While the coronavirus surges throughout San Francisco again, city authorities are bracing for the worst possible outcome: mass infections by the fall, potentially overloading the citys healthcare system, and a sharp uptick in the citys death toll.
In a virtual press conference Thursday, San Francisco Department of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax verified the number of hospitalized COVID patients is higher than its ever been, highlighting the urgent need for city residents to self-correct in mitigating the spread of the infection. During the last peak in April, 94 people were hospitalized. Six weeks ago, that figure dropped down to 26. But by late July, the variety of those hospitalized leapt up to 107. Of those, Colfax kept in mind, one-quarter remain in intensive care.
City officials are currently working to discover the very best ways to weather a rise in hospitalizations. On Thursday, Colfax and District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani announced a 93 person-capacity low skill care center for non-COVID patients to maximize medical facility beds for coronavirus cases. And an additional floor was formerly opened for COVID clients at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.
” They can stay at home when theyre sick, they can avoid going inside, they can get an influenza shot,” he says. “Thats what they can control.”
Dr. George Rutherford, teacher of epidemiology at University of California, San Francisco, mainly agrees with the citys assessment and current projections. While the current R0 rating is simply north of 1– considerably lower than it was a week or so earlier– the figures the city anticipates for the future likely still hold weight.
When it comes to what might occur in the future this year, Rutherford is less particular about the citys quotes. While the idea that an average of more than 750 people daily might be hospitalized is plausible, hes not so sure about the predicted death toll of 600, noting it “appears a bit far off.”
” In simply 10 days, this month we went from 5,000 to 6,000 cases of COVID-19,” he said. The infection is moving quickly and more individuals are getting very ill. If this continues at present rates we approximate on average we will have more than 750 San Franciscans in the healthcare facility by mid-October and more than 600 deaths from COVID-19 in 2020.
Such figures seem frightening, however at this point, they are still preventable. The city has actually taped 6,423 cases and 58 deaths as of Thursday. Colfax kept in mind San Franciscos health centers arent overwhelmed like they remained in New York, however that “it is extremely sobering that we have reached this point.”
” They have been precise in the past,” Rutherford states of projections for up to 4-6 weeks ahead. “As you go out even more its anybodys guess. We utilize a variety of inputs to get estimates for where things might be, [but] its not like we have a pool about this or are banking on it. Theyre indicated for planning functions. If [ Colfax] is putting those numbers out there, thats what theyre preparing on.”
” But if this starts getting back into retirement home or if we get a lot of young people contaminated we see them spread out into the ICU and mortuaries thats going to be really bothersome,” he adds.
And they must follow the guidance Colfax delivered again on Thursday: “Please wear a mask. Its not that hard.”
Its a frightening idea, but he adds the very best way for San Franciscans to avoid frustrating health centers is to follow suggestions from the health department– to do the important things that are within their power.
All this aside, the future situation that Rutherford is truly worried about isnt strictly about the coronavirus– its about the influenza, too. “Is everyone going to be slow to get influenza shots, and are we going to begin flooding emergency departments with people with influenza and individuals with COVID at the same time?”
When it comes to those worst-case-scenario numbers? Its still hard to state. There is a possibility that could take place, Rutherford says, however that result is far from particular at this point. “Thats the issue with modeling out too far,” he states, “you get comprehensive numbers, however youve got to intend on something.”
City officials are currently working to find the finest ways to weather a surge in hospitalizations.
Alyssa Pereira is a culture editor at SFGate. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org|Twitter: @alyspereira
In a virtual press conference Thursday, San Francisco Department of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax confirmed the number of hospitalized COVID clients is greater than its ever been, underscoring the immediate need for city residents to self-correct in mitigating the spread of the virus. If this continues at current rates we estimate on average we will have more than 750 San Franciscans in the healthcare facility by mid-October and more than 600 deaths from COVID-19 in 2020. The city has actually taped 6,423 cases and 58 deaths as of Thursday. Colfax kept in mind San Franciscos healthcare facilities arent overwhelmed like they were in New York, but that “it is very sobering that we have actually reached this point.”