are trending down, metropolis adjustments targets

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The COVID-19 surge in San Francisco’s Omicron variant is finally coming down, according to the city’s top health official. It has also taught city leaders to change their goals when dealing with COVID.

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The surge caused San Francisco’s COVID-19 cases to hit a record high — more cases than the city has simultaneously reported in the entire two-year pandemic.

“Data shows that cases peaked on Jan. 9 with a 7-day average of 2,164 cases per day and have steadily declined each day since to 1,076 cases per day on Jan. 12,” according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

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Hospital admissions are expected to peak this week, with no concerns the local hospital may be reaching capacity, the department adds.

However, cases are still “extremely high”. The department is recommending that San Francisco residents remain cautious about their activities and wear the right face masks over the next few weeks.

“We’ve seen how COVID has evolved over the last two years and as a city we’ve evolved with it,” said Mayor of London Breed. “We know this virus will be with us for the foreseeable future, but we have the tools and experience in dealing with COVID not to be able to completely turn our lives upside down.”

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Despite the record number of cases, most people in San Francisco reported mild or asymptomatic infections in the recent surge.

“Omicron changed the game – it’s extremely contagious and also less severe and often mild for those who have been vaccinated and boosted. Our goal is no longer to prevent every case of COVID,” said Dr. Director of Health, Dr. Grant Colfax. “Instead, our aim is to prevent the worst consequences of the disease, such as hospitalizations and deaths, and to do so while essential services such as schools and hospitals remain open. We do this by doubling down on what we know works – get vaccinated and boosted. And during times of high transmission, we need to be extra vigilant and strengthen our defenses to prevent spread to those most at risk and to our frontline workers who must support the city’s core services.”

The city reports that 82% of its population is vaccinated and 61% of the eligible population has received an additional booster shot.

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Across the Bay Area, most counties are beginning to reduce the number of reported cases, but hospitalizations are still increasing.

“Like most counties in the Bay Area, we are now seeing our case numbers going down. We’re really more confident that this is a reliable trend,” said Dr. Matt Willis, the Marin County public health officer.

In Santa Clara County, they use wastewater monitoring to supplement their public health data. It measures the amount of virus in wastewater and accounts for those who are asymptomatic, don’t test, or do a home test.

Department of Health Deputy Director Michael Balliet says they are seeing a similar trend.

“Some leveling off or maybe even a slight drop in virus concentrations in wastewater,” Balliet said. “We are cautiously optimistic that our clinical cases will show the same kind of reduction.”

But dr Willis says it’s not time to let go of your vigilance yet.

“I think the other concern is that our hospitalizations are not going down at the moment. In fact, they keep increasing,” said Dr. willis

At John Muir Health in Contra Costa County, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Russell Rodriguez his concern.

“The number of impatient patients is approaching our highest ever recorded figure for our healthcare system,” said Dr. Rodriguez.

He says hospitalization lags behind case positivity, often peaking a week or two after cases have peaked. Both doctors are confident that hospitalizations will soon decrease.

dr Rodriguez says hospitals are still busy and asks people not to go to the emergency room for a COVID test or for very mild and manageable symptoms.

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