Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the SF Department of Public Health, and Mayor London Breed announced the original shelter-in-place order on Monday, March 16, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Health officials to extend shelter-in-place order through May for SF and other counties

Some limited easing of restrictions possible; details to be released later this week

San Francisco and six other Bay Area jurisdictions will continue sheltering-in-place through next month, according to a statement from health officials Monday.

San Francisco and other Bay Area counties were ordered by their respective health officers to shelter at home beginning March 17 to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The order was set to expire on May 3, but in a joint statement the seven public health officers said Monday that they will “issue revised shelter-in-place orders that largely keep the current restrictions in place and extend them through May.”

“The new order will include limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities,” the statement said. It did not provide additional details, which are expected later this week.

Dr. Grant Colfax, head of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, said at a news conference Monday that the stay at home order has kept the number of hospitalizations of patients overall “pretty stable,” but before a stay at home order is lifted health officials would need to see numbers to start dropping significantly and to stay down for several weeks.”

“At this time, none of us can get complacent,” Colfax said. “We need to stand our ground and maintain our gains. Make no mistake this virus is still out there and it is still a threat.”

The stay home orders cover San Francisco, along with the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara and the City of Berkeley, impacting seven million residents.

Health officials said that “we have made substantial progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus” but that “at this stage of the pandemic…, it is critical that our collective efforts continue so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved together.”

“Hospitalizations have leveled, but more work is needed to safely re-open our communities,” the statement said. “Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in cases.”

The health officers also said they have discussed easing restrictions in the future, but that requires building up an infrastructure to respond to outbreaks of the virus.

“We expect to be responding to COVID-19 in our communities for a long time,” they said.

“Details regarding this next phase will be shared later in the week, along with the updated order,” the statement concluded.

There were 1,424 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Francisco as of Monday and 23 deaths.

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