Mayor London Breed declared a local emergency in San Francisco Tuesday amid the coronavirus outbreak, despite there being no confirmed cases among the city's residents.
"Although there are still zero confirmed cases in San Francisco residents, the global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step-up preparedness," Breed said in a statement. "We see the virus spreading in new parts of the world every day, and we are taking the necessary steps to protect San Franciscans from harm."
The declaration of the local emergency will help mobilize city resources, accelerate emergency planning, streamline staffing, coordinate agencies across the city, and allow for future state and federal reimbursement.
Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said the declaration allows the county to put more clinicians on call around the clock, along with nurses and case managers.
"It allows us to look at things like shelters and other opportunities for us to expand in the event that that's necessary and do a broader assessment of the city’s capacity to respond in the event that there is an outbreak of coronavirus in San Francisco," Colfax said.
A total of 53 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the U.S., with 10 of those being in California. Although San Francisco has no confirmed cases, three coronavirus patients from other counties have been treated in San Francisco hospitals.
The San Francisco declaration takes effect immediately for seven days and will be voted on by the Board of Supervisors on March 3.