San Francisco first Bay Area county to reach yellow tier

San Francisco has shown continued progress in its handling of COVID-19 and Tuesday became the first Bay Area county to move into the yellow tier under California's reopening plan.

The state upgraded San Francisco from the moderate-risk level to minimal with the county's positivity rate at 0.8% and health equity metric at 1.5%, below the 2.2% threshold. 

"Our cases are dropping," said Dr. Grant Colfax San Francisco's Director of Health. "Just to give you a sense of that. A few months ago our rate was as high as 130 new cases a day, and now we're down to about 30 on average. So, that's very good news."

 Those low positivity numbers come even as the county is testing as many as 5,000 people per day. Hospitalization rates are also low, with just 25 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

Local health officials said non-essential offices can reopen on Oct. 27 at 25% capacity. Offices with fewer than 20 employees can reopen beyond 25%. Fitness centers, churches, and restaurants can also up capacity limits. Personal services will also be able to allow limited mask removal for services such as those provided by estheticians. 

Additionally, the county expects to reopen indoor pools and bowling alleys, on Nov. 3. 

San Francisco is the only Bay Area county, and the only urban area placed in the yellow tier. State health officials said San Francisco's hard work should be a template for other counties. 

"We are seeing it now, that certain larger counties are indeed able to move to yellow," said Dr. Mark Ghaly from the California Department of Public Health. "But we believe it's possible, and San Francisco is a great case in point."