San Francisco reports 1K jump in COVID-19 cases in 10 days

San Francisco is seeing a continuing surge in COVID-19 infections that has led to more hospitalizations than any other time in the pandemic, officials said. 

In April, the city experienced a surge in hospitalizations from the coronavirus, which at its peak hit 94. However, that number dropped to just 26 in June, San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. 

Currently, there are 107 people hospitalized and over 6,000 residents infected with the virus across the city. 

"It took us 38 days to go from 2,000 to 3,000 cases. It took just half as long to go from 3,000 to 4,000. And in just 10 days, this month, we went from 5,000 to 6,000 cases of COVID-19," Colfax said before sending this message, "Let me be clear, we are in a major surge of COVID-19."

The virus is quickly spreading and more people are becoming seriously ill. 

Colfax predicts that if current rates continue, on average more than 750 San Franciscans will be hospitalized by October and more than 600 deaths from the virus in 2020. 

"Plausible worst-case scenarios put us at 2,400 hospitalizations and 1,800 deaths. These scenarios, unfortunately, become more likely as each day goes by with the current trends," he said.

Colfax did not mince words in his dire warning.

"It is so important people do not gather outside their household if at all possible. And certainly, people should not be using testing as a tool to decide whether they can gather or not with others," said Colfax. "We have to understand that with more virus in the community now than ever... the odds of someone being infected at one of these gatherings has increased dramatically over the last few weeks. Please don't gather."

To bolster the city's response to the virus, Colfax and District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani announced that a low-acuity care site will soon be available to free up space within San Francisco's hospital system for COVID-19 patients. 

The site is coming to the Presidio neighborhood and will become the city's first continuing care site for non-COVID-19 patients. The facility is designed for short-term medical observation or support.

The site will open with just 20 patients but will eventually expand to serve as many as 93 patients, Supervisor Catherine Stefani said during a news conference. 

"Our demand for acute care for COVID-positive patients has grown at a rate of 15 percent each week during the month of July -- this is of grave concern," Stefani said. "As we see more and more cases and increasing levels of hospitalizations, we must act upon that concern."  

Stefani's supervisorial district includes the Presidio.

Bay City News' Daniel Montes contributed to this report.