Home services

San Francisco modifications COVID protocols as New Yr’s Eve approaches

While the San Franciscans are re-evaluating New Years Eve plans amid yet another COVID-19 surge, state and local health officials have been busy making changes of their own.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the recommended isolation time for people who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to five days if they are asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a well-fitting mask near others.

On Wednesday, San Francisco reintroduced its universal indoor mask mandate, urging facilities such as bars, restaurants and gyms to include booster vaccinations as part of their vaccination records.

“As COVID-19 becomes endemic, we need to make sure all those eligible are vaccinated and boosted, we maintain our hospital capacity and protect the most vulnerable. These health regulation updates help us achieve this, ”said Grant Colfax, SF Director of Public Health.

Local falls rise three times faster than during the summer delta rise. The average 7-day case number in San Francisco hit an all-time high of 630 on December 28, according to the New York Times’ COVID-19 tracker, and cases are expected to continue to rise in the short term.

While hospital admissions have remained relatively low across San Francisco, city health officials told The Examiner, “We are getting to the point where we would expect hospital admissions to surge after an increase in cases.

Given the sudden spike, city officials are reviewing vacation plans. On Tuesday, the Mayor of London Breed announced that the New Years Eve fireworks show would be canceled.

“These are the things we have to do. The case rate in San Francisco is currently above the state average, and I don’t know if I ever saw that in the pandemic. And hospital stays are increasing at an alarming rate, ”said John Swartzberg, an infectious disease specialist and professor of infectious diseases at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

Despite the setbacks, some of the country’s leading infectious disease experts say the shorter isolation and quarantine recommendations make sense alongside a growing body of research showing that the fast-spreading omicron variant incubates faster and cases are milder in vaccinated individuals .

“This is justified,” said George Rutherford, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, regarding shorter isolation requirements for people who test positive for COVID-19. “What you want to do is provide adequate isolation time, not twice as long as necessary.”

For most people who have been vaccinated, five days of isolation are enough to stop them being contagious. But those who aren’t vaccinated or have more severe cases can keep shedding the virus after five days, leading experts like Swartzberg to point out that testing and masking are still essential.

“In general, I agree. I think it will lead to wider diffusion, but it will also make critical workers functional for our society, ”Swartzberg said. “I think we may have found a balance.”

CDC officials said their decision was based on Omicron data from places like Norway, South Africa and most recently Nebraska, where a study of an Omicron outbreak showed the variant had a shorter incubation period – three days compared to four to six days in the case Delta variant – and was less severe than other variants for the vast majority of people vaccinated.

However, pressure to change the 10-day wait period also came from communities scrambling to keep businesses and essential services up and running as the Omicron variant quickly spreads across the United States.

“The Omicron variant is spreading quickly and has the potential to influence all facets of our society. These updates ensure that people can safely get on with their daily lives, ”said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

Still, some health professionals and workers’ representatives have disapproved of the CDC’s decision, saying that it increases health risks for workers who may not have adequate health care or paid sick leave. National workers’ representatives from groups like the Association of Flight Attendants, meanwhile, have warned that the new CDC guidelines could put pressure on workers to return to work too early.

“Even the lack of paid sick leave puts employees under pressure to come to work sick. Companies that fail to recognize this with paid sick leave or pressure on workers to come to work sick or face disciplinary action are failing their workers and their customers, “said Sara Nelson, president of the flight attendants union.

Another infectious disease expert at UCSF, Peter Chin-Hong, said he was cautiously optimistic about allowing people to return to their lives if they don’t show symptoms of COVID and continue to wear a mask around others.

“At Delta, about 15% of the cases were hospitalized, and in general we see about 5% or less at omicron,” he said.

A major ongoing concern he and other public health officials across the country fear as the holiday gatherings continue is that there is now more emphasis on individual responsibility to make safe choices following exposure or testing positive for COVID .

Currently, 84% of eligible San Franciscans are fully vaccinated and 55% have received a booster dose. With cases and hospital stays on the rise, doctors and city guides advise everyone to take precautionary measures on New Year’s Eve.

Swartzberg said canceling events like the fireworks show was the right move. “The problem we have now is largely because omicron decided to put their heads up at the time of year when everyone gathers for the holidays,” he said.

As people travel and gather for the holidays, public health officials recommend that everyone be vaccinated, boostered, tested, and wear N95 or other well-fitting masks before visiting others.

“The quick test helps determine how contagious you are; It is not intended to be used to diagnose you. And everyone (at the party) has to do it, ”said Chin-Hong, who plans to spend the holidays with his immediate family. “There are still sick people and we’ve had an increase in hospital admissions in the bay, but nothing compared to last year.”

Swartzberg said he would spend the night at home with his wife and a bottle of champagne. And Rutherford will be dining with a small group in Oakland at a restaurant that recently announced that diners would be required to show proof of vaccination to eat indoors. San Francisco has had a similar policy for indoor bars and facilities since the summer.

Restaurants and small businesses that are struggling to stay with sufficient staff in the face of the recent surge may find some relief from the relaxed quarantine rules.

“There will be so many cases here that a number of industries will be left without enough people,” said Rutherford. “Restaurants will need people who can serve tables.”

For those just trying to get through another confusing Christmas season, Rutherford’s advice is simple: “You need to be vaccinated and boosted, and around people who are being vaccinated and boosted. Do not lower your mask unless you have to. And I wouldn’t go to a huge party. “


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button