San Francisco declares local emergency amid coronavirus outbreak

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a local emergency Tuesday amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

This declaration will help the city get resources they need to respond to an outbreak.

“We need to allocate more resources to make sure that we are prepared,” Breed said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “This declaration is all about preparedness.”

There are still zero confirmed cases of the virus in San Francisco, but the mayor and Department of Public Health say this is the right step to take at this time. 

They say they’ve been in contact with the CDC, and watching how the virus behaves and they believe there is a growing likelihood we will see a case of coronavirus in San Francisco, and this declaration ensures the city will be ready when it happens.

“To be clear, this declaration of emergency is all about preparedness,” Breed said.

As the global situation surrounding novel coronavirus continues to rapidly change, Mayor London Breed, alongside the Department of Public Health and Department of Emergency Management declared a local state emergency for San Francisco Tuesday. 

“We are focusing our efforts by protecting the people who live and work here, and we want to be ready for what we anticipate may come our way,” Breed said.

As cases of the deadly virus pop up in new parts of the world every day, city leaders say they cannot afford to be unprepared. 

“As we elevate the response in our EOC, we have established today a community branch that consists of community faith and education partners,” Mary Ellen Carroll said.

Officials say they are continuing to focus on the risk the virus presents to our schools and children, as well as those in congregate living situations and our healthcare workers. 

Declaring a state of emergency sets up the city for future reimbursements by state and federal government and allows the Department of Public Health to expand its resources. 

“Ensuring we have public health nurses, case managers and so forth assessing situations. We want to be as prepared as possible. It also allows us to mobilize more clinicians and our medical expertise in order to focus more closely on this,” Dr. Grant Colfax said.

The mayor and other leaders also stressed this virus is based on travel history and contact with people who are sick. 

That it is not about race, ethnicity or culture. 

“I just want to emphasize the impact on the Asian American community is large, it’s significant and it’s real and we want to make sure people separate the disease from our community,” Carmen Chu said.

The Department of Public Health says unlike the flu, we do not have a vaccine or treatment still for coronavirus. 

They are urging everyone to use those core traditional public health measures of washing your hands for 20 seconds and keeping your hands away from mouth and face.

Officials say working on these collectively will make a difference. 

Three people have been treated for the coronavirus in the city. None of the patients are San Francisco residents.

Two patients from San Benito County were hospitalized in San Francisco. They have since been discharged in good health and are no longer in the city.

Another patient who tested positive for the virus was brought to the city from Travis Air Force Base, where the patient was quarantined after leaving a cruise ship.

Santa Clara County, where there are two confirmed coronavirus cases, has also declared a local emergency due to the outbreak.

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