After a recent surge of COVID-19 cases in San Francisco caused by the omicron variant, the number of cases in the city is starting to decline, Mayor London Breed announced Thursday.
The number of cases peaked earlier this month on Jan. 9 with 2,164 cases per day on average, but just days later on Jan. 12, the average number of daily cases dropped to 1,705, according to data from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
San Francisco continues to have some of the highest vaccination rates in the nation, with 82% of residents fully vaccinated and 61% of those eligible for a booster having already received their shot.
While hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain relatively high, the city continues to have enough bed capacity, and the number of hospitalizations is expected to go down within the next few days to reflect the new, lower daily average caseload.
Additionally, SFDPH data shows that the vast majority, or about 80%, of people hospitalized in the city are not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began nearly two years ago in March 2020, 700 San Franciscans have died from the virus, health officials said.
"The good news is things are starting to plateau, but it doesn't mean we can get super comfortable or take our guard down," Breed said during a briefing outside City Hall.
"With San Franciscans being 82% fully vaccinated, it's really hopeful for the future that we will continue to move forward and see some additional improvements as the days go on," she said. "The light at the end of the tunnel is here. We may go through another tunnel again, but just know there is hope and there is light."
"We are indeed seeing COVID-19 cases drop relatively rapidly in the city we can now confidently say that we are on the beginning of a downward trajectory with regard to this surge," Public Health Director Grant Colfax said. "It's been a rocky start to 2022, but I ask that we hang in there a little bit longer. The surge is not over yet."
Both Breed and Colfax reflected on the fact that despite the recent surge, schools, businesses and essential services have remained open for the most part, unlike at the start of the pandemic.
"We don't know what COVID has in store for us, but we do have great defenses against this virus -- our vaccinations and our boosters," he said.