San Francisco declared a local emergency over the coronavirus on Tuesday, despite no cases being reported in the city yet.
“[T]he global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step-up preparedness,” Democratic Mayor London Breed said in a statement.
“We see the virus spreading in new parts of the world every day, and we are taking the necessary steps to protect San Franciscans from harm,” she added.
This declaration allows us to mobilize City resources, accelerate emergency planning, streamline staffing, coordinate agencies across the city, and raise awareness throughout SF about how everyone can prepare in the event that COVID-19 appears in our community.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) February 25, 2020
The City has been working diligently to prevent COVID-19, and to implement containment efforts if there are San Franciscans who test positive.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) February 25, 2020
You can read more here: https://t.co/3ANTzC26lJ
Members of the public can visit https://t.co/InVB8aKPAX or call 311 for more info.
"It allows us to look at things like shelters and other opportunities for us to expand in the event that that's necessary and do a broader assessment of the city’s capacity to respond in the event that there is an outbreak of coronavirus in San Francisco," said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Ten of the 53 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States are in California and three of those patients have been treated in the city's hospitals, according to NBC Bay Area.
Breed's declaration comes as U.S. health officials have stepped up warnings about the virus, noting that it's more likely a matter of when an outbreak happens in the U.S. rather than if one occurs.
“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Tuesday.
“Disruption to everyday life might be severe," she added.