COVID-19 rates climbing in Bay Area

COVID cases are on the rise in the Bay Area and experts consider it more than just a bump from the Thanksgiving holiday.

Experts point out overall trends show rates of infection climbing.

And while there’s no widespread consideration of bringing indoor masking back to the Bay Area just yet, it’s being considered in Southern California.

If you need evidence that Bay Area COVID cases are climbing, here’s some: Zuni Cafe on San Francisco’s Market Street has temporarily closed, citing an upsurge in employee COVID cases. It will welcome back customers Dec. 7.

UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong says the trend is evident.

"COVID increasingly steeply.  Hospitalizations are increasing, but deaths remain stable to low," he said. 

Los Angeles County may give insight into what's to come or perhaps already here.  

It’s currently averaging more than 3,000 Covid infections a day, a 44% increase from the prior week. 

Transmission is considered medium and moving up. The numbers have authorities tracking to see if hospitalization rates breach 15% capacity, a measure considered high transmission that could trigger another mask mandate.

"The health care system is not necessarily considered stressed when we just see a lot of admissions.  So, that percent of beds occupied by people with COVID is actually significant and we’d need to see that we actually reach both of those metrics in order to go ahead and ask people to do universal indoor masking," said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, LA County Public Health Director.

Chin-Hong says recently UCSF Medical Center has seen cases go from 10 to 12 a day, to 30 or 40, still well below January highs.

Another measure is found in wastewater. Recent samples taken in Alameda County show a vertical spike in COVID in late November.

"When you look at the wastewater epidemiology, the amount of COVID that we have around is actually quite high," said Chin-Hong.

But COVID isn’t the only threat.  Flu and RSV are also circulating.

If you get knocked down, Chin-Hong said there are signs to indicate what you might have.

"Flu, very sudden full body fever, aches. COVID, sore throat mainly, but also congestion and other things, and then RSV gradual onset," said Chin-Hong.

A positive is that fewer patients are getting gravely ill or dying.

Still, Chin-Hong says more people need to get the booster shot for added protection.