By Betty Yu

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With millions out and about over the Labor Day weekend, COVID cases were expected to increase as San Francisco Bay Area residents and visitors celebrated at beaches, parks and at sporting events.

Experts had warned people to act responsibly during the holiday, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged the unvaccinated not the travel.

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“Just going to the parks here in San Francisco, Mission Dolores was full of people today, and I think people had great sun today and yesterday and I feel like city’s feeling good with the vaccination rates and people are staying healthy,” said Arden Coleman of Burlingame.

Sylvia Heranchian was visiting San Francisco from Los Angeles to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

“Traveling – it was fine,” she said. “It’s a little different here in San Francisco compared to LA, because we’ve been having to show out vaccine cards everywhere we go.”

Still, doctors were hoping people gather with safety in mind.

“So I expect we’ll see an increase in cases, whether or not it will qualify as a surge remains to be seen,” said UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong. “But I’m confident for several reasons that we won’t see quite as high an increase as in other parts of the country. The first is the good weather.”

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Dr. Chin-Hong says high vaccinations rates in the Bay Area also help.

“We have actually more cases in the U.S. this year at this time than one year ago, and then after Labor Day last year I think we went up 400% in the U.S.,” he added. “But I think we didn’t have a pre-surge either to protect people in the post Labor Day.”

He was referring to the surge in Delta variant cases that has already occurred.

Currently, UCSF is treating 31 COVID patients, compared to 44 one month ago. Still, on June 15 when the state reopened, it had 10 patients.

Dr. Chin-Hong said the new vaccination mandates for businesses including bars and restaurants will help make the riskiest environments less so, but they don’t account for private gatherings. Those were largely responsible for spreading the virus before vaccines were available.

San Francisco resident Jonathan Brasseaux said he made modest holiday plans.

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“I think we felt fine like she said we went to one of our favorite places down the street for brunch and felt normal and went to the gym, went to Planet Granite this morning, everyone had their masks on, it was fine,” he said. “They checked vaccinations like you said, so I feel safe in our community.”