News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

City and County of San Francisco Announces Cases of Novel Coronavirus in San Francisco

Two San Francisco residents are presumed positive for COVID-19 and both are hospitalized in San Francisco

San Francisco, CA — The City and County of San Francisco today announced presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in two San Francisco residents. San Francisco officials also provided updates about the status of the Grand Princess cruise ship.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) lab conducted COVID-19 tests for the two patients, and found positive results. The two patients are unrelated and both are being cared for at separate hospitals. The patients do not have a history of travel to a location with confirmed COVID-19 cases, and have no known contact with a person with a confirmed COVID-19 case. These cases are likely indicative of community transmission of COVID-19.

“We want everyone to remain calm and continue taking precautions to keep themselves and their families healthy,” said Mayor Breed. “We have been increasing resources and staffing to prepare for the community spread of this virus, and we will do everything we can to protect public health. The City is in regular contact with all hospitals and health facilities in San Francisco, and our health system is prepared to deliver care to everyone in need and provide a coordinated response as additional cases of the novel coronavirus are confirmed.”

One patient is in fair condition and one is in serious condition, and both are being treated in isolation at two different San Francisco hospitals. All appropriate precautions for the patient, visitors, and hospital staff are being taken. DPH informed the patients’ families this morning, and is investigating the patients’ history and contacts to protect the health of individuals and help slow the spread of the virus in the community.

Patient #1 is a man in his 90s, and he is hospitalized in serious condition. The patient has underlying health conditions. He was tested by the DPH lab on March 4th.

Patient #2 is a woman in her 40s, and she is hospitalized in fair condition. She was tested by the DPH lab on March 4th.

To protect patient privacy, San Francisco will not be releasing further patient information or identifying the hospitals where the patients are being treated.

“Confirming cases of COVID-19 in San Francisco residents unfortunately does not come as a surprise,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. “Given the patterns of the virus in the Bay Area, California and the country, San Francisco has been preparing for the appearance of COVID-19 in the community for many weeks. Last week, the City declared a local emergency to boost our preparedness in anticipation of confirmed cases and community spread of the virus.

The people who are sick are getting care by health care professionals. We do not know at this point how they were exposed to the virus, which suggests it is spreading in the community. We expected that to happen and are further investigating the circumstances of these patients’ exposure.”

On Tuesday, February 25th, Mayor Breed declared a local emergency in order to better-prepare for confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in San Francisco. The emergency declaration allows the City to mobilize resources, accelerate emergency planning, streamline staffing, coordinate agencies across the city, allow for future reimbursement by the state and federal governments and raise awareness throughout San Francisco about how to prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health began testing for cases of novel coronavirus on Monday, March 2nd, and continues conducting tests locally in cases that meet the CDC criteria.

“We have been preparing for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in San Francisco for many weeks and we are ready to support our health care providers and those who may have been exposed,” said Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director, Department of Emergency Management. “It is understandable to worry what community spread of the virus means to San Francisco, but we can rest assured that together that we can minimize the impact COVID-19 may have on us. Continuing healthy habits like washing hands, staying home if sick and helping loved ones to avoid getting sick will make a huge difference in the fight against COVID-19 infection in San Francisco.”

Princess Cruise Ship

The CDC, the California State Health Department, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the US Coast Guard are working to determine if COVID-19 is present on the ship. Testing protocols are being put in place on the ship for those passengers and crew that have shown flu-like symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus, and that process is expected to begin today.

Once that has happened, the CDC and the state will determine the most appropriate location for the ship to berth to provide for the safety of the surrounding community as well as the passengers and crew. The CDC and the state are fully engaged in determining a location that can most appropriately address the health of those passengers that may have COVID-19 and the safety of those passengers not impacted, as well as the surrounding community.

Recommendations for COVID-19 Preparedness

The best way for all San Franciscans to reduce their risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • Cover your cough or sneeze;
  • Stay home if you are sick;
  • Get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to COVID-19;
  • Try alternatives to shaking hands, like an elbow bump or wave; and
  • If you have recently returned from a country with ongoing COVID-19 infections, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials.

There is no recommendation to wear masks at this time to prevent yourself from getting sick.

You can also prepare for the possible disruption caused by an outbreak:

  • Make sure you have a supply of all essential medications for your family;
  • Make a child care plan if you or a care giver are sick;
  • Make arrangements about how your family will manage a school closure; and
  • Make a plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself.

The status of COVID-19 in San Francisco and the region is rapidly evolving. Please check the following online resources or call 3-1-1 for guidance regarding COVID-19 public heath safety information:

At this time, public health officials are not generally recommending the cancellation of public events. However, DPH has recommended that events that involve vulnerable populations should be carefully reconsidered at this time, and advises everyone review the CDC’s recommendations on mass gatherings.