PLEASANTON (KPIX 5) – As COVID-19 cases are spiking in some parts of the country, the Bay Area cities is doing better so far. In fact, San Francisco has the lowest death rate and some of the lowest case rates of anywhere in the nation.
“It’s definitely something I’m extremely grateful for,” says Eric Bolin. He lives in Livermore and used to commute into San Francisco every day to go to work at a PR firm. Now, he’s working from home and his office on Thursday afternoon was a table in the sun near Starbucks.
“I think that’s helped the Bay Area in a lot of ways because we’re already so infused into the technology world,” says Bolin.
It’s one of many reasons why health experts think the Bay Area has been spared from a resurgence of coronavirus cases. Bay Area companies were quick to transition employees to working from home, plus county health departments across the region quickly implemented COVID restrictions and have been slower than most to lift them.
“Within the state of California guidelines, they’ve been on the conservative side,” said Dr. Arthur Reingold who is the Head of Epidemiology at UC Berkeley.
Across the state, about 3% of all COVID tests came back positive in the last two weeks. Numbers in the Bay Area are significantly lower with a positivity rate of 0.8% in San Francisco County, 1.9% in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties, and 2.3% in Contra Costa County.
“Those metrics I think are generally trending in a very good direction,” Reingold told KPIX 5.
The same cannot be said for the rest of the U.S. and other parts of the world. A surge in cases in Europe lead to new lockdowns in France, Italy, Spain, Germany and other countries.
Across the US, cases are spiking in the South and the Midwest leading to overflowing emergency rooms and a lack of ICU beds.
That’s why Reingold said it’s critical for people to keep wearing their masks and continue to practice physical distancing.
“If we go back to life as we knew it a year ago, with no restrictions, there’s no reason to think we won’t suffer the same kind of resurgence,” he said.
“This is going on, and you have to take it seriously, otherwise it could get much, much worse,” says Abbel Theodros. He is a college student, but is living at home in Pleasanton since all of his classes are virtual.
In addition to looking at the percentage of tests that are positive, health officials are also looking at hospitalization rates as well as death rates, and so far the Bay Area seems to be ahead of the curve in those areas as well.