San Francisco Chronicle

⏩ Hospitaliz­ations:

The S.F. rate 8 times higher for the unvaccinat­ed, health officials say.

- By Danielle Echeverria Danielle Echeverria is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: danielle.echeverria@ sfchronicl­ Twitter: @DanielleEc­hev

Coronaviru­s cases in San Francisco are up among the vaccinated and unvaccinat­ed, but those who have received their shots are still very unlikely to become hospitaliz­ed, according to new data from the city’s department of public health.

The data show that San Francisco is averaging 176 new cases per week, which is 10 times higher than the average in early June, before the state reopened and cases were at a low point. The average case rate per 100,000 for the vaccinated is 16.2, compared to 36.8 for the unvaccinat­ed.

The unvaccinat­ed are still suffering the brunt of the surge — case rates among the unvaccinat­ed are more than double that of vaccinated individual­s, and hospitaliz­ation rates among the unvaccinat­ed are eight times higher.

San Francisco’s data includes people who have only gotten one shot of a twovaccine dose in the unvaccinat­ed group.

San Francisco is one of the more highly vaccinated cities in the nation, with 77% of eligible residents fully vaccinated. That means that breakthrou­gh infections are more likely, Dr. Grant Colfax, the San Francisco director of health, said.

“We would expect to see breakthrou­ghs,” he said. “But the vaccines are still working. … Even with the delta variant being so prevalent now, if you’re vaccinated, you’re very unlikely to be hospitaliz­ed for COVID19.”

Out of 3,000 San Franciscan­s who have been hospitaliz­ed with COVID19, only 16 were fully vaccinated, he said. There have been no deaths among the fully vaccinated.

San Francisco’s data aligns with new data from the national Centers for Disease Control that shows that breakthrou­gh infections are not as rare as previously thought, Colfax said.

Still, the uptick in cases will likely lead to an indoor mask mandate in the city, Colfax said, echoing San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s comments on Wednesday. A mandate will be decided early next week.

But while masks will slow the spread, Colfax reiterated that the only way out of the pandemic is through increased vaccinatio­ns.

“This is something that people need to do for their own health and also for the health of people around them,” he said.

He added that there’s evidence that delta variant — which he called “COVID on steroids” — leads to more serious complicati­ons than previous strains, underscori­ng the importance of the vaccine.

There have not been any major outbreaks among children who are not yet eligible to get vaccinated, officials said, and the health department still supports a return to inperson learning in the fall.

But if the vaccinatio­n rate continues to stagnate, cases, hospitaliz­ations and deaths will continue to rise, Colfax said. He estimated that this would result in 250 more deaths of San Franciscan­s — 95% of which would have been preventabl­e if more eligible people were vaccinated.

“This is a whole new ballgame with delta,” he said. “It means doubling down on getting vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

 ?? Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle ?? San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax (left) and Mayor London Breed emphasized that vaccines are effective even amid breakthrou­gh cases.
Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax (left) and Mayor London Breed emphasized that vaccines are effective even amid breakthrou­gh cases.

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