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San Francisco warns residents not to drop guard even as coronavirus cases decline

San Francisco is reporting about 90 new coronavirus cases per day.
San Francisco is reporting about 90 new coronavirus cases per day, still in the “red zone,” the city’s public health director said Tuesday.
(David Paul Morris / Bloomberg)

The public health director of San Francisco on Tuesday urged residents to remain vigilant about face coverings and physical distancing, even as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and daily count of new cases have dropped.

Dr. Grant Colfax, speaking at a virtual news conference, said about 90 new cases are found among residents every day, a number that has dropped “a bit” from a high point two weeks ago. “But it is still very concerning,” the director said. “Anything above 50 cases a day continues to put us in the red zone, on high alert, and we have been there for about the last six weeks.”

He praised residents who are covering their faces properly and practicing social distancing, but he added that some are not. If 80% of residents wore masks and socially distanced, outbreaks of COVID-19 could be prevented, he said.

San Francisco requires face coverings for those ages 10 and older inside stores and other businesses and outside when individuals are unable to maintain six feet of distance from others. Colfax reminded residents that masks must cover both the nose and mouth.

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“For some people, it is just not a habit yet,” he said.

He noted that he remembers to grab his mask along with his wallet and keys every time he leaves his home. “It is a habit we will need to have with us for a long time,” he said.

He said 6,989 residents had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning, and 61 had died. There were 92 residents in San Francisco hospitals Tuesday, “a slight drop from last week” but 75% more than in June, he said.

San Francisco continues to lead the state and nation in the rate of coronavirus testing, he said, and is working to target tests to those who are particularly vulnerable because of their age or underlying conditions and to workers who face the greatest risk of exposure.

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The city will continue to “pause” reopening despite the “slight slowdown” in new cases, he added.

Demand for food has risen in San Francisco over the course of the pandemic, and city officials on Tuesday urged anyone in need to call 311. Lines to pick up groceries from city and community providers sometimes stretch several blocks in the city.

“Ensuring people have access to nutritious food during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is one of our top priorities,” Mayor London Breed said in a news release. “The city has really stepped up to the challenge with our meal and grocery delivery programs.”

On Tuesday, Breed extended until September a program that delivers three meals a day to seniors who are unable to buy or prepare food. The Great Plates Delivered SF program has delivered 350,000 meals to elderly residents since May 18. The city has also delivered nearly 45,000 meals to residents forced to isolate because they tested positive for the virus or were living with someone who was infected. Nearly 115,000 meals have been delivered to homeless individuals since April, the city said.


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