Mayor details proposed COVID budget, case numbers trending in right direction

San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Tuesday outlined her budget proposal for the city's ongoing COVID-19 crisis. 

The proposed budget allocates $446.1 million to make sure the city has the financial means to meet citywide priorities set forth by the COVID-19 Command Center, Breed said.

The mayor's budget assumes San Francisco's General Fund will support $93 million of that total amount, and that the remaining amount will be covered through a combination of FEMA reimbursement, state grants, and funding from the CARES Act, officials said. 

Additionally, the $446.1 million in expenditures for COVID-19 are budgeted in only FY 2020-21 in the proposed budget. If there is a significant surge in cases or the pandemic requires the current level of response after July 2021, additional funding will be required. 

Breed said, "San Francisco has been a national leader in our COVID-19 response but we cannot get complacent. We know this virus is going to be with us for months to come, and we need to continue to build on the progress we have made with these investments.”

The mayor's office said the proposed spending includes funding to ensure the city is able to continue its comprehensive, data-driven, and public health-focused response to the ongoing health threats and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We must keep up our momentum and stand our ground and sustain our gains and continue to make progress," said Dr. Grant Colfax from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. "We are seeing some hopeful signs, and as we have seen before, this virus is persistent."

 Dr. Colfax said the city has caught up on testing turnaround times, with tests taking about 48 to 72 hours for results.

For now the city remains on the state's watch list which means any new business opening are still on pause.

Breed said the budget she released last month reflects the hard work the city will have, with COVID-19 funding in place through June of next year. 

This funding will be directed to four main categories: health operations; housing and shelter programs; food security and human services; and emergency communications and operations.  

On a more personal note, the mayor said too many people are still gathering at parks and for family get togethers. She said she's trying to model the type of behavior it will take to bring the virus under control once and for all.  

"You know what, today is my birthday and wish I could have a birthday party," Breed said. "Everyone's asked what am I going to do. What am I going to do? I'm going to socially distance myself and talk to people on Zoom."