Bay Area Coronavirus Hospitalizations and Cases Appear Flat, Key Metrics for Reopening

Medical workers at Kaiser Permanente French Campus test a patient for the novel coronavirus on March 12, 2020.  (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the easing of California’s unprecedented order confining most people to their homes and shutting down all but essential businesses. Now, across much of California, lower-risk manufacturers and retailers such as bookstores, flower shops, and clothing stores are beginning to reopen, while other businesses like restaurants, malls and salons remain closed, awaiting state approval for the next round.

In the Bay Area, six counties — Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara as well as the city of Berkeley, remain under a stricter regional stay-at-home order, while public health officials further build testing and hospital capacity. (San Francisco and Marin are expected to loosen their orders starting May 18 by allowing curbside pickup at retail stores.)

County health officials have outlined five "indicators" of progress they are aiming for as they determine when to allow society to reopen further. These include benchmarks for testing, contact tracing and reserves of protective equipment like masks, face shields, gloves and gowns.

The Bay Area appears to currently be meeting at least two of the key metrics, one of which calls for the number of new coronavirus cases to flatten or decrease, the other which sets a target of stable or decreasing COVID-19 hospitilizations for 14 consecutive days. COVID-19 is the illness caused by the coronavirus.

Here are the number of patients being treated for COVID-19 in Bay Area hospitals from April 24 through May 7. Use the drop-down menu to see the numbers for each Bay Area county.


Here are the newly identified coronavirus cases from April 30 through May 10. Again, use the drop-down menu to see the numbers for each Bay Area county.


On Monday, Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health,  called out hospitalizations as critical in deciding whether to allow some businesses to reopen on Monday, May 18.

“We will be keeping a close eye on the data,” he said. “Specifically, we will be looking at hospitalizations of COVID-positive patients as our metric of whether to move forward with expanded curbside pickup and takeout next week. This is a key metric.”

He said hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the city have been flat, in the 70-94 range.

“If we can keep within the range for the next week, we anticipate allowing the next group of businesses to reopen,” he said. “If we have a sustained increase in hospitalizations, we will evaluate where the new cases are coming from and shift our focus there.”

A spike in the number of people entering the hospital system would indicate that the virus gained strength two weeks prior, and that people who are sick with COVID-19 are requiring intensive care.

To see updated case counts for all California counties, check out KQED's California COVID-19 tracker.


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