A flurry of coronavirus tier-list updates were announced by health officials Saturday, bringing greater restrictions to several Northern California counties, including San Francisco, which slid back to the state’s most-restrictive purple tier as coronavirus cases continue to surge at an exponential rate statewide.
Calaveras, Plumas, San Mateo and San Francisco counties will move from the red tier to the purple tier, the state’s most restrictive designation due to rising infection rates, while Modoc County will move from the orange tier to purple. Alpine, Inyo and Mariposa counties, meanwhile, will go from the orange tier to the red tier.
Just as it has elsewhere in Northern California, cases of COVID-19 has been rapidly rising in recent weeks in San Francisco and its southerly neighbor San Mateo County. The most recent weekly average for daily infection reports from the San Francisco Department of Public Health reached a new high of 137, compared with July’s high of 131 at the height of the summer surge.
Although data from the California Department of Public Health indicates a relatively low COVID-19 test positivity rate of 1.8%, San Francisco is averaging more than 14 daily infections per 100,000 city residents.
The majority of the Bay Area is already in the purple tier, with the lone exception being Marin County, which is just one step below in the red tier.
That means both San Francisco, which has nearly 900,000 residents, and San Mateo County, home to about 765,000 people, will be placed under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s limited curfew order, which affects purple-tiered counties and is set to last until Dec. 21. The order takes effect Monday.
Under the curfew, all nonessential activity is limited between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., including in-person dining.
Now, only a few counties in California are exempt from the curfew. Seven counties in total are not in the purple tier, many of which lie along the Sierra Nevada on California’s eastern border.
San Francisco is now required to shut down all indoor dining services — although officials already took the step earlier this month of eliminating indoor dining due to an alarming increase in coronavirus cases.
“This is the most aggressive surge SF has seen to date,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “I don’t know how to be more clear — this is the most dangerous time we’ve faced during this pandemic. Do not travel or gather with others.”
Thus far, 15,342 San Francisco residents have contracted coronavirus, and 160 have died of COVID-19.
Los Angeles County, meanwhile, imposed a stricter lockdown due to the COVID-19 surge on Friday. There, all public and private gatherings with members of multiple households — barring church services and protests — have been banned.
Sacramento County has been in the purple tier and under state curfew orders for some time.
Local health officials said they do not, at the moment, plan to institute any similar full shutdown in Sacramento, but said they will be following the governor and state health officials